Apple could stop civilians recording police with new iPhone technology

“A new patent filed by Apple has left many worried that it will be used to censor civilians, with it allowing iPhone cameras to be remotely disabled using special infrared sensors,” Paul Tamburro reports for Crave. “With there being increased incentive to record the behavior of police officers in the wake of multiple shootings, some now fear that authorities will soon be able to get their hands on technology that will prevent civilians from utilizing their iPhone’s camera.”

“The patent, first filed in 2009, now grants Apple the ability to create technology that can disable iPhone users’ cameras,” Tamburro reports. “The example given in the patent features a “RECORDING DISABLED” message appearing on an iPhone screen at a concert, with two infrared sensors emitting waves that block the device’s camera. However, as pointed out by the American Civil Liberties Union, if placed in the hands of authorities this technology could effectively prevent civilians from recording police behavior.”

Tamburro reports, “[The ACLU writes], ‘If law enforcement gets a hold of this technology, it could be used to prevent individuals from recording traffic stops, arrests, and other interactions between law enforcement and the public. Depending on if and how Apple’s new patent becomes a technological reality, that’s a very real possibility.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The argument seems specious to us, not to mention opportunistic.

Apple granted patent that prohibits iPhones from taking photos at concerts, other sensitive locations – June 28, 2016


  1. I think it’s doubtful that a police office who is engaged in the type of behavior where a cell phone video would be of value would be able to take the time to turn around and point his infrared device at a nearby videographer.

    1. There may not be a need to actually “point” anything. It may be as simple as a strobing infrared LED mounted on police cars or mounted on the police officers themselves.

    2. On topic – If you can’t record an event taking place in public, then you will know your civil rights, Constitutional rights, have been violated. This won’t be Apple’s fault. I would suspect that Apple is operating or intends to operate in good faith to protect the copy rights of artist only. With that said police certainly will try to leverage this technology to their advantage but it won’t work. The political fallout would backfire.

      My theory is that it’s on the books only. Apple can show they are working in the interests of media rights holders, but the tech is too “hot” to implement.

      Too early to speculate, with any accuracy.

  2. Never underestimate the willingness of the authorities to use technology to maintain or increase their power.

    Move along now! Nothing to see here.

  3. Doesn’t infrared light already block cameras? Isn’t this more a way of the camera recognising that recording is prohibited and displaying a message accordingly?

  4. The flip side of this patent argument: If Apple owns this patent they can sell the tech to concert venues or NOT SELL to law enforcement. With Apple being first with a workable patent it prevents other companies from using the technology and selling to law enforcement. Such is the world of license agreements, which Congress would have to create a specific law abrogating Apple’s patent rights to thus allow use by law agencies. As congress is now, NOT going to happen.

    1. Right. Because having the patent first has kept people from copying anything in the tech market oh so well in the last few decades.

      /s – just in case someone missed it

  5. Obama has blood on his hands.

    You’ve now got the worst race relations since the 1960s because Obama blew his chance to say, magnanimously, on his first day in office: “Now we turn a new chapter. We put the animus aside. We stop blaming each other for the sins of our forefathers and truly unite as one nation.” And we would have.

    But, nooooo, he had to be petty. He had to play the race card repeatedly. He is always out for revenge for things none of us who are alive did or were responsible for.

    He had to stoke racial tensions whenever the opportunity presented itself. Obama is a pitiful failure. He couldn’t even do the one good thing he had in his power to do. He blew it because he’s a petty, egotistical, unequipped, small man.

    He’ll be lauded by simpletons for being “the first black president” for the rest of his life, but the cold eye of history will regard him for what he was: a failure who squandered his moment, made the world less safe, made the country weaker militarily and economically, inflamed racial tensions, vastly increased government dependence, failed to uphold laws on the books, failed to secure his country’s borders from criminal invaders, and signed a failed, costly “healthcare” law that was repealed immediately after he left office.

    You fools voted for exactly the wrong “first black president.”

      1. “With there being increased incentive to record the behavior of police officers in the wake of multiple shootings…”

        Now, how about trying to refute what I’ve written, genius?

