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Apple could block iPhone camera at cinemas, concerts

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Apple has been granted a patent for a way to stop iPhones from taking photos against a user’s will.

The US Patent & Trademark Office today awarded Apple a patent that could render iPhones unable to take photographs or record video footage. The idea is that if you’re at a sensitive location – a concert, cinema, or even a classified facility – then the iPhone would be blocked from recording.

The patent describes a technology whereby an infrared emitter is placed in areas where photography is prohibited. This emitter then generates infrared signals that have encoded data with camera-blocking commands. The iPhone then receives this signal, decodes the data, and thus blocks the camera.

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The patent reads:

A transmitter can be located in areas where capturing pictures and videos is prohibited (e.g., a concert or a classified facility) and the transmitters can generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes commands temporarily disabling recording functions.”

It continues:

“[The device] may be unable to display or store images if the device has received a command to disable recording. If a user selects a record function while that function is temporarily disabled, [the display] may provide a black screen with [a notification] to notify the user that recording has been disabled.”

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This might sound a little terrifying, but it’s not all bad. Apple also describes how the infrared signals could also provide information. If, for instance, you’re at a museum, being near a specific object could push information about that object – a rare vase, for instance – to your phone, as an educational aid.

Don’t forget that this is just a patent, which means Apple is in no way obliged to actually utilise the technology described. There’s every chance we may never see Apple roll out its camera-blocking tech, so don’t panic about a camera-blocking iPhone 7 just yet.

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What do you think of Apple’s camera-blocking technology? Let us know in the comments.

マイケル・タンザー

June 28, 2016, 11:48 pm

Will this affect Conventions too?

Chris

June 29, 2016, 3:11 pm

Sounds absolutely horrible, since it could be used to sensor anything. Such as cops could keep a sensor in their car so that no one would ever be able to catch them doing illegal actions again. Or say you are at a movie theater and someone begins shooting, you won't be able to capture the assalient to be used later in court because the film would be disabled.

Ivan Alcantara Peña

June 30, 2016, 3:59 am

Sounds to me like the system is hurting big, good, it's going down though exposure, this could backfire at Apple and they could lose all their customers, just because prohibition does not fix anything, it's a quick and inefficient fix for problems that can be resolved in a more intelligent matter, take drinking and driving, this should not be an issue if all the driving ecosystem could work so you cannot crash or drive drunk...

rmjohn

July 4, 2016, 12:45 pm

Precisely!

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