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Apple patents lying to those who are spying!

You’ve heard the predictions. We’re quickly slouching toward a world in which your every move, every purchase, every act of “content consumption” will be meticulously and automatically monitored, tracked and captured. Algorithms will constantly profile you so advertisers can make their advertising specific to your location, preferences, personality, social group, income and education level and more.

Every major technology company, it seems, is scrambling to get into the user-data harvesting racket.

Everyone except Apple. When will Apple reveal a strategy to compete on the data-harvesting battlefield? 

But this week, something shocking happened that made me think: Maybe Apple isn’t going to get into the data-harvesting business at all. Maybe Apple is going to fight it!

Go here to comment on Cult of Mac and plus-on the post on the site:

(Pic props to EC Comics and Time Warner)
Abhijeet Malik's profile photoKenneth McCormack's profile photoJason Righter's profile photoJessica Martins's profile photo
I love that idea; the thought of crowbarring off the Big Brother wannabes who thought that scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise's character was mistaken for a Japanese chap and asked about his shopping preferences was cool.

But I wonder whether Apple will simply use it to funnel users into only seeing THEIR ads.
So basically you give up your privacy to Apple in exchange or them protecting you from everyone else?
Chris Lang
I don't think Apple is out to fight it, I think they are out to obfuscate public data they produce so that only they can use what the know.
+Wendy Cockcroft has a point, what billionaire corporation spends money in a patent only to be used for the common good? Last time I checked, there was no Willie Wonka on Apple's board of directors.
Advertisers should share their profits with the consumers they are trying to harvest information from.  If we did that when the internet started,  the economy would have been better off.
+Robert McGee You mean like Google Adsense? Many many bloggers made a good living from AdSense at one time, you know back when the ads were new and we had not learned not to click ads.

I still make a nice little commission check every so often from AdSense on my YouTube channel. Check comes each year at Christmas :]
And the beat goes on...nice article and thanks for the share here.
"Or will they harvest your data themselves, and pollute the data of other harvesters?"

I think you got it in one, +Mike Elgan 

Given how Apple likes to play nice (LOL) with others <cough>, have to stop myself there, I nearly choked and fell of my chair....start again.
NO!  Not Google stupid Adsense...that's a poor example +Chris Lang. YouTube is even a poor example.  I understand it's a way to profit but it's not what I'm talking about.  I understand it can make the little guy money but it's not a level playing field at all!  If you can wait a few mins, I can finish writing my real response.  Here's something to look at until then:
Isn't that idea just an avatar of avatars?
ITunes is a big data gathering machine & with facebook & Twitter integrated into the system they don't need a foursquare. So this patent is a smokescreen. Apple is not fighting it, it has just taken the battle a notch higher. It must be one of those cunning ideas by apple to further strengthen there walled garden. If you are not with me I will send you on a false trail. Game on
Makes me wonder how it would effect users. A Mac/iPhone user who also really enjoys using Google Plus. Would that impact the user experience with all the mis-information flying around. Sounds like the user will get caught in the middle somewhere since no one will stay within the walled garden of just one company.
It might ruin the experience of a Google+ user using an iproduct. 
Discovered this on the Flipboard app moments ago. Fascinating. Would this mean that my ads would be misinformed as a result? Instead of being sold books similar to Animal Farm, I'd be sold on books about Cooking with pooh? 
One patents an idea to prevent it being used.  This is more Apple trying to stop people increasing their privacy.  They want your personal habits to be known by those who feel they can help you spend money you don't have.

Unfortunately for Apple, and all the other spies out there, I came across a Firefox plugin that did this years ago.  Prior art defeats suits.
Shaun L
Whilst the idea of feeding misinformation to advertisers is an excellent one, crapple would never do anything altruistic - there will always be something in it for them.
Humm apple is for the consumer?
Sure they will +Mike Elgan , do you not know what APPLE's Logo is a symbol of?  Now that +Larry Page is "voiceless" for the moment, many are likely in big trouble with Google's rollout of Slave Tracking Tech(c) , their version MICRO$OFT's patent 20070300174:


This sounds eerily similar to Gates Patent 20070300174 for ability to track "employees"  (read slaves), WORLDWIDE, including their vital signs!  Why not just use real robots?   What is really going on with Larry Page?  Has someone "gotten" to him,  he's actually unable to "speak"?  

