Patent combats sexting

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Apple’s latest patent award aims to combat sexting and it’s generating a buzz, according to Apple Insider.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office website outlines a patent awarded to Apple for a “text-based communication control for personal communication device.”

This technology can be used by phone administrators to control communications in many ways, such as limiting Wi-Fi access points, correcting spelling and grammar and most notably, filter texts for explicit words.

CNN.com, as well as several other websites, states that this patent’s purpose is to combat sexting, or the act of sending sexually explicit messages or pictures with a phone. Apple’s new technology can catch and filter abbreviations and words that other filters miss, although it does not filter pictures, according to CNN.

Chelsea Lee, a biology major, said sexting is a complicated issue because sending sexually explicit messages is a personal choice.

When people choose to send out these kinds of messages, they run the risk of marking themselves as vulnerable targets “prone to molestation or rape” –something that cannot be controlled by Apple’s new technology, Lee said.

This technology is “an ineffective attempt” at combating sexting, because it cannot filter pictures, Lee said.

“If it doesn’t do pictures, it won’t change anything,” Lee said.

Jonathan Machado, an undeclared major, said that sexting is a personal matter that can be consented to and that many who engage in sexting will go off and harass others.

Machado believes that this is why sexting has become a big issue and that Apple’s new technology will have no impact on sexting because “people can just come up with new words and ways to go around (the filter).”

“It won’t do anything if it can’t filter pictures,” Machado said, that if Apple’s technology gains the ability to do so down the road, it could become a privacy concern.”

Machado said that there is no foolproof solution when it comes to other measures that could be taken to combat sexting.

“(A word filter) won’t have any effect,” Machado said. “We need to educate people and tell them that it’s a personal matter.”

Machado said people who engage in sexting will continue to do it as long as they remain uneducated about its consequences — particularly the fact that sexting is a felony if minors are involved.

Nick Chapman, kinesiology major, said people shouldn’t care so much about sexting.

“People should be able to (send these kinds of messages) if they want,” Chapman said. “But if it starts causing drama, we should look at it.”

Apple’s new technology will be ineffective because it cannot address explicit pictures, Chapman said. In place of an anti-sexting measure, he suggests that younger kids shouldn’t even be allowed to have phones.

“Who do they need a phone to talk to? I didn’t get my first phone until high school,” Chapman said.

Apple’s website, Apple.com, does not make mention of the new technology.

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