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Making the police state easier

By Apple, who thinks it’s a good idea to patent allowing their cameras to be disabled by transmitters.

15 Responses to “Making the police state easier”

  1. Barron Barnett Says:

    While this certainly can be used for bad, and probably was the primary intent since I trust Apple less than anyone. Any company that does so much to try and hide the inner workings and tie me to their BS makes me nervous.

    I do see an upside to it for people who work in areas where ITAR, and other sensitive information may be around. Where I work if you have a camera phone it has to be checked in at the front desk. Being able to have a blanket over the facility to disable the cameras would be nice. Currently my phone shopping is limited since 99% of smart phones have a camera. I’ve seriously thought about just hacking the lens and filling epoxy over it just so I can get a nicer phone. Only problem is I’m sure I void the warranty and I trust phone manufacturer quality about as much as I do Apple.

    Though ultimately it would be easily defeated by having a case to shield the phone while exposing the camera.

  2. Mr Evilwrench Says:

    Just a piece of electrical tape over the IR lens, no problem. The thing is, this would not have any significant effect unless every camera was mandated to have the feature, meaning old cameras would have to be banned, and all manufacturers would have to pay Apple royalties. Crony capitalist/fascist win, there. I have several old cameras and recorders, some of which are not readily noticeable.

  3. Maxpwr Says:

    That’s the final goal of so called “smart guns”. Insert a chip that can be remotely disabled so that you are effectively disarmed.

  4. Kristopher Says:

    Dumbassed move.

    People will just buy android phones that can’t be remotely controlled.

    Barron: if you don’t want something recorded, then only show it to someone you trust.

  5. Sigivald Says:

    Barron: Yeah. Apple is actively for bad because they don’t tell you about their inner workings?

    Name one god-damn company that does?

    On the main point, “a patent” means nothing – at least apart from being useful for protecting a really novel idea, or being used as ammunition in a patent brawl.

    From the actual SD article (which oddly won’t load for me, but shows up on the SD main page):

    “recently published by the USPTO, for an on-board camera system that would include circuitry for processing external infrared signals. The data received from these signals could then be used to present information to the user of the device, or even to modify the device’s operation. ”

    So, modifying operation is only one (and arguably the least useful and interesting) thing covered by the patent.

    And what that feature (if ever implemented) is actually for is stopping people recording movies in theaters, if one reads between the lines.

    This isn’t about “making it so that you can’t record cops being evul” – it’s about “making it so that people can’t screen-capture movies for pirating in Asia”.

  6. John Says:

    Consider, however, that Apple has several patents that they own, but that they have never acted on, nor do they appear to have any intent to act on. (laptop docks, anyone? Bueller?)

    It would not be unreasonable to suspect, therefore, that this could also be used as a legal means of preventing other companies from implementing similar technologies. This type of corporate maneuvering could be a good thing.

    I say, wait and see what they actually do with it. If they implement it, then simply don’t buy the product that contains it. That’s easy enough.

    Also, I doubt seriously that Apple would readily share the needed encryption with any organization so it could be used for nefarious purposes.

  7. junyo Says:

    “And what that feature (if ever implemented) is actually for is stopping people recording movies in theaters, if one reads between the lines.”

    And cyanoacrylate was actually intended to be cheap plexiglass, now it’s used as superglue. SWAT teams were actually for hostage rescue and counter terrorism operations. Now they’re used for shooting deadly gambling optometrists.

    The intended purpose of a thing is kind of meaningless once someone else is allowed to use it.

  8. Barron Barnett Says:

    S@igivald: Name one open thing apple produces. By open I mean free to use software on your own desired hardware, or using hardware with your own desired software without using their middle man. They use open standards to allow external development for use with their product.

    You can not install OS-X for example on any PC without substantial work, not because of just drivers but hardware authentication. Sure you can install windows on a Mac, but why not just save yourself the cost of overpriced hardware and get a PC? Want to use an iPod without iTunes, have fun with that. That problem has gotten better in recent years but they are all reverse engineered hacks. I can use my Xen-xFi with Winamp, WMP, or any of a number of free open source apps. In any operating system I choose

    I have free access to inspect the windows API through MSDN, same with Linux. Apple boxes me in to using extra software or hardware they create to use their product. To develop for the iPhone I have to sign an NDA for Apple, Windows Phone 7 no costs no disclaimers, just build. It’s a matter of freedom of choice and that Apple dose not have. Their hardware is royally overpriced to boot.

    @Kristopher: It’s a government requirement. Camera phones and USB keys are taking over the world of espionage. Many places who work on government contracts have bans on these types of items because of the requirements imposed by the agency they are dealing with. For example I could have something on my desk that is fine if someone incidentally sees it in passing but can not be staring at it or studying it. Taking pictures though with a phone can be done discreetly by someone doing maintenance in the building thus copying information beyond just an incidental passing. A good example of this would be ITAR or NOFORN information. While it needs to be locked up when away from your desk, it does not require the use of a secure skiff while working on it.

  9. Kristopher Says:

    Barron: Then you need better access control, rather than expecting everyone to allow a government backdoor into their equipment because of some government security concerns.

    Bureaucrats will always want to inflict crap on the public to make their tasks easier. It is the public’s duty to take such bureaucrats out and hang them from lamp-posts when they get uppity.

  10. armed_partisan Says:

    From a documentary made in the year 2132: “This lead to a return of the almost extinct medium of chemical photography, where photographs are captured by a chemical reaction on celluloid, a form which had been rendered almost completely obsolete when a company called Apple patented a technology that made digital camera photography unreliable in the eyes of many enthusiasts”.

  11. Barron Barnett Says:

    Kristopher: I never said I liked the idea of the back-door, I just said I could see it being used in that particular instance. Currently you can’t have a camera period, and even with that technology I doubt that stance would change.

    This isn’t a matter of access controls. People have to be able to do their jobs, for example facilities needs to be able to work on the HVAC in non-classified spaces. Even in classified spaces it just means everything gets cloaked. It’s about mitigating risk.

    I freaking hate the idea of this crap because I know exactly what they actually would use it for:
    -Preventing recording at TSA checkpoints
    -police cruisers would have mobile transmitters
    -so on and so forth
    I am saying like any tool there are both positive and negative uses. The negative uses are automatically what everyone focuses on everyone skips the positive. It’s just like guns, the anti-gunners focus on the negative while we focus on the positive. This is a tool and it’s the monkeys that are going to abuse it you should actually be angry at. Honestly I think it’s a tool looking for a purpose and the one it finds is going to be the negative one’s listed above, but there are uses that no one would ever notice or have a problem with because honestly they shouldn’t encounter it. That’s all I was pointing out by a possible use in SECURE facilities.

  12. Ben C Says:

    While I am not a big Apple fan, this patent does have one large benefit. It does not necessarily mean Apple will use this technology, but it does mean that others legally cannot.

  13. Roberta X Says:

    One word: TV-B-GONE! Now for iPhones, too.

  14. DirtCrashr Says:

    Apple will just sell it to Google for their phones, if they don’t have it secretly already.

  15. Kristopher Says:

    Thanx for clarifying that, Barron.

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