Apple patents technology to combat 'sexting'

Apple has been clear on their message to keep the iOS platforms clean from impurities. A new patent by the company is designed to prevent people from 'sexting,' or sending sexually explicit text messages. In addition to the ability to filter such messages, other filters can be used with the goal of improving the grammar or even language level of users.

Do not be alarmed thinking that this will be instated and users will have no control over what is filtered. The technology is designed for use by parents on their child's or children's phones. CNN reports that the technology could find a place to prevent children from sexting and actually work to improve other language skills. An implementation could require a Spanish student to send a certain number of messages in Spanish before being allowed to send messages in other languages. The tool could also require users to find and fix spelling and grammar issues before sending the message. 

Apple has decided to filter in a new way, versus simply blocking a set list of expletives, but instead evaluating the overall message using filters that are appropriate for the age and grade level of the child. Instead of limiting a user to only pre-selected numbers or emails, this idea focuses on the actual content that is being sent. Adapting to the child's age and grade offers more customized and carefully planned out filtering than other methods.

Exactly how this will be implemented is not clear as of now, but it appears that it would be built into the main messaging app in iOS when it is implemented. While this has a variety of text-based filters, the patent does not show support for explicit images. 

Image Credit: cnn.com

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What if it blocks things that arent sext's but rather things that are important and non-vulgar? that would suck

WTF?!. Its like you pay for a dictator to tell you can what and what you can not say.
go and ****youself with your stupid devices apple. Censorship by a private company to individuals. Give me a BREAK.

An implementation could require a Spanish student to send a certain number of messages in Spanish before being allowed to send messages in other languages.
Yes but would that ever happen in reality?

Some governments may not be as forward thinking as ours in the west. They may wish to have the phones come preinstalled with the software limiting sexting for adults as well. Could variables possibly be added for other topics...religious and political for all ages? At the home user's government's discretion of course.

Do not be alarmed thinking that this will be instated and users will have no control over what is filtered. The technology is designed for use by parents on their child's or children's phones.

People seem to be consistently missing this part.

I think it's really important to realize that "nature will find a way". It happened with Pig Latin last century, it happened with IM shorthands last decade, it happened in Jurassic Park when they used frog DNA to fill in genetic gaps in the dinosaurs and it mutated, and it'll happen with sexting.

Calum said,
"You're texting it wrong."

...


Nah. It's dead. Try again in a few years...it's been way overused.

A parent turns this on. and their kid tries to reply to someone with LOL or TTYL. Text message not sent because those are not correct spellings.

As i said in the other topic about this, there are always ways around these filters and as said pics are not included in this filter so there is no point in it! Besides some kids will just learn that if they format there iphone then they lock on these will most probably be disabled! Kinda a fail project lol

...the patent does not show support for explicit images.

Hello, Mom. How are you, it has been raining here lately. I am busy with schoolwork and don't have much time to go out with my friends. I really miss you. When are you coming back home? Love you, your son.

P.S. Oh, here's a picture of my b0n3r.

hmm, if has people seem to assume this is great for blocking what kids get upto.. first are we really saying 12/15y/o are Sexting? second what parent are going to give them a 400quid 30pound amonth contract phone? hell no!! they can have a nokia and be damn happy they have a phone!!

kazgor said,
hmm, if has people seem to assume this is great for blocking what kids get upto.. first are we really saying 12/15y/o are Sexting? second what parent are going to give them a 400quid 30pound amonth contract phone? hell no!! they can have a nokia and be damn happy they have a phone!!

You must be horribly out of touch with reality if you think that

1. tweens and teens aren't sexting
and
2. parents don't give their kids iPhones

Both are very common here in the US, and from what I understand, elsewhere in the world as well.

Critical Error said,
I could still use FaceTime calls...

Maybe one day they will use OCR and pornography detecting algorithm to detect if you're exposing your sexual organs.

You know, a control freak will eventually become a control maniac.

