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Apple Patents Tech to Stop iPhones Filming in Venues 391

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the no-cameras-please dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A patent application filed by Apple, and obtained by the Times, reveals how the software would work. If a person were to hold up their iPhone, the device would trigger the attention of infra-red sensors installed at the venue. These sensors would then instruct the iPhone to disable its camera."
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Apple Patents Tech to Stop iPhones Filming in Venues

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  • by rebelwarlock (1319465) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:10AM (#36464134)
    There's absolutely no way anyone would ever abuse such technology. Nope. Unpossible.
  • by itchythebear (2198688) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:13AM (#36464182)

    Don't buy an iphone if this bothers you.

    I like a lot of apple products, but in this case I think i'll pass on the new iphone.

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:19AM (#36464284)

    Actually, when will crooks start wearing the camera-stopper device? I'm sure people robbing a 7-11 wouldn't want to be spied on by random passerbys.

    When technologies like this get out there, it won't just be the PD that uses them, the crooks will be using them to, so there is no footage at a murder scene.

  • Bad idea ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:23AM (#36464334) Homepage

    Yes, this story is obviously a dupe.

    But I think as soon as we start making such devices so they are geared to have copyright (and whim) enforced upon you, it's a bad thing.

    Sooner or later, governments or police will be sure that you can't film them doing things they don't want by blanketing the place in IR that says "no recording". And, really, this will be abused both domestically, and abroad. Having the ability to shut off recording devices remotely is a horrible idea.

    This is caving in way too much, and continues the trend that sooner or later we won't be able to have general purpose computers because rights-holders figure they're all going to be used to steal their stuff.

  • by FudRucker (866063) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:27AM (#36464412)
    they are so damn sycophantic its pathetic, i dont want some over-priced crappy phone obeying big brother
  • by crakbone (860662) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:30AM (#36464454)
    Mainly in Florida, Boston and Compton, California
  • by creat3d (1489345) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:34AM (#36464530) Homepage
    I hope you're not thinking of law enforcement using such IR transmitters to prevent unwanted filming of unwarranted actions, because that's just crazy talk! You're crazy! Stop it!
  • A Good Patent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KPU (118762) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:39AM (#36464590) Homepage

    This is dumb. Patenting it will prevent others from being dumb in a similar way.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:40AM (#36464594) Homepage

    This could blow up into "next they'll shutdown cameras during a Rodney King beating", and iPhone becomes the Brave New World gateway device.

    And, given that I'm one of the people saying that ... I personally fail to see how this technology wouldn't be abused.

    Apparently, you can't publish pictures of the friggin' Eiffel tower, because some company owns the copyright on the lighting. Concert promoters will be all over this. Fireworks. Buildings. Public art. Free Speech Zones. Governments who have no qualms abusing their people (ok, that's all of them).

    As someone who tends to carry a camera around an awful lot, the idea that someone else can disable that is a little worrying ... if I'm in public, and if I can see it, I'm entitled to take a picture of it. I don't give a damn that some idiot asserts he owns the copyright to a building ... I'm not copying the building, I'm taking a picture of my experiences.

    Sure, Apple can use this to negotiate better deals on iTunes. But, speaking as someone who actually owns some Apple products ... if they think I'm going to accept a limitation on when I can use my camera, they're horribly wrong.

    This just puts too much power in the hands of people who I don't place any trust in.

  • Back on topic... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:42AM (#36464624) Homepage Journal
    Ok, and exactly WHY as a iPhone customer, would I want such 'feature' on my phone?? Rather limiting I'd say.

    I don't want my electronic gadgets to be told what to do by other sources....I want it up to ME what I film and don't film,etc.

    So, when the cops are beating someone, will they be deploying or wearing these nifty IR devices to prevent us, the general public from filming them?!?!?

    I mean, aside from the lameness of this, fixing a problem that isn't there....what about the abuses of this?

  • by zigziggityzoo (915650) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:47AM (#36464708)
    How long till cops put these on their cars, or make some belt-attached version to stop citizen recordings?
  • by TavisJohn (961472) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:49AM (#36464736) Homepage

    And I want Apple to defend it with all the power it has... So that only Apple devices are blocked and all other devices are unaffected.

