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[Ars] MS Patent Brings Manners into the Digital Age

post #1 of 5
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Cell phones may be nearly ubiquitous in today's world, but the number of people who have adopted proper cell phone etiquette (or gadget etiquette in general) often seems to be far smaller. Microsoft has filed for a patent (patent application 2008/125,102) on technology it feels could address such situations via the use of what the company refers to as a "digital manners policy," or DMP for short. The patent abstract states:

Quote:
The present invention includes methods and technologies for defining and administering device manners policy ("DMP"), propagating DMP, reception and recognition of, and compliance with DMP. Such policy may be used to communicate to various mobile and other devices the "manners" with which compliance is expected or required. Similar to some of the social manners honored among people, such as with "no smoking" or "employees only" zones, "no swimming" or "no flash photography" areas, and scenarios for "please wash your hands" or "no talking out loud", devices may recognize and comply with analogous "device manners" policy.
[...]

DMP-equipped devices would be capable of receiving and applying DMP "orders" given to them by an appropriate broadcast device. The wording of the patent implies that such broadcasters would be short-ranged and/or physically restricted. A cineplex, for example, might use DMP to automatically shift all cell phones into "vibrate" mode while they are inside the theater. In cases where cell phone broadcasts could potentially interfere with delicate equipment, such as while aboard an airplane or inside a hospital, DMP could order the phone or device to drop into sleep mode or otherwise deactivate itself. Once the individual leaves the relevant area, the device would function normally. [...]

The patent application itself may only have been recently published, but it's already come under attack from some privacy advocates who fear it's nothing more than DRM masquerading under a different name. Upon review of the actual patent, this type of stance seems unnecessarily alarmist. While the DMP system Microsoft describes might theoretically be used to completely block or unnecessarily restrict device access, switching phones to "vibrate" mode or disallowing photos while in a locker room do not seem to qualify.
Source [Ars Technica]
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post #2 of 5
I can already see someone trying to dial 911 in an area that won't allow it or something crazy like that because youre going to see people with black market DMP machines.
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post #3 of 5
Thats ridiculous , really..haven't they got anything better to do ? Like improve their products for instance!
post #4 of 5
I'm one of the foremost haters of cellphone douchebaggery, but even this is going a little too far. I could see a predator waiting in a parking garage or something with a renegade DMP broadcaster. That beng said, however, I'm sure they would have emergency pass through technology built in. ie no blocking 911.
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post #5 of 5
This is just plain stupid. This isn't teaching manners, it's forced compliance. These things aren't laws, they're just socially recommended behaviors. If you want people to learn digital manners, then teach it in school or start a campaign with parents.

Also, phones have no effect on the electronics in a commercial airliner. The FAA just doesn't want every person on the plane talking all the time so that they can hear important announcements from the crew; it's just a safety thing. GSM phones will interfere with ground cellular communications however because they transmit at a high power.
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