Google Touts Worker (slave) Tracking as Own CEO Goes MIA
Posted by Soulskill on Friday June 22,@03:00PM 
from the coming-soon-to-a-boss-near-you dept.
theodp writes

"On Thursday, Google announced a product that enables a business to see where all its workers are at all times. Called Maps Coordinate, it combines a paid-for business version of Google's standard maps product with an application downloaded to a worker's smartphone, creating a real-time record of worker locations. Ironically, Google touted its worker tracking solution on the very same day that CEO Larry Page was a surprise no-show at Google's Annual Shareholder Meeting, leaving Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt to explain his absence. Schmidt explained that Page had lost his voice and, as a result, would likely also miss next week's I/O conference and possibly next month's quarterly earnings call. While a Google spokeswoman declined to comment further on Page's condition, Schmidt added that Page will continue as CEO while he recovers. So, why not reassure those worried about the situation by publicly tracking Page's location via Maps Coordinate? After all, Google's a true believer in eating its own dog food, right?"



What say ye friends?
+Mike Elgan Could it be they patented it not to help consumers but to have a patent in it's warchest to use against a company that might want to develop such code?  I think that is infinitely more probable than doing it for altruism.  Possibly using the patent specifically against +Google to devalue their Ads on iCrap which boost Apple's iAd value even.  No I don't think altruism was their intent!  But maybe i'm just an old cranky guy being cynical.  
what's wrong with relevant advertising? seriously
<quote> One scenario is that Apple harvests the real data for their own purposes, and “pollutes” the data collected by rivals, such as Google.
If that happened, you can be sure that Google would deploy its own data-pollution scheme, fouling the data collected while iOS or OS X users are on Google Search or Google+.</quote>

Most likely scenario. This is a classic Apple being pulled here. Just got to love those marketing bitches @ that company!
But then targetted advertising and personlized searches won't work for you. You will be bombarted by ads you don't care about and you may have to scroll,through several pages of search results to get the stuff you are looking for. We will be back to the stone age of the internet...
The younger demographic is definitely on board with "I want to be known, because I want to save time online." I think Apple's better strategy would be to provide the superior "known" experience. Something like what the other comments mention - a cleaner, less fragmented understanding of personal data. That could mean proactively using counter-intelligence against more spammy data scraping/harvesting systems. 
+Eric Sean Tite Webber Not to start a big ol' debate here, but I'm pretty sure that communism has been tried several times and doesn't work... mostly due to government corruption and a general lack of motivation among the population therein.
white spy wins most of the time
I am just soooooo looking forward to the big law suite in 2018 ...

