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Approved: Apple Patent to Allow Disabling iPhone Cams via Infrared Emitters - Censorship Fears Ensue

U.S. Patent 9,380,225 B2 / Sheet 5
28 Jun 2016
The patent for a technology to disable iPhone cameras—filed by Apple in 2009—won approval from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on Tuesday. While logical to counter bootlegging, idea has raised censorship concerns amongst groups such as freedom of expression advocates.

From the patent / US 9,380,225 - 28 Jun 2016: “[A]n infrared emitter can be located near an object and generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes information about that object. An electronic device can then receive the infrared signals, decode the data and display the information about the object to the user. In some embodiments, a device can, based on received infrared data, disable a function of the device. For example, an infrared emitter can be located in areas where picture or video capture is prohibited, and the emitter can generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes commands to disable the recording functions of devices. An electronic device can then receive the infrared signals, decode the data and temporarily disable the device’s recording function based on the command.”

“Apple gets patent for remotely disabling iPhone cameras, raising censorship fears,” Danny Yadron reporting in the Guardian: “If Apple creates a way for third parties to control when certain iPhone features work, how will Apple control who has access to that technology? It’s not hard to imagine a government such as Turkey or Russia using it to blackout social media coverage of a protest. Or better yet, when US speaker of the House Paul Ryan turns off all of the television camera’s in the House chamber?”

By CircleID Reporter

CircleID’s internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us.

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