Slog tipper Clint wants to know what I have to say about the news of Apple's new patent application. Apple's new technology reportedly is capable of quite a few invasions of the user's privacy, without the owner even knowing it:

* The system can take a picture of the user's face, "without a flash, any noise, or any indication that a picture is being taken to prevent the current user from knowing he is being photographed";

* The system can record the user's voice, whether or not a phone call is even being made;

* The system can determine the user's unique individual heartbeat "signature";

* To determine if the device has been hacked, the device can watch for "a sudden increase in memory usage of the electronic device";

* The user's "Internet activity can be monitored or any communication packets that are served to the electronic device can be recorded"; and

* The device can take a photograph of the surrounding location to determine where it is being used.

(Bear in mind that a lot of Apple's patent applications never get used in real life, so this is all supposition at this point.) On the one hand, I'm sure people will say this is some pretty amazing anti-theft technology. On the other hand, Apple will be able to track your heartbeat without your even knowing it. Tech writers assume that the other use of this technology will be to brick phones that have been jailbroken (even though the U.S. government has specifically said that jailbreaking is perfectly okay).

Apple keeps taking steps in this direction. The question is: where is the limit when it comes to privacy and technology? When does a really cool device stop being useful and start being intrusive?