In a newly surfaced patent application, a group of inventors affiliated with former Microsoft technology chief Nathan Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures proposes a system for “conditionally obfuscating one or more secret entities with respect to one or more billing statements.”
Translation: Mobile phone users could pay extra to exclude from their phone bills certain numbers and other details that would point to people they’ve been secretly talking and texting with.
Made public yesterday, the patent application was filed by Intellectual Ventures affiliate Searete LLC in November 2010.
So what was the inspiration? The filing notes that privacy and security issues surrounding modern communications devices mean that details from those devices can often be accessed by people other than the primary user. The patent application continues …
For example, it was extensively reported recently that a well-known and well-admired professional athlete was discovered having an extramarital affair by his spouse. It was widely reported that the spouse discovered this affair when she found a voice message from her husband’s mistress on her husband’s cellular telephone. Because the husband (i.e., famous professional athlete) in that incident had not erased or was not able to hide or disguise the voice message from his mistress, the husband had to endure considerable public humiliation and substantial financial loss due to loss of commercial endorsement income.
Gee, which “famous professional athlete” could that be? The Tiger Woods cheating scandal reportedly started when the golfer’s then-wife went through his phone, found evidence of communications with another woman, and called her.
Don’t worry, Tiger, the inventors at IV got your back, apparently.
One problem: Sir Mix-A-Lot may have some prior art on this one …