PetaPixel

Apple Moves One Step Closer Toward Location-Based Camera Disabling

In June of last year, we reported on an unsettling patent filed by Apple that would allow certain infrared signals to remotely disable the camera on iPhones. It showed the potential downsides of bringing cameras into the world of wireless connectivity, which appears to be the next big thing in the camera industry. Now, a newly published patent is rekindling the fears of those who don’t want “Big Brother” controlling their devices.

U.S. Patent No. 8,254,902, published on Tuesday, is titled, “Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device.”

Here’s the short description:

Apparatus and methods for changing one or more functional or operational aspects of a wireless device, such as upon the occurrence of a certain event. In one embodiment, the event comprises detecting that the wireless device is within range of one or more other devices. In another variant, the event comprises the wireless device associating with a certain access point. In this manner, various aspects of device functionality may be enabled or restricted (device “policies”). This policy enforcement capability is useful for a variety of reasons, including for example to disable noise and/or light emanating from wireless devices (such as at a movie theater), for preventing wireless devices from communicating with other wireless devices (such as in academic settings), and for forcing certain electronic devices to enter “sleep mode” when entering a sensitive area.

If this type of technology became widely adopted and baked into cameras, photography could be prevented by simply setting a “geofence” around a particular location, whether it’s a movie theater, celebrity hangout spot, protest site, or the top secret rooms at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California.

Companies often file patents for all kinds of random technologies that never end up seeing the light of day, so you shouldn’t be too concerned about this latest document. It’s just a warning of what the future could potentially hold.

(via AppleInsider)


Image credit: iPhone concert by bareform


 
 
  • rhthr

    no good for live streaming at a protest.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Roberts/100001167141740 Bob Roberts

    No it’s not limited to LOS, as reflections (from building in public, etc.) are still received by the camera lens.

    Add-on IR filters (just like the multitude of add-on lenses already available) is the solution here.

  • Holyfrey

    I like to apply for a patent like this: Patent on a walking style, everyone that walks like me will be suued, and if they whant to walk normaly they most pay me a fee every year, like 1 dollar pr person. Apple sucks and they are driving People away, alot of People world wide have now thinked that apple have goone to far in its monopoly game that more and more People are now hating apple me included. So Apple you suck, do something Nice for ones, and make bether Product insted of ust do a litle Upgrade of the one you alredy have. Its a marked compertision do like all other make New Things and even bether then you get People to buye it, not by suueing all. Apple is scared and the only defence they have is to sue, childish like hell. Tomp up for Samsunbg that realy make something People whants and Samsungs Product you have the freedom to use Your Product the way you whant it, not like dictator like Apple whants you to use it.

  • mr.smartguy1127

    its the beast 666

  • durandal

    Its already implemented of course, sillies.

  • http://profiles.google.com/texstar Bill Reynolds

    Don’t buy their phone…problem solved!

  • A.Nony

    Ummm…those advocating a return to their film cameras in order to beat big brother…exactly how is an Apple cell phone technology going to shut down the millions of Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras out there?

    And for the smart-asses who think the technology could simply be skirted by flipping into Airplane Mode….would Apple be stupid enough to leave a user-switchable Airplane Mode within the new technology? Wouldn’t the airlines simply sign up for an account with Apple to switch your phone for you when you get into a certain restricted zone?

    Remember people…owning a cell phone camera (unlike a gun, you crazy Americans) is not a right, its a privilege.
    If a manufacturer designs a model that restricts use of any of its features in certain circumstances and that bothers you then simply don’t buy it. Don’t get all anarchy on us.

  • Olly J

    Ummm…those advocating a return to their film cameras in order to beat
    big brother…exactly how is an Apple cell phone technology going to
    shut down the millions of Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras out there?

    And
    for the smart-asses who think the technology could simply be skirted by
    flipping into Airplane Mode….would Apple be stupid enough to leave a
    user-switchable Airplane Mode within the new technology? Wouldn’t the
    airlines simply sign up for an account with Apple to switch your phone
    for you when you get into a certain restricted zone?

    Remember people…owning a cell phone camera (unlike a gun, you Americans) is not a right, its a privilege.
    If
    a manufacturer designs a model that restricts use of any of its
    features in certain circumstances and that bothers you then simply don’t
    buy it. Don’t get all anarchy on us.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    until android adopt the same technology

  • Tyler

    Couldn’t Apple be patenting this to prevent this technology from ever being implemented?

  • JustinWhatchamacallit

    Camera phones have become a problem for the corrupted system.

  • dthree

    Thats what root is for.

  • Steve

    You are absolutely correct – you are completely missing the point here.