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.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing
Only another three days of pooing and I can have a ride!
Heyyy! NICE e-bracelet you've got there ... SHAME if someone were to SUBPOENA it
Court pops open cans of worms and whup-ass in Fitbit case
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
The IT Crowd's internet in a box gets $240k of crowdcash for a cause
'Outernet' project proposes satellite-fuelled 'Lantern' WiFi library for remote areas
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.