Mobile devices can help people become more respectful when a patent filed by Microsoft comes to cell phones near you. Digital Manners Policy (DMP) address some of the security and privacy concerns resulting from mobile devices, such concerns ranging from unintentional rudeness to critical security and privacy matters.
The patent abstract states:
The present invention includes methods and technologies for defining and administering device manners policy ("DMP"), propagating DMP, reception and recognition of, and compliance with DMP. Such policy may be used to communicate to various mobile and other devices the "manners" with which compliance is expected or required. Similar to some of the social manners honored among people, such as with "no smoking" or "employees only" zones, "no swimming" or "no flash photography" areas, and scenarios for "please wash your hands" or "no talking out loud", devices may recognize and comply with analogous "device manners" policy.
DMP-equipped devices could be triggered by an appropriate broadcast device. For example, when you go to the movies, the theather might use DMP to automatically shift all cell phones into vibrate mode while they are inside the theater.
It's not clear when the technology might be available to mobile devices, but it does show how technology can be used to help us all get along.