It may be Apple Google FB or god knows whats coming ... strange idea that one would, as a private company, would not harvest. But now there is a patent that could sort of say: I don't do that ... see I have patent on that Oh and btw I can all so legally fuck you're shit up I allso got a patent on that to ! o.0
Apple's gotta be the most pretentious, over-rated, over-priced and most dangerous company out there which sells products that can't even support flash nor have CD drives nor supports majority of games (among other things). I don't get why people give into their products, nor their updates, nor their 99 cent songs, nor itunes for that matter. It's not 'hip' to be conformed to paying out of pocket all the time for mediocre products and spied upon services.
+Joe Winpisinger agree - social search is better than conventional search. Twitter has great data, too. What's important moving forward is how to curate your group so you get the best, most relevant info. And, how do you step outside the social box and get some serendipity. Maybe this patent helps with the latter. It doesn't seem to be focused on social.
"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."
What sucks if I go to a Walmart nearby my neighborhood they limit ethnic foods & etc. While the Walmart across town in the low income neighborhood they don't carry lobster tails. They're taking profiling to a whole new level.
Its not going to matter soon we will be in world war 3! Greed has ruined the US and other economys and all that will be for nothing. Thay won't be able to enjoy their money anymore it will be worthless 
Tony, why do you see anything wrong with that?  Stores have ALWAYS tailored their merchandise to what their local customer base wants to buy. 
that's patent-able !?  i've (and i'm sure others) have been falsifying demographic data to ad servers for... well since, ever.  
OR. does having a patent like this allow Apple to sue anyone who doesn't give accurate information when filling out a web form, or blocks cookies?
+Matt Tuomala _BINGO!_  you, sir, have just said the magic word: 'sue'. (Now, watch the duck fall from the ceiling).    \-))
Sorry, but patent? This screams to me more as one of those things Apple 'might' want to do but doesn't want anyone else to be able to do. Frankly I find the fact that Apple didn't even invent this but is being given the right to use it exclusively and say that no one else can use it disgusting.
looks like someone hit the geek trail
I think this might be one more way to hit google where it a part of thermonuclear war that apple has declared against it....
Holding a patent on this technique prevents their competitors from using it against them. That's Apple's interest.
Don't they already have a vast database of customer information and interests in iTunes already? They filter all of the purchases on their hardware through their own portal and aggressively block out non compliant technologies. To me this patent seems more like a way to keep competitors from gaining this information, while Apple sits on a ton if it. 
I'm vegan and don't use store loyalty cards i always get the cashier to donate my points to the person next in the que. This way i screw their figures and promote veganism. The best way to avoid tracking is to be aware of it and use it for your benefit. A great family game is swap mobile devices on random days. So much fun to be had, don't let the game play you, play the game!
This is one method for shafting data harvesting. I assume Google and others could invent their own methods. In other words, Apple has the patent on a method, but not the tactic. 
Cardiff, cloudy since morning..... Bad time to be here xxx But loved the sea-side! Anyone here to njoy d Saturday night...
Would you be willing to discuss this in a Hangout +Mike Elgan?  I find this very interesting and it's really too much to try and cover in a comment stream. 
That's why I have Google Analytics and similar in the blacklist of my router.
Or may be they will use these patents to prevent other people from fighting it. Or may be they will use this to prevent only their competitors from getting the ad moolah while they continue to rake it in.
If/when this tactic is employed by all, then every company will have to farm their own data. At that point, company with most "true user data" will be most valuable to advertisers.
Or may be they will use these patents to prevent other people from fighting it. Or may be they will use this to prevent only their competitors from getting the ad moolah while they continue to rake it in. I just don't trust them.
one advertiser to rule them all.... geeks should know had this ends...
You're right Mike and another bad thing is that big brother is just around the corner our whole life will be on the Internet everybody will know what everybody has or doesn't have it's getting scary
black  and white spy my favourite.
So I'll be hit with ads that have no relevance to me?
This is a really great article. What lengths competitors will go to to outfox the other.
algorythms  are the essence of the universe when we get good enough at it
Only problem I see is there's a bunch of prior art and yes "on a mobile device" but that never stopped the uspo before or apple for that matter
Haven't seen Spy vs. Spy in years!
The Bible predict it before all that to let you know and.......... for sure is happening now,
And more to come,soon: cashless society, they can see your hair in a clear day and more and more control over our lifes. The good news is they do not control our faith :) and we live by faith not by sigth......!!!.
The Bible predict it before all that to let you know and.......... for sure is happening now,
And more to come,soon: cashless society, they can see your hair in a clear day and more and more control over our lifes. The good news is they do not control our faith :) and we live by faith not by sigth......!!!.
The last paragraph, the last sentence, that sums it up!
Sorry I forgot to tell u where is predicted:Rev 13:13-18. Do not be deceived, instead be Saved. Do your own research.
If Apple uses ANY patent for the greater good I'll tattoo an Apple logo on my head!
Oh, brother.  Let's call it what it is, and what the article vaguely alludes to... they want to pollute the data sent to NON-APPLE servers, while keeping CLEAN data on their end.  Then they can start advertising how their data is "so much better".  :-P   Apple's "shit" is just as brown as any other harvester's.. even if it SMELLS differently.
Mike, you have this the wrong way around. That they have a patent just means they choose who gets to do it, not that they will do it for you ;) Thank goodness for prior art.
and maybe Apple just got the patents to keep anyone from actually doing it.
Apple is a ridiculous company and so are patents!
This post sucks.  Apple is not in it for the good of the people.  Oh please...
I just like the Spy Vs. Spy picture. People spend way too much time concerned about people monitoring your movements, the more threads you make, the easier it is for us to track you. :D
+iSteve R It's likely that Novell developed this patent, and certain that Novell is already implementing it to some extent in at least one of their products. 
+Anthony Malena Actually, the jury's still out on that. So far, they have puny methods for harvesting data, but nothing massive. It's possible that they'll cast themselves as the good guys, making Apple platforms a track-free or relatively track-free zone. 
I find this awful. Not only does it fall on the side of shady business practices (at least in my opinion), but in the end it would hurt a user. Many of the free tools that we use are only effective because the algorithms behind them have become good enough to start learning meaningful things about us. I, for one, love how relevant my Google search results are, and I know a lot of that effectiveness is tied into what Google has collected on me.
+Prem Gyani The corporate world is probably not a good place to go looking for altruism. The best hope is that their self-interest provides social benefits. For example, Google wants to make billions on advertising, and in pursuit of that desire created Search, Gmail and Google+. Meanwhile, there are many altruistic organizations that aren't adding much to the betterment of mankind. 
+Fabio Basile Maybe not the common good, but possibly for revenge, and also profit (such a move might win them points from users). 
Hey it actually makes sense, it's an "enemy of my enemy" type of situation, where you trick the enemies of your... Ummm... Enemies? Friends..? I guess it's an open ended question.
i think the black guy is cooler. he has a bomb
Come Holy Ghost Creator come and fill the hearts and minds of all here present with thoughts and knowledge which are from You for the sake of the testimony of Jesus. Amen.
Fits with Apple wanting to destroy Google
I had a good laugh and didn't bother reading this article in full. The author lost me when saying apple didn't bother with social networking. They did it was called ping and failed spectacularly
This may sound naive, but it seems that apple does take privacy seriously. When using my iPhone I'm constantly forced to consent to an app or service trying to use my location or collect data. They ask every time and I'm glad they do. 
There data mining comes in the form of their new maps app.
From the time you log onto the internet, until you log off, all of your actions are logged.  If Apple were to try and confuse the data being sent out, that would stop the adds from popping up on the websites you visit, it would just change them to something you're not interested in.  If you don't want that data collected, you have to go into privacy mode and never sign up for any contest, newsletters, alerts or anything of that nature.

