∞ Apple awarded patent to control content of text messages

The United States Patent Office awarded Apple a patent to allow parents to control the text messages their children can send and receive.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]A lot of people seem angry about the patent, calling it the “anti-sexting” patent and that Apple is trying to control our freedoms. However, I don’t think there is a lot to be worried about here.

In fact, the patent clearly states that this would be controllable through the Parental Controls application on the device.

From the patent:

In one embodiment, the control application includes a parental control application. The parental control application evaluates whether or not the communication contains approved text based on, for example, objective ratings criteria or a user’s age or grade level, and, if unauthorized, prevents such text from being included in the text-based communication. If the control contains unauthorized text, the control application may alert the user, the administrator or other designated individuals of the presence of such text. The control application may require the user to replace the unauthorized text or may automatically delete the text or the entire communication.

So, yes, the parents can have control over the content being sent or received. But it’s the parents, not Apple that is limiting the content.

Here’s another way the technology could be used:

In another embodiment, the control application includes an instructional tool or study aid where the administrator sets one or more modes, such as language, vocabulary, grammar, spelling, punctuation and/or other content of a text-based communication based on, for example, a user’s age or grade level. This can be especially useful, for example, such as when a child’s grades go down. A parent can then institute a condition to improve a child’s grades. For example, the control application may require a user during specified time periods to send messages in a designated foreign language, to include certain designated vocabulary words, or to use proper designated spelling, designated grammar and designated punctuation and like designated language forms based on the user’s defined skill level and/or designated language skill rating. If the text-based communication fails to include the required language or format, the control application may alert the user and/or the administrator/parent of the absence of such text.

There’s more to the patent and technology than many people would lead you to believe.