Can Apple block my iPhone camera?

IDG.TV | Jul 6, 2016

Apple might be developing technology to remotely block your iPhone camera at concerts. But could this technology be used for evil purposes?

Every year the iPhone continues to help us do the things we love. But for the very first time, Apple could be developing the technology that would prevent the iPhone from recording your favorite song during that Adele concert.

There are many things I don’t understand, like my AT&T bill and why the delivery guy always forgets to bring me a straw. But by far, I’m most confused by people who go to music concerts and spend the entire time recording them on their iPhone.

This totally defeats the purpose of seeing your favorite artist live. It’s like taking a picture of the Mona Lisa when you can just buy a postcard. I just don’t get it: why would you want to piss off Adele like that?

Apparently, Apple doesn’t get it, either. This week, the company was granted a patent to remotely prevent iPhones from taking pictures and video at certain locations. Basically your iPhone would be able to detect an infrared signal that would temporarily disable the camera. This infrared signal could be emitted from a concert stage, a movie screening or any other location where taking pictures and video is extremely prohibited. Ooh like a museum.

But there’s one little problem: There’s nothing in this patent that prevents this infrared signal from being emitted during a political protest or a street riot. Or just imagine if police uniforms were to emit this signal. There would be no way to document police violence. The iPhone was instrumental in the rise of citizen journalism, but this patent actually reverts the power dynamic and could be used as a tool for censorship.

It should give us pause for concern, but let’s not get all V for Vendetta just yet.

There’s a big chance that Apple wanted this patent so that no one else could develop the technology. Also, Apple first applied for this patent back in 2011. If that doesn’t seem like a long time ago, think about it -- we were all still carrying around an iPhone 4. Since then, infrared has actually been replaced by the more reliable iBeacons. Today, infrared technology is actually kind of dated, which might explain why inept governments would want to use it.

Now I’m not one to get all political here -- I would say I’m more of a general freedom fighter. So I would much rather have to deal with a lifetime of annoying iPhone videographers than live in an oppressive regime. Or live in a world where no one gets to record that moment when Beyonce’s hair got stuck in a fan – and she kept singing.
Wow now that’s a professional. I guess we would just have to rely on Android users to continue being the annoying ones.