Apple awarded patent to block 'objectionable' text messages

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has approved an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) solution that would enable iPhone users or their parents to block transmission of text messages containing "objectionable" content. Patent 7,814,163, originally filed in Q1 2008, outlines a "Text-based communication control for personal communication device"--according to Patently Apple, the solution filters incoming and/or outgoing text communications based on administrator-defined criteria, alerting the user, administrator or other designated individuals when a message contains unauthorized content. The control application can require the user to replace the unauthorized text, automatically delete the text and even strike the entire communication.

Other potential uses of the technology: Requiring messages to contain certain text elements--e.g., mandating that a certain number of Spanish words per day be included in messages for a child learning the language.

Apple maintains a "moral responsibility" to keep questionable content off its iPhone platform according to CEO Steve Jobs, responding in April 2010 to customer concerns over the company's role in authorizing App Store submissions. During a question-and-answer session that same month touting the announcement of Apple's iPhone OS 4.0, Jobs said "You know, there's a porn store for Android. You can download nothing but porn. You can download porn, your kids can download porn. That's a place we don't want to go--so we're not going to go there."

For more on the Apple parental control patent:
- read this Patently Apple article

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