San Diego – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued Apple Inc. an array of patents on Tuesday, including one that would allow a device to detect whether an individual user is supposed to be using it and stop unauthorized access.
U.S. Patent Number 8,289,130, titled “Systems and methods for identifying unauthorized users of an electronic device,” covers a system capable of identifying particular activities that may indicate suspicious behavior.
In some embodiments, an unauthorized user can be detected by comparing the identity of the current user to the identity of the device’s owner. When an unauthorized user is detected, various safety measures can be taken.
A photograph of the current user can be taken, a recording of the current user’s voice can be recorded, the heartbeat of the current user can be recorded, or any combination of those factors that can then be compared to the corresponding likeness of the authorized owner, according to the patent description.
Activities such as entering an incorrect password a predetermined number of times in a row, hacking, “jailbreaking,” unlocking, removing a SIM card or moving a predetermined distance away from a synced device can all also be used to detect an unauthorized user under the patented system.
Information related to the identity of the unauthorized user, the unauthorized user’s operation of the electronic device, or the current location of the electronic device can be gathered with the patented method. Functions of the electronic device can also be restricted.
In other embodiments, the device owner can be notified of the unauthorized user by sending an alert notification through any suitable medium, such as a voice mail, e-mail, or text message.
“If the electronic device is lost or stolen, the loss of the electronic device can be exceedingly disruptive to the owner’s peace of mind and security,” the patent description says. “Thus, the owner may desire to find out where the lost electronic device is located or who may have gained possession of or stolen the electronic device.”
The application for the patent was filed in February 2009. The inventors listed are Taido L. Nakajima of Cupertino, Calif., Pareet Rahul of Markham, Calif. and Gloria Lin of San Ramon, Calif.