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A Method and Apparatus for Restricting and Limiting the Deployment and Use of Situationally Sensitive Applications Disclosure Number: IPCOM000201705D
Publication Date: 2010-Nov-18
Document File: 3 page(s) / 129K

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The Prior Art Database


This disclosure addresses the problem of restricting access to software applications running on mobile devices based on a set of configurable and extensible rules which describe a situation. A situation comprises a combination of environmental factors such as location, time, weather conditions etc which can be determined by the host device.

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A Method and Apparatus for Restricting and Limiting the Deployment and Use of Situationally Sensitive Applications

At the moment there exists a large potential for situation sensitive mobile applications to be developed which are only relevant to specific people in specific situations. However, with current technologies the development of such applications might also introduce a risk of damaging profit margins, through the compromise of confidential or protected information and the integrity of dependant systems and when used outside of their designated and intended situations of operation. There is no rigid and secure framework with which to control and restrict the deployment and use of these applications on relatively 'open' mobile application deployment platforms (Android etc) - platforms where all applications are available for everyone to download and use freely or for a fixed price in any situation the user may find themselves in.

    A "situation" here is a combination of various conditions, primarily including location, time, and date, but also extending to other conditions such as weather, traffic, means of travel, and any other condition which both can detected or looked up by a device and which may be used to determine whether an app is relevant to the user at that moment.

    Whilst individually tailored solutions could be created presently for restricting the use of an application after it has been deployed, there would be a disproportionate and unjustifiable level of research and infrastructure required to develop and maintain such a system. Further, such a bespoke solution could not feasibly integrate with a native application deployment platform to allow for automated future redeployment in predefined situations, without some kind of secondary 'launcher' application. Another option a developer might take would be restricting use of the application outside of situations, however the data stored by the application is still available on the device which poses a security risk. While there are many applications with situational behaviour, especially location-based behaviour, none of them address this problem of restrictive deployment and use.

Examples of such applications might include:
- Live streaming video applications for use within music festivals with multiple stages, allowing people inside to see what's playing at the other side of the venue, but stopping people outside of the venue using the application or viewing the video feeds.
- Point-of-sale ordering applications for use within the immediate vicinity of restaurants, allowing customers to only place orders whilst inside.

    The disclosure solves the defined problem through either simply augmenting a pre-existing application deployment platform as a stand-alone application or by being incorporated into a future application deployment platform via which it may control the latter-half of the deployment processes itself. Deployment" covers the installation, uninstallation...