by Swati Khandelwal …..
Here’s something you’ll not like at all: Apple has been awarded a patent for technology that would prevent you from snapping pictures and shooting videos with your iPhone or iPad in a public location such as public gatherings, police stops, concerts or museums, restaurants or any other place where it might be prohibited or inappropriate by someone. The patent, granted on Tuesday by the United States Patents and Trademark Office, is highly technical.
Apple’s latest patent describes an iPhone or iPad camera receiving coded infrared signals beamed from emitters in public places would temporarily disable device camera functionality, preventing any photography or recording for as long as the signal is on.
“An infrared emitter can be located in areas where picture or video capture might be discouraged,” reads the patent. “An electronic device can then receive the infrared signals, decode the data and temporarily disable the device’s recording function based on the command.”
The technology patented by Apple could also be used to beam information through your camera lens to a remote monitoring location connected to it’s GPS tracking mechanism.
Titled ‘System and methods for receiving infrared data with camera designed to detect images based on visible light‘, the patent was first filed in September 2014. Indeed, it is pretty common to be asked or requested to turn off all electronic devices while attending any concert or show. But, majority of audience ignore the request and snap photographs and record video throughout the show. Many musicians and comedians get upset about such practices. Also, it would be helpful for customs officials to block anyone taking photos at a port of entry or a border.
However, this patent is causing controversy because it has the potential to exponentially increase citizen monitoring by governments, businesses, or some unknown individuals or organizations.
But what if people with more nefarious intentions used this technology?
The technology can be used by police to limit smartphone filming of acts of brutality or protests, or it could even help a government shut off filming in certain locations. Moreover, it’s not even hard to imagine a government like North Korea or China using the technology to blackout social media coverage of the protests.
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