        1. You’re right. Supporting the candidate who consistently engages in race baiting and has full-fledged support of every white supremacist group in the country is the answer. I’ll stay in Canada, thanks.

          1. Can’t refute what I’ve written. Noted. Stay right where you are. We have more than enough fools here, thanks.

            Last night’s horrific execution-style shootings of 12 Dallas law enforcement officers – five of whom were killed and seven wounded- is an attack on our country. It is a coordinated, premeditated assault on the men and women who keep us safe.

            We must restore law and order. We must restore the confidence of our people to be safe and secure in their homes and on the street.

            The senseless, tragic deaths of two motorists in Louisiana and Minnesota reminds us how much more needs to be done.

            This morning I offer my thoughts and prayers for all of the victims’ families, and we pray for our brave police officers and first responders who risk their lives to protect us every single day.

            Our nation has become too divided. Too many Americans feel like they’ve lost hope. Crime is harming too many citizens. Racial tensions have gotten worse, not better. This isn’t the American Dream we all want for our children.

            This is a time, perhaps more than ever, for strong leadership, love and compassion. We will pull through these tragedies. — Donald J. Trump


            1. I would refute what you said by this:

              The Republican Party has been dog whistling to racist groups for decades, and these race relations have always been this bad. It’s just now, people have technology to record what’s been happening to them at police stops.

              I know if I had a cell phone video camera when I was in college I would’ve gotten out of a lot of trouble by being able to prove the police officer a liar.

              So, now that people are seeing things with their own eyes, they are able to understand how systemic the issue of racism still is in America. We haven’t had a real conversation about race in this country for 50 years, and it’s time we do again. Because clearly the problem persists.

              I’m not making any judgements on you, but I assume you’re white and haven’t ever gone through this. My partner is black and I see this on a daily basis, even when we’re pulled over for a simple speeding ticket.

              And as for Obama being “petty”, what about the republican led congress obstructing literally everything, and wasting millions of tax payer dollars on bullshit investigations that all turned up the same thing? If the black president “plays the race card” it’s because he has the unique perspective of growing up as a black man in this country and rising to the highest level, but still is able to show how bad racism really is, and although it’s better than it was 50 years ago, we are still not a colorblind society. People in my age group (late 30’s) and younger tend to be blind and not give a shit. But my parents are certainly a little racist, and sometimes worse (they’re both 70), and since the boomer generation is the largest segment of the population these attitudes still persist even though it’s not as bad as my grandparents were.

            2. And to add to that, why when white police officers are shot is there an uproar but two INNOCENT black men were murdered by white police officers there isn’t the same “compassion” that you speak of in that statement. There was s an immediate attempt to demonized them in the media. This incident in Dallas is horrible, and is not the way to respond to racism. But there needs to be a systemic change with how police treat black men in particular of these kind of things are just going to get worse.

            3. The Republican Party? You mean the one that freed the slaves?

              Republicans freed the slaves – and Democrats re-enslaved them onto the government teat.

              Obama was the useful idiot sold to the “people” by the mainstream media salesmen and saleswomen.

              Until or unless the low-information American voter learns to ignore MSM propaganda and vote for what’s really in their best interests, America will continue to proceed down the shitter.

              95% of black American voters voted in lockstep for Obama and what did they get for it? Black teen unemployment at 32.4%, 383.6% higher than the national unemployment rate. No wonder they’re out trying to steal producers’ iPhones in order to finance their drug deals.

              If Obama really cared about minorities, he’d be working against Dem/Lib/Prog policies that systematically encourage blacks to decimate their own race with out-of-control abortion rates while keeping them slaves to government subsistence handouts where, in desperation, they turn to drugs and crime, thereby causing black males to be incarcerated, leaving single moms to raise yet another generation dependent on Dem/Lib/Prog handouts – those they don’t abort, of course – and the cycle continues. These poor sheep are kept so “dumbed down” that they line up in lockstep to vote for their own continued slavery at the rate of 90% or higher.

              It’s sad. I pray that the black Americans wake up someday and look around for obviously better alternatives. Where have the Dems/Libs/Progs taken you in exchange for your decades of blind allegiance, black America?

