Apple has been granted a new patent for a technology that will block the phone’s camera feature. Apple had sought for a patent for this technology in 2011.The technology allows phone cameras to be disabled through infrared sensors. An infrared emitter can be located in areas where capturing of pictures and videos are prohibited. The technology for which the patent has been granted involves infrared single detection technique. An electronic device can receive the infrared signals, decode the data and temporarily disable the recording function.
There was a growing frustration amongst performers who had been complaining about their performances being recorded by the audience without their permission. These performances were then shared on various social media sites. Pop singer Adele told a female fan filming on her mobile at a concert in Italy to “enjoy it in real life rather than through your camera”.
This unique technology has its own advantages and drawbacks .The technology can be used to transmit information to a lot of people’s phones at the same time when they are in the same location. For example, in a museum the system could be used to automatically display information about the object you are viewing or photographing. It is extremely useful in places such as cinema halls or concerts where recording is prohibited thereby preventing any illegal upload on the video sharing websites. The technology will also allow the performers and copyright holders to prevent the recording of their performances and works .
Further, moving from the positive light, in an open and democratic society, this system could be used to muffle freedom of speech. It’s not hard to say that it could be misused by the government to blackout social media coverage of a protest. There have been instances where people have recorded videos and live streamed them to gather more support. It could debar protesters from recording visuals of police brutality or an illegal crackdown. Amidst its benefits and potential misuse, the system can only be used to disable phones that can detect infrared signal.