AT&T Files Patent to Prevent Predators From Interacting With Minors in Gaming Environments

AT&T Inc. apparently has filed a patent on a system designed to prevent "illegal and criminal activities" on gaming networks by stopping what they describe as "predatory users" from being able to come into contact with others who are considered minors, according to IPWatchdog. In a feature looking at AT&T's patent portfolio, the publication noted that this same patent application also mentions a system for adjusting a game environment to match a user's local terrain based on their "local user information."

"Adaptation of Gaming Applications to Participants" (U.S. Patent Application No. 20130263005) is described briefly in the filing as "methods, systems, and products adapt gaming applications to participants. Should one of the participants be a minor, for example, the gaming application may adapt to scenarios that are appropriate for minors. Similarly, the gaming application may adapt to customs associated with a country of a participant."

You can check out the full patent description here, but the gist of it is that the system would detect when a user is a minor and would then stop a "predator" from interacting with that user. It would use a variety of checks including the information from the user's profile including his or her age, location, profile data, financial information, and more.

Mostly the patent talks about identifying a minor using a gaming application and then identifying if another user is a "predator." If the system determines that a participant is a predator, it would disable the communication.

Another section of the patent filing deals with the idea of adjusting a user's terrain in a gaming environment using their local terrain data. We assume this would be retrieved by looking at the user's location data or GPS details..

Source: IpWatchdog

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  1. 0
    Kincyr says:

    I don't know if the patent is a good thing or not.

    on one hand, competing ISPs won't be able to use it, since they wouldn't be too keen on paying AT&T for usage rights, but on the other hand, AT&T will probably make money off it to donate to fund backwater political campaigns

  2. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Yeah, I used to work on games that had to adjust according to region and predicted age of the player.   Yes, it is a huge pain in the ass.   Development was not to bad, but testing, bug hunting, and general paperwork/codes was terrible.

  3. 0
    Neeneko says:

    I am trying to figure out if they are simply describing all adults as predators, or if they claim they are going to be able to develop an algorithm for determining which adults are predators.

    Either way, I hope this patent never sees implementation.  I can not imagine it going very well… most likely it would lock a lot of harmless people out and provide a false sense of security by allowing truly malicious people in still since they will be willing to invest in circumventing it.

    In a larger context, I can kinda get behind the idea of 'kids only' domains, but more to protect children from parents then predators.. 

  4. 0
    Wymorence says:

    It almost sounds like they're trying to patent some method(s) for a game to literally change the code it follows depending on the age and/or region of a user… Really sounds like a gigantic pain in the rear for developers.

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