              Again, it was a Republican who freed the slaves.


              – Under Obama, the labor force participation rate for African American men fell 0.7 percentage points to 65.6 percent, the lowest on record.

              – Despite record low participation rates, black teen unemployment under Obama stands at 32.4%, 383.6% higher than the national unemployment rate.

              – Under Obama, average overall unemployment among blacks increased to 12.9% from 10.6% under Bush.

              – During the past fifty years, American black unemployment has fallen below 10% only nine times, five of which were during the George W. Bush administration: 1973, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, and in 2007.

              1. Below, I’m not talking about you, your partner, or any other specific person.

              2. I’m talking, in general, about U.S. blacks or African-Americans or whatever the Big Gov’t Handout Lib slaveowners are calling people of color in the U.S. currently.

              3. When you, the black man or woman in general, voices your opinion to your elected Democrat representative, you are ignored. Completely.

              4. You are ignored precisely because your vote is guaranteed.

              5. Until you learn to take a step back and decide whether these government subsistence handouts are really helping you or not — based on decades of blind allegiance to Democrats and where your people are now vs. where they were, say, back when Jimmy Carter or Bubba Clinton were “helping” you — and vote accordingly, you will continue to be ignored.

              6. If you were smart and the GOP were also smart, U.S. blacks would ask the GOP for something important to them and the GOP would move heaven and earth to deliver it. And then the world, especially your world, the U.S. black community, would change significantly for the better. One more time: It was the Republican party of Lincoln that freed the slaves, my friend.

              7. Keep voting in lockstep for those who ignore you and have not improved, only worsened your communities’ condition through gov’t dependency (disguised slavery), for the last 50+ years, and you will continue to suffer, your pleas and needs ignored.

              8. If your votes are already cast in stone, there is zero need for anyone to work for you or your votes.

            4. Yes, the Republican Party of 1865 was a far different party than it is today. There was a realignment in the early 1900’s and again in 1960. The parties have flipped…. If it was the Republican Party of 1865 I would indeed vote for them, and champion their cause. But for the last 50+ years, the party has embraced the religious right, white supremiscits, dog whistle rhetoric, and all the old southern ‘Dixiecrats’ flipped over to join the republicans. You speak of votes being garunteedin my case, but make no mention of your own vote being garunteed as well. I highly doubt you’d ever vote for someone you refer to as a ‘lib’ or any democrat. Meanwhile, my and most people I know votes are not garunteed so to speak, it’s simply that we cannot vote for the party who has run people like David Duke for president back in 1992.

              In your quotation of black unemployment rates you mention bush, but not Clinton at all who started all of the policies which helped us. That’s why the clintons are so well thought of in the black community. And 4 of those years were under him and began under him. You also make not mention of the Bush administration being in office during the economic crash of 2007-2008. Most of the last 8 years has been focused on righting the ship and getting the economy stable again. You can disagree with policies, but the economy is better than it was, even though it’s been a slow recovery.

              I don’t disagree with all of the republican idea, in fact I like a lot of them. But socially liberal people have basically been kicked out of that party as it goes further to the right wing. A true conservative would want police to be held accountable for their actions when innocent people are murdered, would respect the rule of law, and want all people to have equal rights. Not just championing the rules that benefit them and fit with their ideology, or stay true to a party regardless of all. Loyalty to party over the country is a real issue that will not fix itself.

              So I’m issuing you a challenge. Go read all of the policies of Hillary Clinton, Bernie sanders, Donald trump, and Ted Cruz, and honestly compare them. Don’t watch Fox News, or read drudge, or news world daily, or any right wing conspiracy sites, or listen to Alex jones, Rush Limbaugh, etc… Just go to each candidates websites, read the policies, and actually listen to the rhetoric they use. Without a media filter. Then come back to this forum without a bias and able to talk about things logical instead of slanting and pushing a pre rendered decision. All of my opinions I’ve ever expressed on this site are from personal experience, are aren’t informed by anyone but myself. Then call your congressmans office, or go to their website and see what they do, what they’ve done while in office, and actually read it.

