View Full Version : Apple's new patent, #20160248769...

08-29-2016, 09:15 AM
The new patent is about collecting biometric information of an unauthorized device user. Presumably, the purpose of this technology is to assist in recovering stolen devices:


Aside from this technology actually being patentable...

This technology stores the captured images, videos, etc. of the unauthorized user both local and transmit to Apple servers.

How will this technology decide, if the "surveillance" of the end user, be that legit or unauthorized, should be triggered? The legit owner of the device could enter the PIN couple of times incorrectly and/or takes couple of tries to unlock the device via fingerprint.

Just curious how it works and its implications to the legitimate end users...

08-29-2016, 07:52 PM
I would guess that this sentence in the doc could shed some light:

"The trigger condition may be receipt of one or more instructions from one or more other computing devices, detection of potential unauthorized use by the computing device, normal operation of the computing device, and so on."

It would make sense that I could trigger the technology from iCloud by putting my device into Lost Mode and that would then activate the technology on the device when someone attempts to unlock it.

I would also expect the ACLU to have a field day with the potential of someone having their fingerprints captured and transmitted entirely without their knowledge.

08-30-2016, 09:59 AM
I've red that about the most obvious trigger is through the iCloud via reporting the device stolen. The "detection of potential unauthorized use by the computing device" that I was referring to in my post, apologies for not being clear about that.

In my view, "unauthorized use detection" is tricky. The user, be that the owner and/or thief, need to enter the PIN/PWD to unlock the device, in which case he/she becomes authorized user. Without the correct PIN, in case of iPhone, iOS will not allow access. For that matter, after x number of tries, it resets the iPhone to factory settings. Maybe the technology includes some behavioral based detection, iffy at best, that would flag the "new owner" as potentially unauthorized users.

ACLU may have hard time arguing in this case. It's a criminal act stealing someone device and just like in any criminal case, fingerprint collection is a standard procedure. The only questions, does Apple has the right to do so? It's a gray area and will be interesting to see the results...

This technology also has a potential becoming a legal battle ground for Apple from a different angle as well, due to the iCloud based trigger. With a court order and/or NSL letter, the three letter agencies maybe able to ask Apple to activate this feature for the device. It's a slippery slope...

08-30-2016, 06:07 PM
Detection of potential unauthorized use is the key.

Once the tech is activated, any attempt to unlock that is unsuccessful would possibly be deemed "potentially" unauthorized.