In a time of personal information invasion, both online and within apps, Apple's decision to scan users' emotions may be poorly timed. But right now the mood scanner is just at the patent stage of development.

The patent, "Inferring user mood based on user and group characteristic data", will scan what you do to establish the mood you're in at any given time - ultimately to help advertisers.

The patent points out that current advertising isn't always on the mark as an individual's mood changes. By keeping track of your emotional state advertisers will be able to target your wallet more accurately.

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The unobtrusive mood detection system will note "recently consumed content" like "a digital media item, a social networking activity, and/or an invitational content item response". So, in English, pretty much everything you do on your iPhone.

The patent suggests that a baseline mood will be established and variations from that will measure a "confidence score" to guess at the user's current mood.

Use of user data as it works now is understandable as it can often help in online searches or map data, for example. How a score of an individual's mood will help the user personally isn't yet clear.

The patent was filed on 23 January this year, so don't expect to be targeted this accurately by advertisers anytime soon. We hope.

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