To the author, Apple did try to do their own social web service, which bombed as badly as Microsoft's Live pages.  I understand you're an Apple fanboy just like I'm a linux geek.  That doesn't make apple's intentions any better than google, microsoft or anyone else.  Apple only cares about 1 thing...Apple.  They are sore about not having the majority share of the smartphone business and they realize it's their own fault.  If they would have immediately sold across all networks instead of signing an exclusive contract with At&t, Android may have never gotten their foot hold.  But when you combine the worst cellphone carrier in the US with a great product, you're only going to draw so many people to it.  People who had sprint, verizon, t-mobile didn't want At&t and most, like myself, have been wronged by At&t in the past and have no desire to go back. 
spy vs spy..(not seen these pair for years).....the good,the bad and the ugly.... (big brother)....!!!....
Maybe...or maybe Apple is just patenting the tech so that nobody else can use it. It wouldn't be the first time they've done that.
Bill M.
I bet a lot of these corporations are coming to the conclusion that most of us are pretty predictable and our buying habits pattern as consumers are downright boring.
It seemed they could only get AT&T to agree to their terms at first, until everyone saw the huge sales that the iPhone generated. I doubt they have anything to be sore about, they are printing money in Cupertino. Any manufacturer would kill to be in apples shoes. Denying that is delusional. 
+Ajayvir Gill just focus on learning to spell "dick sucker", once you have mastered that move on to stopping the activity. 
All this misinformation for the illusion of privacy.
i think you're all a group of monkeys,why?your time's all free there's another important to careof,have you ever think what we must to do on summer,or trying to be aleader for those needit
but what about apple having all the info. As far as I understand Apple, this technology is NOT meant for people. But to just let Apple have all the data from iPhones and Macs and not Google etc. (Reminder: Apple works for money, not people.)

