Apple Moving Forward On Location-Based Disabling Of iPhone Cameras

Using your mobile device to take pictures of or film police, or a protest, or corporate property (or Mitt Romney speaking in a private meeting to his campaign donors) may become a relic of the past. Apple has patented its “geofencing” technology — in which camera/video phone functions will be remotely disarmed in particular locations, PetaPixel reports:

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.

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.

[Apple’s] 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:

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.

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  • Delboy1978uk

    Airplane mode?

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.bracken.374 Lisa Bracken

    As if I needed another reason to buy an Android.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.bracken.374 Lisa Bracken

    As if I needed another reason to buy an Android.

    • kowalityjesus

      once google goes down this road, I am moving to polynesia to make impressionist paintings of native women.

      • Nunzio X

        But don’t paint the tits to look like pyramids; the ghost of Picasso doesn’t like that shit.

        • Jin The Ninja

          gaugin, but yes.

        • Jin The Ninja

          gaugin, but yes.

          • http://twitter.com/suebasko Sue Basko

            Gauguin ended out with syphilis.  Goa-goa- gone.

  • Big words in an office meeting

    as if a countless amount of other devices are not around. This just raises the awareness  that filming any misconduct by authorities is very effective. Also the spell check here sucks, fix it please. I need it to appear extra intelligent.

  • Oh no

    dumb  move by the elites as you can just place another device in an iphone housing and fool them into thinking its not recording anything. 

  • Oh no

    dumb  move by the elites as you can just place another device in an iphone housing and fool them into thinking its not recording anything. 

  • Feastofbeast

    srsly airplane mode it.

  • Feastofbeast

    srsly airplane mode it.

  • Calypso_1

    I’ve also wondered about location based camera activation.  Given the number of people that wear phones on their hip, generally slightly forward based, the field of view is not that bad.  If you were to have an event of interest at location ‘X’ and could activate cameras and mikes on all iphones detected within that area you would have an amazing intelligence gathering tool. 
    Intel grade pattern recognition and tracking software could easily process targets from a multitude of phone feeds integrating them into a comprehensive sight rep.

  • Bruteloop

    Just don’t buy the bloody things. You need a phone? Then get some cheap, shitty item. Or even just pull an old shell out of the drawer and stick a sim card in it. Unless that would be too embarrassing, of course. You can still speak to people on it and don’t need to charge it up every nanosecond. What have they ‘given’ to you on it (or similar) that you actually need? Apps? If you’re life depends on apps then your pretty well subsumed anyway. If not – throw the thing in the river.  

    • JaceD

      Couldn’t agree more.

  • Ted Heistman

    Iphones have never been DIY.  They are disgned to be completely sealed and operating as if by magic. Its always been a concretization of top down authority.

    its a weird piece of technology really. But they don’t really belong to you anyway.

    • http://twitter.com/papasandbeer papasandbeer

      on the contrary iphones have always been DIY. where do u think jailbreaking started?

      when geofencing goes active, assuming its a software feature, there will be a way to disable it via jailbreaking.

      • Jin The Ninja

        yes, but you can also brick your phone through jailbreaking. which i know is a small possibility, but represents the anti-thesis of user customisation. and what ted is saying is fundamentally correct,  a grey market of users jailbreaking their phones does not represent a DIY ethic involved in production/sales of the iphone.

        • http://twitter.com/papasandbeer papasandbeer

          the “brick” your phone thing is pretty much a myth. people make it sound like your phone will never work again if something goes wrong in the jailbreaking process.

          lol……. just restart the phone or at worst reconnect it to your computer. theres always a solution and this is all within the DIY spirit. 

          EDIT: you can brick your rooted android phone as well OMGGG!!!!!

          • Jin The Ninja

            the ‘brick’ your phone thing is actually not a myth, it happens all the time. and yes, you can get it unbricked for 17$ in chinatown, but the point is that apple maintains control over the device with such countremeasures. A true DIY spirit, in the vein of punk and anarchism is not linked to any brand or particular piece of technology. I am not defending android phones here- so your point is simply a diversion.

  • Haystack

    Or to state it more accurately, “Apple to Sell Defective Phones.” 

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    tracking your every move with the iPhone now pays off for Big Homelander

    Facecrime:
    “It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or
    within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away.
    A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself
    –anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide.
    In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face…;
    was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime…”
    – George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 5

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    tracking your every move with the iPhone now pays off for Big Homelander

    Facecrime:
    “It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or
    within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away.
    A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself
    –anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide.
    In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face…;
    was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime…”
    – George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 5

  • David Hathaway-Bates

    These technological abilities are not to be entirely disabled as events of emergency will turn out much worse as a result; the best path we can take, that we are already taking, is to have future consequences for those that use the abilities unresponsively or destructively, as in a movie theatre during a showing, because completely losing the opportunity to capture criminal actions in these places, or rather encouraging the concentration of criminal actions to such deactivated camera places, is a far worse outcome than someone capturing a few moments of video footage or taking a picture outside of politeness.

  • David Hathaway-Bates

    These technological abilities are not to be entirely disabled as events of emergency will turn out much worse as a result; the best path we can take, that we are already taking, is to have future consequences for those that use the abilities unresponsively or destructively, as in a movie theatre during a showing, because completely losing the opportunity to capture criminal actions in these places, or rather encouraging the concentration of criminal actions to such deactivated camera places, is a far worse outcome than someone capturing a few moments of video footage or taking a picture outside of politeness.

  • http://twitter.com/suebasko Sue Basko

    Hi,  I write a blog about surveillance stuff and I am about to write a post on a different, but similar patent, that would do this to any phone, app or no app.  Keep watching, I should have the post up by Sunday:  http://subliminalridge.blogspot.com  We NEED to keep watching!

  • http://twitter.com/suebasko Sue Basko

    Hi,  I write a blog about surveillance stuff and I am about to write a post on a different, but similar patent, that would do this to any phone, app or no app.  Keep watching, I should have the post up by Sunday:  http://subliminalridge.blogspot.com  We NEED to keep watching!

  • Drrp

    dbl srsly airplane mode.  yeeesh.

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