Feeds

Microsoft proposes gadget feature disabling tech

'Please switch off your mobile' enforcement

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Depending on your point of view, it’s either intensely annoying when someone uses their phone in a train’s quiet zone, or very annoying when you’re in one and want to use your phone.

Microsoft has made itself mediator and hopes to patent technology to ensure that if you shouldn’t be using a gadget in a certain place – then you physically can’t.

Microsoft’s brainwave is called Device Manners Policy (DMP) and it could ensure that if a sign says “No photography allowe”, then your camera or your phone's camera won’t work. DMP could also be used to block phones from receiving incoming calls during a meeting.

DMP isn’t designed to stop you using every feature on a particular gadget, just those that aren’t allowed at a certain location. For example, although incoming calls may be blocked during meetings, you might still be permitted to play Snake on the sly.

However, Microsoft seems unsure of how to best to implement such a draconian system and, according to the patent application, it’s considering several possible methods.

For example, a library’s network could connect to your device, by Wi-Fi or RF, and link the gadget to a server that supplies commands about what functions are and aren’t allowed in the library.

If the server connects to a mobile phone, for example, then the server may block the handset from taking pictures and receiving calls, while still allowing it to surf the internet using the library’s Wi-Fi network.

In another example, devices must first accept DMP rules before they are allowed to access any services. Accepting these rules would allow a server to connect to the gadget and block it from providing certain functions.

Microsoft DMP technology may sound simple in theory, but Register Hardware’s sceptical about the implementation of such services.

For example, Microsoft could add DMP compliance into Windows Mobile, but would Nokia do the same? If Kodak implemented the technology into its compact cameras, how would it affect the price of snappers? The British Library may stump up the cash to stop people photographing its books, but would Virgin pay for the required technology to ensure that all quiet zone customers really are quiet on every single train?

More information about Microsoft’s DMP patent application is available online here.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.