Apple's newest patent has huge implications for both concert goers and privacy advocates. An article from Patently Apple, which reports on Apple's patent filings, points out that the company recently patented technology allowing the temporary disabling of iPhone cameras within certain areas. It's purported as a way to stop people from taking bootleg video or photos at places where it might be prohibited, like a concert or museum.
The technology works using infrared signals. The idea is that a concert venue or museum would activate a transmitter, which would communicate with an iPhone that was pointed at it and disable its camera, stopping the phone from taking a picture or video at that moment. It could also be used to insert a watermark onto the image, blur it out, or otherwise alter it before its even been taken.
Realistically, there is no current evidence that Apple actually plans to use this technology. The company files hundreds of patents each year, and very few of them actually end up in commercial use. Nonetheless, the move is an interesting one, especially in light of Apple's recent stand for privacy rights. It would seem that a signal to block photo or video taking across the board wouldn't quite gel with the company's rhetoric about the need to protect people's smartphones from outside influence. Then again, it would be pretty great to go to a concert without having to deal with a thousand phone screens in your line of site.
As many have mentioned, other uses of this technology—such as the police being able to turn off people's phones while they're recording them—is very concerning. Tech Mic went into a dive around the dangers of this patent and the issues it could bring up.
You can read more about Apple's patent filing here.