Time to buy apple shares if you are a trader ;)
bomb and dyimite whitch one do more damage
a. Apple did have a social network, they shut it down
b. Instead of trying to offer competitive products, they are trying to sabotage the sources of revenue of their competitors. This is the kind of competition the end consumer can do without
Regardless, Apple is up to no good, since this patent spells corruption all over it! If Apple's hope is to more crudely do like g+ is doing to facebook w/user privacy disapproval, doing the later scheme could backfire if they attack all the big boys like this! If Apple wants to stay in businesses, I think they should buy out data mining websites like, so they will finally accept customer input on how to improve their own product and make/keep customers the old fashioned way.
Damn. I've been doing this crap too long. The first thought when I saw that pic was Task Force Troy Counter-IED
That is a terrible idea. If you don't want to tracked, download TOR and block cookies. That misinformation skews data to the point that your web browsing experience could become terribly inefficient. Cookies are designed (in theory) to provide you with an efficient experience that only provides relevant data. How would you like your RSS feeds to be completely skewed because it thinks you like Disney movies instead of Tarantino flicks - as a overgeneralized example? AdSense would be completely ineffective and your search results from Google wouldn't make any sense.

Apple: don't spread misinformation, that's lying and foul play. If you want to compete, give people choice or create your own social network.

I'm all for privacy and net neutrality, but by polluting the internet with bogus results intentionally will completely ruin browsing experiences in the long term. Smh ... big time
I haven't read through all of the comments, so someone might have had this same thought, but...  Apple has shown a tendency to use patents to prohibit others from using the tech, even when they don't use it themselves. 

This is a great idea (and one that I've seen in any number of sci-fi novels, by the way, which could possibly be considered "prior art" if anyone wants to challenge the patent), but the fact that Apple has patented it doesn't instill me with great confidence that we will see any implementations of it any time soon.
Long one in ass and the round one in mouth.
+Mike Elgan Apple will fight for you to protect you from others getting your information...most likely so they can use your information for themselves. Wouldn't you agree? The trend, as I understand it, is that Apple brings you (the consumer) something appealing and in turn are successful at stifling others' capabilities of bringing you the same product or service.
Spy Vs. Spy is a much better love story than Twilight, just saying.
The war scenario is more likely
Ace E
Spy vs. Spy - Classic!!!
What a load of crap! Apple are doing this so they will be the only company who "truly" knows who their users are. And meanwhile stupid users of Apple products will be thinking "I'm so glad that my personal data is safe"..
Um no its not, apple has it all now and on conjunction it will only disturb your online experience. Sure, companies harvest your details but to offer you products or services that you may benefit from. If you were to use the technology apple have proposed your going to be constantly promoted complete rubbish from everyone bar apple...
Honestly guys, everyone is up in arms as to online privacy these days, but I gave up on worrying about it more than two decades ago when I learned how much of your private life is revealed by credit bureaus and insurance companies.

No major commercial real estate development in the last 30 years has been built without our personal data down to what items are insured in our homes revealing a boat load of demographic data on what we buy. Then the insurance company goes on to underwrite the big shopping center and also invest heavily.

Seriously, my home phone number in on my about pages here and on all my sites, I run latitude on my Android phone full time for two years now, I simply do not care. 
+William Hunt Truly, I am glad to see highly targeted advertising from my social interactions and preferences. Advertising is what keeps writers like +Mike Elgan in business as it does marketers like myself. So I am going to see advertising, hence if I am going to see it, I would just  a soon see ads for what I want to buy.

