01 July 2016
"Imagine: You pull out your phone to record police misconduct—suddenly, your camera just doesn’t work. Turns out, your phone’s camera has been disabled by an infrared emitter. Apple’s newly patented technology may make this possible. The technology places an infrared sensor in your phone that has the potential to be disabled remotely. While the technology is being promoted as a tool to prevent the filming of copyrighted material, we think it has the potential to undermine efforts to hold law enforcement accountable."
See: Will Apple's New Patent Push Delete on Ability to Record Police? (ACLU, link)
Other press coverage has mentioned the issue, to greater and less degrees: Apple patents technology for deactivating iPhone cameras at live concerts (The Telegraph, link): "If Apple’s technology is introduced, however, it could lead to fears that it would be used by oppressive regimes and law enforcement to prevent citizens documenting oppression."
And: Apple gets patent for remotely disabling iPhone cameras, raising censorship fears (The Guardian, link): "House Democrats were able to garner wall-to-wall media coverage of their sit-in by broadcasting live from a congressman’s smartphone on 23 June. Yet that may not be possible in the future if a new patent recently granted to Apple is an indication of technology restrictions to come."
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