Apple Granted Patent On Sexting--New Development In Sexual Harassment Lawsuits
Apple is showing once again why it is the innovation leader in technology. Apple was just granted a patent that would enforce parental controls on texting and sexting. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") issued Apple patent 7,814,163, which covers "systems, devices, and methods" that allow a user to determine what kind of text-messaging content can be sent or received from a given device. This patent may play a vital role in sexual harassment lawsuit. The patent and related software would allow users to select that messages be blocked entirely or the forbidden content (sexual content) will be removed from the message prior to transmission or as part of the receiving process. This will be accomplished through software that will allow the user to make these selections.
Of course in the workplace, the company issuing the mobile devices can make the selection for its' users. The software seems to be rather sophisticated in that it allows a ratings criteria or a user's age or grade level to determine what kind of words and content will be allowed in text messages, and what will not. Here is the part that may make it a nightmare for employers. Whenever a text message contains inappropriate content, the software alerts the user, the administrator, or other designated individuals of the presence of such text. Talk about putting the pressure on Human Resources.
In 2009 Pew Research said 30 percent of 17-year-olds had received sexually explicit images from others.