Apple Gains Patent that Could Help Governments Disable Phone Cameras
Apple has patented a new technology that would allow governments to disable iPhones and other smartphones whenever they like, including during protests and police riots.
Known as U.S. Patent No. 8,254,902, the “Apparatus and methods for changing one or more functional or operational aspects of a wireless device, such as upon the occurrence of a certain event.”
Although Apple presents several friendly uses for the technology, such as preventing students from using their smartphones to cheat on exams or stopping people from taking photos inside a movie theater, or preventing cell phones from ringing during funerals, there are some more ominous uses, particularly when put in the hands of authoritarian governments.
Among the uses Apple promotes for the new technology are “forcing certain electronic devices to enter ‘sleep mode’ when entering a sensitive area” and when “Covert police or government operations may require complete ‘blackout’ conditions.” This means that police and other government representatives could stop journalists and citizens from photographing or filming examples of brutality or other illegal activity.
To Learn More:
Apple Patent Could Remotely Disable Protesters' Phone Cameras (by Zack Whittaker, ZDNet)
Apparatus and Methods for Enforcement of Policies Upon a Wireless Device (U.S. Patent and Trade Office)
Should Citizens Go to Prison for Filming Police Misconduct? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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