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back to article Apple blocks booze, cigs sales with parental control patent

Apple has won a patent for its tap-to-pay iWallet tech that will block kids' accounts if they try to buy beer and tell their parents if they go shopping on Amazon. The "parental controls" patent filed in January 2009 and granted yesterday establishes a set of rules governing what Apple's tap-to-pay chip would be capable of …

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Software patents?

See image.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Software patents?

The images are showing software, yes?

Please explain while I go make a cup of tea.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Software patents?

Hahah so many downvotes, guess not many have time to make tea these days. Yes some people have the best jobs.

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Big Brother

Control your children

Control your employees

Control your citizens

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This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Re: Control your children

Control your paranoia

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Control your children

If you think you are being watched....

You probably are!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Control your children

Devices that children use should be subject to controls that stop outside interference from ad companies, data harvesters and the like.

Phones should be supplied by manufacturers with age related blocks embedded.

A phone for a 7 year old, 14 year old, adult etc.

Then it becomes parent responsibility just like half the population who buy their 9 year olds 18 age group games.

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Silver badge
WTF?

I thought one of the ideas behind patents...

... was that they should be "non-obvious".

Responsible parents wanting to be able to block their kids from buying cigs and booze seems pretty bloody obvious to me!

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Silver badge
FAIL

Re: I thought one of the ideas behind patents...

Its not the intent that matters, but the method that matters.

Looking at the kid and seeing that he clearly looks 12 is obvious.

His payment method setting off an alarm saying "Oi, I'm under age" not so much.

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Re: I thought one of the ideas behind patents...

"Its not the intent that matters, but the method that matters."

True - but i'm not totally convinced that much of the method is not just equivalent, or an obvious extension, to how things like some existing fraud detection software work. That said i'm only part way through the patent, which is proving even more dull and stodgy than normal, however the warning is in the usual weasel words at the end of the descriptions (reasonably boilerplate, but insidious none the less for that)

"While the present invention may be susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail herein. However, it should be understood that the techniques set forth in the present disclosure are not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the disclosure as defined by the following appended claims. "

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Re: I thought one of the ideas behind patents...

Nope, the idea is to make the US Patent Office money. It helps that it allows companies like Apple to take money from other companies too, of course.

The frightening thing is that the pathetic ideas are spreading fro the US to the rest of the world so we, too, get to pay more for less or miss out on things altogether thanks to someone bribing a senator somewhere.

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Anonymous Coward

whitelist

I see they have the ability to blacklist (authorisation/block) but does it allow whitelisting? I wouldn't want to have to keep up with all new websites (or renamed/international variations) as a parent - so having a managed whitelist would be a must.

More importantly, what exactly are they patenting anyway - does this mean nobody else can now have any sort of payment parental control...ever..., or is this just an iPhone patent. I already have a similar level of control on my cable (VirginMedia) on which I can specify what products/films/games can/cannot be paid for without knowing the parental control PIN - so what gives here.

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Coat

Shouldn't that be...

Patent No. 666 ?

.....it's the one with cash in the pockets .

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IT Angle

WTF?

A patent for a set of rules ...

"So now kids don't talk to strangers" TM

New patent from TFL OysterCard Rules : Swear while you swipe. Anytime you swear whilst swiping Boris gets a penny.

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erm

blocked? isn;t it prohibited under law anyway? can we now patent the concept of the police officer for also upholding the law? the american patent office needs to be shut down - they are clearly being bankrolled. there must be more corruption in that office than there has been in the entire history of the world predating the patent office.

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Silver badge

Re: erm

Yes Terra, because we all know that nothing illegal ever happens.

This is just an extra check, just like the prompt/alarm that appears on some POS terminals when someone tries to buy an age restricted product at the moment. This is just a way to prevent the merchant getting money for an illegal sale.

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Re: erm

You mean like a security guard? So how is that a new concept?

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IR

Weird idea

Now kids won't be able to buy anything from any supermarket, convenience store, newsagents, petrol station, etc, because they all sell beer and cigarettes. Good job cash exists.

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Anonymous Coward

Is this any different to mobile phones being blocked from adult web sites until the user of the phone proves themselves to be older than 18?

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Bronze badge
Stop

Bull$hit Patent...

This patent should have been regarded as nothing more than selective enforcement or application of field constraints on data in tables. HR databases, on-line purchasing, cable company program guides/lists, academic records, medical records, and other databases restrict who can access what, based in IP, platform, region, organization, login ID, and more, plus tokens/dongles, etc.

The patent should apply ONLY to very specific things in Apple's domain, and it should not empower Apple to drag competitors to a negotiation table.

If Google tried it, I'd say the same. This is about users facing restrictions to access or purchase, based on rules set.

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Bronze badge

Re: Bull$hit Patent...

If in doubt, there's commentary of prior art:

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2012/03/07/apple_patents/#c_1338670

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Silver badge

Re: Bull$hit Patent...

Perhaps dssf, but I dont think those have been married with EFTPOS transactions before, only remote ones.

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Anonymous Coward

Wow, sounds like a great alternative to actual parenting!

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Joke

Can I bump you 5 quid if you'll log in there and get me a packet of Lamberts

Of course, now someone has to patent standing outside the off-license with an iPhone having an app doing random NFC requests to other passing phones to purchase a packet of fags for them.

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