Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Handhelds Iphone Patents Privacy Apple Your Rights Online

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple Patents Tech to Stop iPhones Filming in Venues

Comments Filter:
  • Deja Vue (Score:5, Informative)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @12:10PM (#36464126) Homepage
    Haven't we been here before [slashdot.org]?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by znu (31198)

      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? Seriously, remember those articles about Apple patenting OS-level advertising that locked people out of their computers until they watched it? Seen any Macs or iOS devices doing that lately?

      • Re:Deja Vue (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Raenex (947668) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @01:09PM (#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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)
      Except that last one was general to all cameras, this one is specific to iphones.

      Maybe the application for patenting it on all cameras maybe got turned down. It seems like trying to patent anything but the sun gets approved, but maybe some government official realized that if Apple has the exclusive rights to this valuable censorship technology, that could prevent it from being rolled out. Maybe Steve Jobs would say "Okay, you've made it mandatory that all cameras have this in them, so now I have a mon
    • by JAlexoi (1085785)
      Owning an Apple device, never disappoints! They even think for you and disable things "you don't need"...
  • by rebelwarlock (1319465) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @12:10PM (#36464134)
    There's absolutely no way anyone would ever abuse such technology. Nope. Unpossible.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by creat3d (1489345)
      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!
      • Lulzsec/Anon etc. are going to be using this at concerts,tourist places etc. etc. wherever people would want to take pics.

        • by magarity (164372)

          Lulzsec/Anon etc. are going to be using this at concerts,tourist places etc. etc. wherever people would want to take pics.

          Nevermind that - what about mounting one on every police cruiser?

  • use an infrared filter to block messages from these "sensors"

    • A) Infrared is line of sight, so if it's a separate sensor, you stick a piece of metallic duct tape over it, and problem is solved.
      B) Companies will begin selling small dots of IR filtering tape that you can stick on the lens of the camera. Price is $5 for a sheet. Problem is solved.

      It seems that no matter the implementation of this, the workaround is trivial.
  • by itchythebear (2198688) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @12:13PM (#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.

    • Ok, I won't buy one.

      But 5 million others will, and if something of public interest is going on, say police brutality, and they try to record it with their camera phone, but it's been disabled, say, by police IR equipment, that kind of affects us all, doesn't it?

      • by Haedrian (1676506)

        Don't worry, as the title says:

        "A patent application"

        So nobody can copy them for around 17-20 years or how long the patent is. So we're safe for now.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        The nice thing with this patent is it requires an IR transmitter. What about using visible light? Or RF? Or a coded audio signal? Or ... ?

        Imagine everyone having this technology, but implementing them in patent-avoiding incompatible ways. Then any way to disable the camera would require a whole rack of equipment to be carried around.

        Nevermind all the legacy equipment that'll be incompatible with it (when this comes out, the iPhone 4 will be out of support - it won't get this stuff), etc.

        Of course, it could

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by amicusNYCL (1538833)

        But 5 million others will, and if something of public interest is going on, say police brutality, and they try to record it with their camera phone, but it's been disabled, say, by police IR equipment, that kind of affects us all, doesn't it?

        Don't worry about it, it's not like we live in an iPhone-only society. The recent police shooting in Florida that made the news after it was filmed and the photographer was arrested was filmed using an HTC Evo, not an iPhone. There are enough people with non-Apple smartphones that make it so that anything that Apple does does not have the wide-ranging impact that everyone fears. Apple is just limiting its own customers, not everyone else. For now, anyway.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)

          The recent police shooting in Florida that made the news after it was filmed and the photographer was arrested was filmed using an HTC Evo, not an iPhone.

          I'd not heard of this event.

          Why was the photographer arrested?

      • by Combatso (1793216)
        we could still protect ourselves the way we used to... before there we're iPhones... I don't recall Police Brutality stopping when the first iPhone dropped...
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      My extremely stupid Motorola phone will record everything Steve Jobs is afraid of.

      Bwah ha ha haaaah!

  • with electrical tape. or IR filtering plastic, or sitting out of sight of the IR transmitters....

  • Camera-disabling sensors and signaling for everyone! Apple might win a court case on distributing the devices but a PDF of the plans and some software isn't really injunction-able.

    I don't see any reason not to put one of these on my house, car, bike and sweater either. It's the ultimate in privacy!

  • Why detect the iPhone? Wouldn't it make more sense to constantly emit the infra-red signal so that it affects all iPhones?

    • Wouldn't it make more sense to constantly emit the infra-red signal so that it affects all iPhones?

      Wouldn't it make even more sense to just use a high power broad-spectrum IR emitter element in the projector and ruin the picture for practically all video recording equipment that doesn't run well into the thousands of dollars to block the IR completely?

      Or maybe it makes even more sense to just ignore the people who are recording a movie off a theater screen even if they use an Arri cam to do so, as the quali

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @12:16PM (#36464242) Homepage

    The police will love it once this is mandated by law in all phones!

    Back in the day when we all whined that Microsoft was evil, we had *NO IDEA* what evil really was.

    • by KDN (3283)

      Hm, I sense an aftermarket for infrared filters. I also wonder how long before hackers start leaving infrared transmitters all over the place to annoy anyone with an iphone.

  • by arielCo (995647)

    Apple Camera Patent Lets External Transmitters Disable Features [slashdot.org]
    Posted by Soulskill on Friday June 03, @10:31AM

    Maaan ...

