When is the Patent system going to be reformed with only "real" patents?
Apple have patented the idea of using data clones to hide from surveillance: data clones that will browse the internet under your name but will look at basket-weaving sites instead of porn. In one of the stranger Apple patents that we've seen in recent months, author Stephen R Carter details a way of stopping eavesdroppers …
I just wonder about the legality of it should you find yourself under investigation for any reason. Any reason at all (and remember all those public bodies with RIPA rights to investigate your communications data...)
Certainly it would raise suspicion in the same way as declining to give your details (when there is no allegation of an offence) to an enquiring PC in the street can, but in this case it's a bit more active.
If not, might they pursue you for breaching the t&c's of your ISP? After they'll extradite you for alleged copyright infringement (another civil offence)
I'd be more worried about Apple living up to their normal coding standards and screwing up. For instance whilst you're innocently looking at some basket weaving website their buggy software could be off looking at some dodgy porno on your behalf, leaving you to explain that to the authorities... It could easily happen. I presume they're going to have white lists, which need only contain a couple of trivial mistakes to lead to some infuriating results.
One thing I did notice - they mentioned something along the lines of participating in an online forum on your behalf using a crude AI. Now I'm no expert, but that would surely start verging on breaking the computer misuse laws. Directing a torrent of machine generated drivel at some poor innocent forum and devaluing it's worth for the real users / owners / advertisers has got to be close to illegal.
The difference is that drivel generated by machines does nothing the advertisers, whereas human generated drivel does. At the end of the day a human may be persuaded to part with cash and buy the advertised goods, whereas the machine is always going to ignore the ad. Unless there's a bug.
Perhaps this is where this is leading. We've had video recorders to watch TV programs that we've no intention of watching ourselves. We've now got PVRs to do the same thing, only digitally, and more than one at time. Now Apple are saying that we can have a machine to talk to other people for us on forums that we've no interest in. Perhaps that will evolve into their machine spending our money for us on goods that we have no interest in either, save us the hassle... Ker-ching!!!
>One thing I did notice - they mentioned something along the lines of participating in an online forum on >your behalf using a crude AI.
They've obviously been testing that bit in here. Would certainly explain AManFromMars
of endless surveillance, by the police, government, and giant corporations. And an endless, epic high-tech cyber battle between the limitless little-brother drones and the automated human clones your service provider generates for your privacy and protection. Never knowing whether a person, site, or company is real or AI unless you visit them in the flesh - and then not knowing if they're who they say they are or the police, or a company representative with a hard-sell script and a compulsory purchase squad to back him up.
I'm now seriously worrying about what Steve Jobs was planning before he died!
If this technology is widely deployed, it would make targeted advertising worth a lot less to companies who wanted to market stuff on the internet. This would lead to a lot less cash going in the direction of companies who specialize in providing targeted adverts. It would, in fact, be like dropping a thermonuclear device on such companies.
Way back in the mists of time, when the Internet was a collection of FTP, UseNet and Gopher sites, and the WWW was just taking its first faltering hesitant steps there was a bit of demo software called 'Microsoft Agent' which I think was designed to do much of what this does - anyone remember it?
The real MS Agents wear sharp black suits, dark shades and knock on your door when you're home alone. You answer and the agent says to you in a menacing tone "I see you're writing a letter" - you reply in the time honoured tradition of telling them to fuck off and punching them in the face. Two minuets later their back at the door - "I see you're trying to print a document" etc
This is similar to a product I have just patented - it's for people into basket weaving who are rather embarrassed by this outdated crafting method - my product browses for bizarre hardcore leather bondage porn and conducts fake cyber sex chat sex sessions on your behalf. It even orders the occasional butt-plug from on-line sex shops so that anyone tracking you will never suspect you're really just some saddo into making baskets!
I'm lost on this one..... So, what's doing the browsing? the phone? an App? something else? can Iphone users expect extra data usage due to this? Should they expect more spam since Apple now will decide what they are browsing while not browsing? Who get's the "click" money? Apple?
I'm probably off in left field but.... I guess I'm not paranoid enough to worry. If I'm gonna look at pRon, I don't care who knows.
Maybe someone at apple is looking at too much of it and is worrying it's gonna come back on them.....
Couldn't the same effect be achieved using a shell script running wget?
Put it under a fake user account, create a dummy email address on gmail, hotmail, yahoo or whatever then have it run at random times using a list of "acceptable" web sites.
Whatever happened to "not obvious" in the patent requirements?
Yup, in fact i wrote just such a script to amuse myself by polluting the stream when it looked like BT were going to roll out Phorms mitm attack hardware.
Rather than browsing a list of acceptable sites it used acceptable topics instead, with logs so i could at least show it was a bot if necessary. IIRC correctly the User Agent was set to 'Phorm annoyer'. Default topics were knitting, sheep shearing and gardening.
With a little thought Apples idea is incredibly obvious. randomize the time between requests as if someone's reading the page, or better base it on the size of the received data
...in response to a recent report compiled by the Bureau of Statistics, the Prime Minister today announced that there will be a special budgetary provision this year of $2.6 Trillion for basket-weaving societies and related hobbies. "This grant is an essential part of our government's commitment to ensuring that this previously under-funded pastime receives the support it deserves, and that Australian Working Families demand", she said, "In stark contrast to the paucity of basket-weaving support provided by the previous coalition government. While this should in no way be seen as a cynical grab for votes from the large, but hitherto unknown, Australian basket-weaving community, I will point out that Mr Abbott has made no basket-weaving policy announcements at all in the past five years, and voters should understand that his party would instead waste this money on football, pubs and casinos - pastimes which our research shows to be highly unpopular with the Australian public".
going on about Big Brother when they ruined the whole IT world with their invention of the walled garden, we-tell-you-what-you-can-put-on-your-device mentality, and their whole fucking control-freak behaviour.
But it fits their dictatorial aspect I suppose, to be seen "doing something" about Big Brother, maybe they think that intelligent people (as opposed to their fanboi pets) won't see them for what they really are.
If you run a web site, you'll know that you've got data caps. Not only that, but some, including me, use page hits to determine areas of interest and beef up posting on those topics. You might even use hit fingerprints to determine what web technologies people are using and then design your site templates accordingly.
I had a few words to say to the UK library that wanted to archive the internet a while ago, along the lines of, I've got to pay for my bandwidth and if you start slurping all my content on a regular basis, you're going to cost me a small fortune and drive my statistics over a cliff. I'm not going to know who from what.
I feel very sorry for that basket weaving site. They're going to have a hard time sorting out the needle in the straw.
This is yet another corporation designing and doing things without thought to the innocent people they're affecting. If Apple do go forward with this and I start seeing shed loads of Safari hits on my sites then I'll be having a few words with them.
Granted, my degree is in graphic design, but i've used computers and networks extensively for over 25 years, and based on my own experience and my regular reading of The Reg, it looks to me as if Apple is basically trying to patent the Man In The Middle Attack.
So, stop me if I'm wrong, but... injecting code that hijacks a user's profile and personal info and uses it to create bogus profiles and make purchases in the user's name -- isn't that what most of your more insidious malware does?
This really creeps the hell out of me -- and I've been using Macs exclusively for over 25 years which, I guess, makes me a "fanboi" around here, but this is really nasty, creepy-assed shit... not to mention that I'm quite capable of polluting my own profile to monkeywrench trackers, thank you very much.
Mind you, as I said, I'm not an IT professional, so I could be wrong, but, still... patented MITM attack? Am I right... or, not...?
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