Actually I think this is a good idea. I know parents should teach their kids at a young age that sexting is not ok. But really how many of us really listened to our parents. Most of us did not grow up with cell phones or being able to communicate like we do today. Kids these days are doing what we did much earlier. This causes them to do a lot of things they are not ready for.
As much as I don't like Apple I really do think this type of control is a good idea for parents. I don't have kids but I think if I were a kid in this day and age I could get away with so much and they would never know or what to look for.
I don't have kids and I had a very open relationship with my parents but most kids don't and make very bad choices in life.

TonyLock said,
Just because Steve Jobs was abused by his ex...

This actually proves that Steve Jobs is still a virgin.

While I don't like censorship, I see the appeal from a parent's point of view. I just don't think it'll be very effective.

One day after sexting is implemented, someone makes a work around and the children of the parents who put the block on rejoice.

Though I guess "I want to stick my floppy disk in your disk drive" would be a great temporary work around involving kids to use their imagination, but that won't fix their grammar and spelling skills.

Wow. What happened to parenting? If you honestly can't trust your children to use their phones responsibly, then why bother giving them a phone?

Nothing wrong with Apple or other companies putting in some child safety features, but parents should be #1 responsible when it protecting their kids.

Quikboy said,
Wow. What happened to parenting? If you honestly can't trust your children to use their phones responsibly, then why bother giving them a phone?

This. +1

Quikboy said,
Wow. What happened to parenting? If you honestly can't trust your children to use their phones responsibly, then why bother giving them a phone?

+1, hell if you have to rely on apple to protect your child then you must be one douche of a parent. Now we will have another generation of soft little kiddies who will break down in tears if some one even dares to mention (shock! horror! sex.....)

Won't catch on, not many little kiddies are running around with iPhones so unless grandma wants to protect me there's not much chance of any use

from

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2370709,00.asp

Today, a number of Web sites are praising the new Apple patent that is designed to, apparently, create a parental control mechanism for the iPhone to prevent the kiddies from the onerous practice of sexting. Apparently, sending lewd and lascivious messages over the phone has become a plague amongst teens who are generally goofballs between the ages of 13 to 19. Yes, the entire teenage moment in time.

This is a classic example of something looking like one thing and being something else altogether. And the entire tech world is stupidly missing the point.

This patent is not about sexting it's about political speech. Apple wants its phone in Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, and other parts of the world where political dissent is a crime. Over the years, it has become apparent that the mobile phone is a tool for revolutionaries. This was proven with the Iranian "Green" riots of 2009, but began with a series of riots all over the world through the last decade.

The key to this patent

No thanks, don't want to have it fix all the slang and everything in text's And if you're having a joke and send a rude text for a laugh to your mate and apple blocks it, it ruins the fun.

"The technology is designed for use by parents on their child's or children's phones."
Honestly, if your child is not old enough to disregard sexually explicit words, you shouldn't give him an iPhone.

I think this is a good idea for parents to have control over what type of texts their children get. Also could stop a lot of spam texts that have a adult nature.

windows95isg8 said,
I think this is a good idea for parents to have control over what type of texts their children get. Also could stop a lot of spam texts that have a adult nature.

It's not the texts that are the problem, it's the pictures that are.

Frylock86 said,

It's not the texts that are the problem, it's the pictures that are.

Its not the text and its not the pictures, its their kids that are screwed up

Frylock86 said,

It's not the texts that are the problem, it's the pictures that are.

Well there is also web browser technology that filters images depending on colour mix. The same technology can apply here

So....if you want to send your girlfriend a sms like "I want to screw your brains out tonight" (neowin has a decent filter thought;), it'll tell you that theres is banned words in the message?

oh comeon!

and..oh, like warwagon, I didn't read the entire article;)

We'll see about how this turnes ut;)

edit; A big wtf about the swearfilter?

morphen said,
So....if you want to send your girlfriend a sms like "I want to screw your brains out tonight" (neowin has a decent filter thought;), it'll tell you that theres is banned words in the message?

oh comeon!

and..oh, like warwagon, I didn't read the entire article;)

We'll see about how this turnes ut;)

edit; A big wtf about the swearfilter?

It's for parents so it can be toggled. I don't think it will be on by default.

shinji257 said,

It's for parents so it can be toggled. I don't think it will be on by default.

The problem with the example morphen gave above is that it doesn't contain any words that would likely be covered by the filter.