  • On its face, it is easy to imagine how this could infringe upon fair use rights among others. For example, if there was some person doing something annoying or funny or illegal or whatever and it happens to be in a theater, you should be able to record it for your purposes, needs or requirements. The fact that it is in a movie theater should not trump all other uses and needs.

  • Those darn infrared sensors ruin my day when I'm at a concert and need to transfer data with my IrDA port on my PowerBook 5300. I've been thinking about upgrading to 802.11a, but I've never really thought of myself as an early adopter and I'm really upset that Apple pulls these stunts to make us upgrade all the time.

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

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @12:23PM (#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.

  • This technology is a Hammer of Freedom thrown at the screen to prevent your phone from being indoctrinated by Big Content. Apple is always looking out for your interests, which the haters just don't understand.

  • Gates understood, according to his testimony in the Clinton Justice Dept case, that it only takes one mistake to wipe a company out. This comes right on the heels of the location scare. This could blow up into "next they'll shutdown cameras during a Rodney King beating", and iPhone becomes the Brave New World gateway device.

    AAPL must come out quickly and deal with this, otherwise this news could send customers and devs right into Android's welcoming arms.

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @12:40PM (#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.

  • by FudRucker (866063) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @12:27PM (#36464412)
    they are so damn sycophantic its pathetic, i dont want some over-priced crappy phone obeying big brother
  • Mainly in Florida, Boston and Compton, California
  • "The hipsters outside looked from Windows to Mac and from Mac to Windows, but already it was impossible to say which was which."

  • Since Apple patented it, this means it doesn't (and theoretically can't) apply to anything but iPhones. So everyone else who has an Android, or Windows, or BB, or any other dumb camera phone is not only free, but PROHIBITED from having this "feature" unless the manufacturers license it from Apple.

    Way to go, Apple, you just gave everyone one more reason NOT to buy an iPhone. I'm sure the theater owners will love installing a (probably) expensive IR gadget to catch the small percentage of camera phone owner

    • So everyone else who has an Android, or Windows, or BB, or any other dumb camera phone is not only free, but PROHIBITED from having this "feature" unless the manufacturers license it from Apple.

      It sounds good, until Apple bribes the government to make it a requirement for phone cameras. Then everyone else is required to license it from Apple, and Apple gets more money to think up new ways to limit their customers and then apply it to everyone else.

  • A Good Patent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KPU (118762) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @12:39PM (#36464590) Homepage

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

  • Fuck Apple (Score:3, Informative)

    by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @12:42PM (#36464616)

    Buying (or even finding and using) an iPhone is saying that Apple is right to do stupid shit like this. Please, please PLEASE be smart, and vote with your wallet.

    The iPhone means no freedom to use your purchases as you want, and no avenue for recourse because "whatever they say, goes". Buy something else.

  • by zigziggityzoo (915650) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @12:47PM (#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 @12:49PM (#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 scrib (1277042)

      Abso-friggin-lutely!

      As long as you don't buy from a company that pays Apple a license fee to make sure their hardware quits working, you should be good!

    • 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.

      As if. Apple will get this, then they'll license it for an enormous sum to all the other cellphone companies when the Apple and police lobbies manage to get mandatory implementation of this enshrined in law.

  • Just another reason to (not) buy Apple in lieu of any other competing (cheaper, more flexible, less restricted) product in the marketplace. Can't wait to hear how the Apple Fanbois spin this one into making Apple products BETTER than anyone else's.

    Before you know it you won't be Buying your next iPhone at all. You'll be Licensing it to use only under an ever increasingly long list of Terms & Conditions.

    [/sarcasm]
  • Arent these cameras pretty sensitive to IR light anyway? Wouldnt it just be easier to blast a bright IR flash every few seconds that would just wash out the image, making any recording impractical?

  • by itamblyn (867415) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @12:58PM (#36464922) Homepage
    I remember thinking it would be useful to use the SSID of wireless access points to issue commands to cameras to disable things like the flash (useful in an art gallery for instance). It turns out there are already a whole bunch of patents which have been issued in the last 10 years which cover this idea.
  • ...will be to patent the concept of defeating the tech that stops Iphone from recording video. Licence it for $1,000,000 per day or portion thereof. If you're caught defeating the anti-filming tech, Apple could bankrupt you. Remember also that in a civil lawsuit, they can destroy you financially just by suing you, even if you're eventually found not guilty.

  • Be happy that Apple patents this. That might mean that it will be limited exclusively to Apple products and that they'll sue any competing product out of the marketplace. I mean, who REALLY wants this in their next camera equipped product?
  • You go patent that tech and be sure to make licensing fees extra expensive so as Google and Microsoft continue to eat into your market share your "technology" grows incresingly irrelevent.

    It is the height of hubris when one believes they have a market position allowing them to seek to actively prevent their customers from doing what they want with their devices. If you want to increase the rate of exodus to droid by all means full steam ahead.

  • Could this technology be sold to the rich, famous, and powerful? The next time you want to take a legal snapshot on a city street of your favorite star, might your iPhone suddenly refuse because they have a do-not-photograph beacon on their shoulder? Awesome!
  • "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 theater employees to come take your phone, escort you out of the theater, and beat you till you pass out."

    There, fixed it for you.

    • "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 theater employees to disable your arms."

  • Police (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kamiza Ikioi (893310) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @01:25PM (#36465386) Homepage

    So, instead of police busting up iPhones when they shoot someone down in their car, they'll just flash your phone with some twisted Men in Black device?

    Yet ANOTHER reason I'll never go back to an iPhone.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

Working...