As usual Apple has been patent happy. Just as usual is the breakdown of what sometimes may be considered by outsiders as minimal or trivial. This isn’t one of those times.

If you’re the paranoid type, you just might want to check your peep-hole twice tonight. Mac Life has the entry and it reads:

A method for identifying an unauthorized user of an electronic device, the method comprising: determining that a current user of the electronic device is an unauthorized user; gathering information related to the unauthorized user’s operation of the electronic device in response to determining, wherein the unauthorized user’s operation comprises operations not related to the authentication; and transmitting an alert notification to a responsible party in response to gathering.

The fun-to-follow conspiracy side of me takes words like “unauthorized user” and replaces it with you and me. However how could I be unauthorized on a device I honestly own? Unless I modified my iPhone in a way that Apple doesn’t necessarily prefer. See where this is headed yet?

Since Uncle Sam has given us the legal go-ahead to jailbreak, perhaps Apple is stepping up the their game when it comes to scrutinizing those who violate their wishes. There has been debate on if there is any internal indicator on your iPhone after you jailbreak that Apple could identify if you brought it to a Genius Bar appointment for instance. As it stands, just restoring as new on iTunes (normally) gets your phone back to square 1 if anything goes array. Apple’s new patent could put a stick in these spokes.

Just when my Big Brother theory starts to get fired up I notice that Ars Technica reports a much more useful and reasonable use of the Apple patent. Imagine the capabilities of remote access and wipe if they were implemented to the already handy Find my iPhone application. What if voice and fingerprint inconsistencies lead to your device being pegged as stolen, and Apple could then remotely wipe and disable your thieved device?

What do you think, iDB readers? Will Apple use its (possibly) new patent power for good, or evil, or both? Do you see this being implemented in cracking down on jailbreaking, or just more security technology from our favorite fruit company? Express yourself in our yet to be patented comment section.

  • Burge

    If Apple use this to wipe a jailbrken iPhone just because it’s jailbroken then everyone will know Apple is taking info of these iPhones and all iPhones jailbroken or not and I for one don’t remember letting Apple do this with my iPhone, so is this a innovation of privacy ? I think it is and is that legal ?

    • Burge

      I know when you first plug in iPhone with iTunes you get the popup – do you wont Apple to collect data from your iPhone/iPod – something like that. And I always click dont allow

    • Burge

      Got to love the iPhone for changing words

  • suvsmiley

    its invaded my privacy on iphone. apple dont need to inspect and see what i have. i hope there’s law that against it just like webcam invaded…

  • NAthan

    Fck u apple u make me dislike ur devices more and more u controlling mofo fck get a life

  • Well apps seem to be able to determine if a iPhone is Jailbroken.
    I noticed that Skype will give a message saying it will only run on unmodified iPhones the first time you run it after having Jailbroken, but it will continue working.

    • Alicia

      Mine didn’t say that. I am jb 3GS on 4.01.

  • Tribonian @ Twitter

    In the UK, if Apple accessed personally identifiable information without the consent of the data controller, ie the owner of te phone, then that would be a criminal offence under the Data Protection Act. The data controller who have the opportunity to raise the matter with the Information Commissioner in London. If convicted for breach then a fine would follow no doubt increasing for further offences.

    Not sure about situation on America.

    Hope this is helpful

    • Burge

      Got to love living in the uk. We might not win the world cup but we are going to win this

      • Tribonian @ Twitter

        Britain wasn’t playing in the world cup. Britain is composed of Scotland Northern Ireland Wales and England. Only England were in the world cup. And I doubt you could say they “played”. You could say they were useless. Plus c’est change.

  • Burge

    Your so right, sorry I got carried away with it.

    • Tribonian @ Twitter

      No problem. Actually I was supporting the US.

      • Burge

        Where are you from in the uk. No Englishman would say that !

    • Beno

      Actually Great Britain does not include Northern Ireland.

      NI is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  • Burge

    Data protection only applys if you are not breaking the law. Jailbreaking has not been made legal in the uk but it has also not been made illegal ether. That needs to be made clear first. But invasion of privacy is somthing else. And if Apple can go though a iPhone with out owners consent they are in so much shit

  • Jon Garrett

    why don’t we just get rid of the US Constitution and replace it with corporate terms of agreement.

  • Tribonian @ Twitter

    I’m a Scot. I support Scotland and whoever is playing against England.

    Jailbreak in UK is perfectly legal. Inspecting personally identifiable, perusing it, copying it or interacting it without the data controllers consent is an offence.

    Privacy is a separate issue.

    Privacy is actually a separate issue.

    • Burge

      So far I have only found out that it’s not illegal in the US over here in the UK I’ve not come across anything that says it is or isn’t

  • Walt French

    Turn down the paranoia and see how this could make it uneconomical to rip off your iPhone.

    If I could *SECURELY* report my iPhone stolen and have it bricked and/or send location & photo info, the benefit of stealing my iPhone goes not to zero, but negative. And if the thief is really clever, I’d like its wired-in ID number always scanned for location, so any clever one-time security tricks at theft time make it useless to use in China or anywhere else that a thief might want to resell it.

    If you want to see Apple controlling your device more, you’d see them put in the same hardware feature that the DroidX has, for example: As dictated by Verizon, the “M-Shield” circuits in its TI (OMAP) CPU chip prevents rooting (jailbreaking). Utterly. If Apple did this, every Android type in the world would condemn Apple but I haven’t heard a peep about it from the easily outraged.

  • Jill

    I don’t see a single thing wrong with identifying my phone as “jailbroken” or “not”.

    It’s not illegal. I’m *PROUD* of the fact that I have a jailbroken phone.

  • Pete

    I’m thinking maybe iphone era might be running out of steam due to greed & regulations. De ja vu … ‘Microsoft’!
    Damn i just bought iphone 4 & was getting ipad in a few weeks. Will now look at options.

  • Chris

    As someone who moved from windows phone to the iPhone I must point out that the Microsoft phone service already provides a service to remotely wipe a handset so it’s not a new idea and useful when you hold client info on your phone

  • Z

    I think there is a reason as to why jailbraking has become legal. Think of a jailbreak not as a modification of your phone, but as an optional extra feature, that allows you to install unauthorized 3d party apps. The reason as to why they are unauthorized is because apple didn’t approve them for their own reasons (don’t care what they are). Therefore, apple is not responsible for what can happen to your phone after you jailbreak it and install a bunch of cydia apps. All they are preventing themselves from is the warranty liabilities there. So having a jailbreak on your phone simply imposes a risk of losing your warranty.

    Another thing apple should be concerned about is app piracy. And here we are, users of the so called Installous. Are you cracking apps? I’m not. Are you distributing authentic material? I’m not! Ultimately, there is not much apple has a right to do.