Apple Patents Bizarre Identity Cloning Service

Apple has just patented a new system that will help you avoid unwanted tracking. Basically, it creates an alternate identity that passes you off as yourself. Sound like science fiction? Yup, this is some straight up Multiplicity madness.

The technical ins and outs of the patent, as reported by Patently Apple, will give you a total headache, but here's what you need to know: When you're on the internet -- or merely on a network -- someone's always collecting information about you. You're being tracked for a whole host of reasons both nefarious and well-intentioned.

The cloning service Apple defines would allow you to configure a "clone" of your identity, which would be the one that those interested parties would see. You can define a whole host of attributes ("areas of interest" and "feigned confidential information") about the clone. You can also define when you want different parts of your real identity used. The reason these are clones and not outright fake identities is that the clones would be designed to be similar to you in some respects so that whoever is tracking you won't catch on. Kinda of like your online dating profile. Smart.

Sounds crazy, but remember, this is a patent, so it's intentionally very broad. Who knows what a real-world service would look like. If you think about it, this is a lot like what we already do online anyway. You've probably used fake information or a dummy email account to sign up for silly services before. This is basically the same thing, except that it's more wholly applied to your online existence. Let's just hope that you remember where the real you begins and ends. [Patently Apple]



    Unless the system automatically creates a new identity for every web service you use, it becomes effectively useless.

    If Target in the US can spot expectant mothers purely by spending habits, Google can link your clone identity to you if you login to their site whilst cloned.. and uncloned.

    "...but remember, this is a patent, so it’s intentionally very broad." Damn I hate this kind of thinking regarding patents.

    The purpose of a patent used to be "Hey - I've spent a heap of time coming up with something clever and if you want you can save yourself the same time, you can pay me to show you how to do it."

    Now it's "Hey. I thought of something. Now I own it and it's pointless anyone else spending their time trying to work out how to do the same thing because I'm going to sue their ass if they try!"

    Where is this going to end?

      I'm pretty sure the purpose of a patent was never an advertisement for diy.

      Yeah I think you missed the whole point of patents mate. It's to ensure you're the only one who can make money from an idea because you came up with it.

      I don't think I've missed the point, I just haven't communicated very well.

      Lets say I have a Widget salvage company. I learn that Bob Smith has invested 1 year of his time in inventing a brand new technique for Widget scrubbing that would be perfect for my business.
      Of course, Bob has protected his technique with a patent and so my sending a guy around to look in the windows of his office to see his plans is clearly a violation of his patent.

      In older times Bill would say to me "Look mate - I know you need your Widgets scrubbed and, you know, you're free to invest time into working out how to do that for yourself, but if you want to pay me some money, I am prepared to let you use my technique. That way I get some return on my investment and you don't have to spend a year researching it yourselves."

      There days Bill is saying to everyone "Now I have pioneered the field of Widget Scrubbing, I will charge a premium to anyone else who wants to scrub widgets. - ill betide anyone who wants to develop their own Widget Scrubbing mechanism because my patent says 'It Scrubs Widgets'. Anyone else who makes a thing that also Scrubs Widgets is going to have to hire expensive lawyers because I'm going to sue their buts!"

      My point was that by deliberately making the patient definition wide, the applicant is not only protecting their R & D investment, but also stifling the prospects of like minded others who just want to get on with what they need to do.

    Patent gives monopoly rights for sharing an invention.

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