Article said,
other filters can be used with the goal of improving the grammar or even language level of users.

Apple have to fix the awful spelling correction built into iOS first.

Wanyal said,

Apple have to fix the awful spelling correction built into iOS first.


I'll agree with that. About 40-50% of the time, it incorrectly corrects the right word I put in there, and it takes me 3-4 attempts to write the word as I mean it before it lets me move on.

Im surprised it took them this long to come up with parental controls for these devices.If apple didnt another company would have.

SaltLife said,
Im surprised it took them this long to come up with parental controls for these devices.If apple didnt another company would have.

There is parental controls already, just not what is typed.

OH HELL NO!!. ... Now apple is telling me what I can and can not send in a text . **** steve jobs!

Oh wait...

"Outgoing message contains banned text"

ha!

warwagon said,
OH HELL NO!!. ... Now apple is telling me what I can and can not send in a text . **** steve jobs!

"Outgoing message contains banned text"

Oh wait...

ha!

A) Oops didn't actually read the article
B) Why is the time to edit ones post so short.

warwagon said,
OH HELL NO!!. ... Now apple is telling me what I can and can not send in a text . **** steve jobs!

Oh wait...

"Outgoing message contains banned text"

ha!

Why the drama? this technology is for parents that want it for their children's cell phone.

Quattrone said,
Why the drama? this technology is for parents that want it for their children's cell phone.

The drama is censorship

AKLP said,

The drama is censorship

Neowin censors swear words, I presume firstly due to minors and also people who don't agree with uch things.

warwagon said,

A) Oops didn't actually read the article
B) Why is the time to edit ones post so short.

Isn't it a wee bit unprofessional to attack your forum's members? He has a valid point.

Azies said,

Isn't it a wee bit unprofessional to attack your forum's members? He has a valid point.

That was me replying to myself

warwagon said,
OH HELL NO!!. ... Now apple is telling me what I can and can not send in a text . **** steve jobs!

Oh wait...

"Outgoing message contains banned text"

ha!

Haha this is epic

evo_spook said,

Neowin censors swear words, I presume firstly due to minors and also people who don't agree with uch things.

yes... But neowins forums/comments are public and can be seen by anyone, this is censoring private 1 on 1 conversations. Its understandable as an option as long as they dont try and enforce it. I dont see it being highly adopted or effective as a parental too because kids will just use shorthands to get around it.

addc182 said,

yes... But neowins forums/comments are public and can be seen by anyone, this is censoring private 1 on 1 conversations. Its understandable as an option as long as they dont try and enforce it. I dont see it being highly adopted or effective as a parental too because kids will just use shorthands to get around it.

Great point about the shorthands. Reminds me of Jeff Goldblum's character in Jurassic Park. "Nature finds a way"

warwagon said,
OH HELL NO!!. ... Now apple is telling me what I can and can not send in a text . **** steve jobs!

Oh wait...

"Outgoing message contains banned text"

ha!

Actually given the article and the context in which the word is used it probably would not be blocked anyways.

johnnyftw said,
Not worth it.

No but because most of the parents don't get actively involved in what their children are up to, they just sit and say technology is too complicated for me, then they complain about how TV, Internet and Music is corrupting children and making them more vulnerable to sexual predators, no matter how much control technology you develop at the end they will always find a way to blame it on another, like Marilyn Manson or Teletubbies (I get more freaked out by the later ones ).

Meconio said,

No but because most of the parents don't get actively involved in what their children are up to, they just sit and say technology is too complicated for me, then they complain about how TV, Internet and Music is corrupting children and making them more vulnerable to sexual predators, no matter how much control technology you develop at the end they will always find a way to blame it on another, like Marilyn Manson or Teletubbies (I get more freaked out by the later ones ).

i basically agree with you but if all that software does is filter the proper spelling of certain words i am sure it's not rocket science that kids will just spell stuff differently and bypass it.

so basically i think it's just a waste of time. but your right though about parents nowadays as they just want to find a lot of other stuff to blame instead of taking it upon themselves to keep there kids in line etc.

EDIT: it appears after i further read the article it appears that it's not just blocking certain words and must be a little more sophisticated than that but even then i am sure there is ways to fool it there has to be.