Apple Gets Awarded Geo-Fencing Patent To Stop You From Texting In The Theater

Posted Aug 29, 2012

Apple has won a patent to enforce policies for when your wireless device enters a certain location.  This also means that your smartphone could automatically go silent and the display could be disabled when you enter a movie theater.  While I find that people that talk on the phone during a movie can be very irritating, I feel that it could be a violation of rights to straight-up disable somebody’s phone.  When thinking about the James Holmes situation, I couldn’t imagine how worse the situation would be if their mobile phones were disabled.  Movie theaters would have to think very hard before enabling this technology.  Below is the abstract of the patent:

Apparatus and methods for changing one or more functional or operational aspects of a wireless device, such as upon the occurrence of a certain event. In one embodiment, the event comprises detecting that the wireless device is within range of one or more other devices. In another variant, the event comprises the wireless device associating with a certain access point. In this manner, various aspects of device functionality may be enabled or restricted (device “policies”). This policy enforcement capability is useful for a variety of reasons, including for example to disable noise and/or light emanating from wireless devices (such as at a movie theater), for preventing wireless devices from communicating with other wireless devices (such as in academic settings), and for forcing certain electronic devices to enter “sleep mode” when entering a sensitive area.