Also as a marketer, I want my ads to be seen by those that want to see it, and can profit from my products. Does that make sense to normal people? Don't know, you tell me....
Yes apple would lie to & deceive every advertiser except Apple! And then around and sue anyone else doing the same thing. So ethical of cause.
+Mike Elgan & everyone else, I personally feel that these online privacy watchgroups are fighting a losing battle. for me Online privacy is an oxymoron. you cant have your cake & eat it too. if you check-in into a place on a social network so that your friends know you are there, & dont expect to be tracked then I have serious doubts about your IQ. Are you really sure that you log in into a website to enhance your experience & expect not to be tracked. its a give & take. they track you in order to give you a better user experience & thats a fair deal. For me I personally dont do anything on the net which i wont do in the streets. for things i cant do on the streets I use incognito mode. 
+Mike Elgan The point I'm trying to make up there is that the Bible predicts cristal clear @ Rev:13 from verse13 to 18 that: We are (W/tecnology along with intelligent devices) having soon the fact of beeing monitored and controlled, observed in every sigle transaction we possible do, so we will be unable to do so without a "mark" example: biometric ID (I have some posts w/info about that) to make it happen sortly Mike. My concern is simple: to show the reader it is happening now, and it's beeing predicted since 2000y ago aprox. Is'nt AMAZING??. Read the verses and be a bealiever. Do not be deceived instead be saved :)
+Mike Elgan Jajajajajajajaja.........jajajaja.... jaja goooood one Mike:):):).......but seriously I've been following this info about 12 to 15y ago, and in my heart there is a passion to do so, (research,dig in the info) Bible related because we are 7.something Billion people and that much.... people, just a few NOT following the flow of deception incautious people. And Mike lifting up the true about the Bible prophecy;I know also you have a passion too, to express, to declare in words;to speak, and (you)are realy good doing so. Maybe GOD is calling you to become a believer and work (serve) HIM. Helped with His Spirit(Holy one) trough the TRUE KNOWLEDGE. Being saved, not deceived. I'll be around you with some Bible Prophesy info :) :) .
+Mario E Urdapilleta Mario, I'm not religious, but I have nothing at all against religious people. I think you should have your beliefs, and I support your right to them. I don't judge you, or look down on you for your religious beliefs. But...

No evangelizing, OK? 

By all means, evangelize your ass off in your own stream, but not mine. Thanks!
+Mike Elgan Still.....Mike.There is a loooot of information"streamming," and if needed I'LL BE AROUND LIFTING MY FATHER'S WORD, by the way......... Mike: I'M A SPARTAN TOO.......... AND....... Praying 4 u Mike, you know??? GOD LOVES YOU AND SO DO I:);).
+Mike Elgan. Still..... Mike.There is a loooot of information"streamming",and if NEEDED I'LL BE AROUND U LIFTING MY FATHERS WORD, by the way..........Mike: I'M A SPARTAN TOO...........AND......Praying 4 u Mike,you know???GOD LOVES YOU AND SO DO I :);).
LOL I never have and never will understand blabbering comment SPAM. But it sure can be funny at times when it is so far out there!
+Mike Elgan It makes a lot of sense. Apple is not good at it any way and so make it a virtue and try to maintain the premium price on your product
+Mike Elgan , it seems to me the possible “Apple route” is a big mistake. In stead of trying to pull back the curtain on data harvesters and make transparent what is hidden, they add more obscurity to the system.
If companies, in compliance to new laws being drawn up, need my permission to collect my data, wouldn’t Apple also need my permission to spread my falsified personal data? Wouldn’t they have to know all about me, in order to morph my data? Do I know which fake personal data they are going to be transmitting? Do I have any control over this or any insights into what is going on? Can I switch it off if I do want my correct personal information tot be spread over the interwebs. How much polluted personal data is needed to mislead harvesters effectively? We need more openness in stead of obfuscation.  
+Martijn van Beek Yes, exactly. It's unclear which route Apple will choose, or which will prove more advantageous for Apple. I think there's a case to be made for making iOS a safe-haven from data harvesting. 
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