  • by flaming error (1041742) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:52AM (#36464802) Journal

    > The solution would be to make it illegal for the police to do that

    1) Whoever wrote that law would commit political suicide.
    2) Enforcing a law against the enforcers of the law can be difficult.
    3) At a time when SCOTUS shreds the Constitution into hamster bedding by repealing Miranda rights, allowing police to enter without a warrant and without knocking, allowing the feds wholesale warrantless surveillance of the entire citizenry, of what use is any law?

  • by Scarletdown (886459) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:56AM (#36464902) Journal

    Ok, and exactly WHY as a iPhone customer, would I want such 'feature' on my phone?? Rather limiting I'd say.

    I don't want my electronic gadgets to be told what to do by other sources....I want it up to ME what I film and don't film,etc.

    If you were a typical iPhone/Apple customer, would you even be considering questioning anything they implement in their products?

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:59AM (#36464946)

    Ah good call. I should've checked the source first, too. Fox never gets anything right.

    Fox gets far more right than you'd ever like to admit. Anytime you say "always" or "never" you're automatically wrong. Fox News is worth watching for the stories that they uncover that the rest of the media tries as hard as possible to Ignore. If you want to remain in your blissful ignorance you can ignore FN, since it is only for those who want to be as informed as possible. Without FN you might not have heard about this story at all.

  • Re:Deja Vue (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Raenex (947668) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @12:09PM (#36465138)

    For that matter, do we really need another round of people who don't like company X attacking company X for filing a patent on something they object to, pretending not to understand that tech companies never implement 90% of what they patent?

    Why are you apologizing for objectionable behavior? If I drew up 10 objectionable plans, and only implemented 1 of them, does that excuse the other 9 somehow? Here's an idea: Don't draw up the objectionable plan in the first place. If you do, expect some grief over it.

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @12:12PM (#36465192)
    You would be when you find out you cant take a picture of your friends at a venue. You would post a question to apple.com forums, and it would be deleted. You would then post another question, thinking you made a mistake posting the first one, and your forum account would be banned. Then you'd google the problem and find this and other articles.
  • by timster (32400) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @12:51PM (#36465780)

    No reason, except that the fact that you bought an iPhone, is itself a statement that you desire electronics which serve other parties' interests in preference to your own.

    This is such a misguided statement that I don't even know where to start. You really aren't thinking that through.

    I think the problem here is that Slashdotters are always comparing Apple's successful mass-market products and services to some Stallman-esque ideal service that doesn't exist -- or, worse, falling for some transparent marketing (like thinking the PS3 was a great console because it "ran Linux").

    In the case of the iPhone, it's worth remembering the cell phone market that existed before iPhone 1.0. Those devices were entirely beholden to the interests of your cell phone provider. If they had an app store (and many did) it would be controlled by your provider. If they could play music, your provider would determine where you could get that music from. Your phone would be loaded up with crapware out of the box, again controlled by your provider.

    For typical users the iPhone is way more open than the previous situation. iTunes allows music from virtually any source and any music you buy there will work on any modern device. Although there are restrictions on the app store, it is far more open than the previous carrier-curated equivalents. Music services like Pandora/etc, video services like Netflix, etc are available without having to pay any any additional monthly fee to your provider. I think it's absurd to suggest that the only reason anyone would want access to the Apple app store is because they don't care about their own interests.

    So now you're comparing to Android, and I guess you think you have your utopia platform, but I'm here to disagree. If you're rational about the parties involved in Android, you have to see the way the product is designed to serve their interests over yours:

    1. The carriers. With Android carriers gain more control over the software delivered on their phones than is available with iOS. Some carriers abuse this, others do not; the point is that they have additional power over the user and they are going to use it if it serves their needs. This is why it's not surprising that the carriers have stocked so many Android phones in their stores and pushed them to their customers. When people say that Android is "open", what they mostly mean is that the carriers have control.
    2. Google. Android on the Google side is conceived as a powerful platform to sell the users to advertisers. While Apple runs an advertising platform, iAd, that is optionally available to app developers, no ads from iAd appear on the device unless a user installs an app that uses it. In contrast, Android phones are deeply integrated with Google's very profitable ad-supported services -- GMail, Google search, Google Maps, etc. For Google, the user is not the customer; the advertisers are. So whose interests are being served here?

    We can argue all day about whether it matters who the customer is, but I think it does. I prefer to pay for things myself rather than be sold to someone else, partly because I don't trust myself to be immune to the influence of pervasive advertising. If I wanted to run something on the iPhone that wasn't allowed on the app store I'd just jailbreak it, like Android people do when their carriers lock the phone down. So far I haven't encountered such a need.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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