Group launches petition demanding Apple not implement patent to remotely disable iPhone camera

“A Care2 petition has launched a petition asking Apple not to implement a recently-granted patent that would allow iPhone cameras to be disabled remotely,” Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac.

“While the patent has in mind situations like concerts, where the audience can have their view blocked by a sea of cameraphones,” Lovejoy reports, “the petition is concerned about the potential for more sinister uses of the technology.”

Imagine: you’re walking down the street when you see police officers slamming a woman to the ground. They’re exhibiting a shocking use of force — one officers pushes her face into the ground. Another sticks his knee into her back. You become worried. You pull out your phone to record the incident — only to have your camera mysteriously shut off.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s patent application describes the iPhone or iPad camera detecting an infrared signal and interpreting the data. Are police officers really going to be outfitted with potable infrared signal transmitters intended to block iPhone cameras? We’d be more concerned if the patent described disabling the camera via iBeacon or geofencing via GPS and/or Wi-Fi. Even then, only iPhone cameras would be rendered useless, not all cameras.

Apple could stop civilians recording police with new iPhone technology – July 8, 2016
Apple granted patent that prohibits iPhones from taking photos at concerts, other sensitive locations – June 28, 2016


  1. It’s going to be a powerful debate this one but at the end the police of a certain nation are going to have to make a decision, get their hands on that technology so that they can remotely block the iphone camera to cover their butts, or go on producing their reality show that’s still more popular to Pokeman Go.

    Right not I don’t think they have to worry about covering their butts, I mean with the “we must look forward no backward” Obama defense for George W. Bush, they’ve got a choice situation of being above the law and can do what they want.

    By the way did anyone see the last episode where an officer of the so called law shoots shoots caretaker of autistic man playing in the street with toy truck. I mean the guy is lying down on the grown with his hands up in the air and gets shot.

    The guy survived though, (sure to bring the ratings down) and asked the so called law enforcer why he shot him. What a classic reply “I don’t know.” This is the beauty of a system where you have all the power but none of the responsibility, you end up with those who are above the law. Of course the downside if you have to have a very weak society and be totally bereft of ethics and morality for it to work. But for that nation, it’s mission accomplished.

    Always fun to see how people adapt to a new technology.

  2. Correct, a piece of tape or case defeats it so it’s as pointless as hacking my iMac camera which has a sticky note over it.

    But the true point here is that Apple almost certainly patented it to keep anyone else from deploying such a system. Further, very few patents ever make it into widespread real-world applications

  3. Forget about this whole police thing, too inflammatory for logical argument.
    You are at a concert, your iPhone camera is disabled. But those who snuck Android phones in are all taking photos and videos.

    This is just a patent. Apple patents stuff all the time that don’t see the light of day. Apple isn’t dumb enough to actually implement this.

  4. And… if this technology does come to pass in Apple gear and in the hands of cops, there will be a massive incentive for We The People to bring other cameras with us, NOT the ones the COPs can switch off. And if this tech become ‘law’ then expect a massive black market in UNlockable cameras.

    This would be a great example of the effect of totalitarian abuse of citizens. They respond through the incentive of crime. Thus criminal nations Russia, China, North Korea, blahblahblah.

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