    1. 2014/2016, you give way too much credit to our POTUS. While Obama is the mouthpiece, it is the establishment that wants to keep whites & blacks & Latinos fighting each other in this country. Because if spend our energy fighting each we will not notice how we are getting screwed daily by the elites.

    2. I’d argue that we have worse race relations since Obama became president because we dared to elect a black man. The Republican party has done everything it could to block anything that Obama supports.

      And now with Donald Trump, racists, white supremacists and nazi’s are coming coming out of the closet.

      Now, let me get back to my Mac.

      1. Trump has never mentioned race beyond pointing how how many African-Americans and Latinos support him. What’s your evidence that Trump is a “racist?”

    3. You are a bigger fool or in simpler terms – a first class moron. This has zero to do with the article and even if it did, you are just a race baiting pile of dung putting a far right load of bullshit on the table. Blaming any of this crap on Obama just reflects what a mental midget you are. A true conservative would be embarrassed to have your support.

  6. Technology always works two ways. If the authorities take advantage of this, expect protestors to take advantage of technology also.

    There is this fabric that screws up the exposure of photos (and video) and renders those wearing it indistinguishable. They become black blobs. Some fashionista developed it for protecting celebrities from paparazzi. It’s expensive, but I’d expect it to become widely available and cheaper before long. Might make photo ID of suspects a bit difficult.

  7. This Apple patented tech is worth the worry. But if it ever went real, as in the USA going Totalitarian, there would be RIOTS.

    This week definitively proves what recording our life events is worth to We The People. No, you can’t turn off my camera, ever. Scrutiny of our governments is eternal. We surveil THEM, not the other way around.

    1. Derek,

      I absolutely agree. I was a prosecutor for 30 years in a county that had the reputation of being tougher on crime than any other jurisdiction in Texas. I wish that cellphone cameras had existed when I was working. They would have quickly identified the bad officers so we could fire them and the marginal officers so we could retrain them. I would have opposed any effort to ban or “jam” cameras with all my strength (that is not to say that I would have supported letting people with cameras walk into active crime scenes or physically interfere with police operations).

      Any true conservative should welcome technology that assists the citizenry in protecting their constitutional rights. That it also assists law enforcement in collecting evidence for convicting criminals is just an added benefit.

      1. Check this out!

        Facebook ‘glitch’ that deleted the Philando Castile shooting vid: It was the police – sources
        Footage vanished on command, not by a tech gremlin

        On Thursday, Facebook said a “technical glitch” caused the recording to be pulled from its social network. However, Reynolds claimed officers seized her phone and took over her Facebook account to delete the evidence.

        Multiple sources with knowledge of the event have tonight confirmed to The Register that someone – highly suspected to be the city’s police – used her phone to remove her recording from public view shortly after the shooting. This was no technical glitch….

        1. Trying to suppress the video was a bad idea for a number of reasons (notably the First Amendment), but I can understand why the agencies investigating the shooting might have wanted it offline while the investigation was still underway: the probability of witness contamination. That is perhaps a bigger problem in Louisiana than in Minnesota, because there are more eyewitnesses, but it could apply either place.

          Imagine the trial of the officers involved. The defense is cross-examining the eyewitnesses—“Q; Did you review the video of this incident? A: Yes. Q; Did you see it for the first time even before you gave your statement to the police? A: Yes. Q: Are you sure that your testimony today is based solely on what you remember of the incident and not on the contents of the video? A: Yes. Q: Can you promise the jury that there is not the remotest chance that you are just testifying from the video and not your memory? A: Yes. Q: Well, I guess we will see what the jury thinks of that. [Objection Sustained] In that case, I have no further questions, since this witness has nothing new to offer.”

          At final argument, the defense will argue that the state’s case comes down entirely to the video, since none of the “alleged eyewitnesses” has any independent recollection of events. The video itself will have been attacked by a small battalion of hired experts who will try to put its content in doubt. Given the extreme difficulty of convincing any jury to convict a peace officer, a hung jury or acquittal may well follow.

          So, the “someone” who removed the video from public view may not have been motivated by the desire to protect the officers, but by the desire to protect the case against them.

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