Could you imagine if Ron Burgundy owned a cell phone? Actually, it's probably best if you don't visualize what he'd do with one, such things have a tendency to burn a permanent spot in your brain requiring years of therapy to remove. Though you may not want to picture Ron Burgandy firing off sext messages, there's a good chance you or someone you know actively engages in sexting.
Just so we're clear, "sexting" is a noun that means "the sending of sexually explicit photographs or messages via mobile phone." It's a self-explanatory term to anyone locked into modern social media, and one that didn't officially exist outside of the realm of technobabble, at least until now. Sexting is one of the latest additions to the 12th edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary.
It may have taken two years, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office finally approved a patent Apple filed in 2008 which sought to prevent users from sending or receiving "objectionable" text messages.
The patent doesn't use the term "sexting," however it's no secret that's what Apple was after. Here's how the patent reads:
"In one embodiment, the control application includes a parental control application. The parental control application evaluates whether or not the communication contains approved text based on, for example, objective ratings criteria or a user’s age or grade level, and, if unauthorized, prevents such text from being included in the text-based communication.
If the control contains unauthorized text, the control application may alert the user, the administrator or other designated individuals of the presence of such text. The control application may require the user to replace the unauthorized text or may automatically delete the text or the entire communication."
In other words, Apple just patented the censoring of text messages. But will it work as intended? If you've ever read a teenage text message, then you already know they speak a language all their own. Good luck to whatever algorithm is used to try and decipher covert sexting.