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Apple Camera Patent Lets External Transmitters Disable Features

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the say-cheese-only-in-specially-approved-picture-zones dept.

Cellphones 268

sticks_us writes with news of an Apple patent application, recently published by the USPTO, for an on-board camera system that would include circuitry for processing external infrared signals. The data received from these signals could then be used to present information to the user of the device, or even to modify the device's operation. "For example, an infrared emitter could be located in areas where picture or video capture is prohibited, and the emitter could generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes commands to disable the recording functions of devices. An electronic device could then receive the infrared signals, decode the data and temporarily disable the device's recording function based on the command. ... In some embodiments, a device may apply a watermark to detected images as an alternative to completely disabling a recording function."

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Photos not allowed during police actions, citizen! (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330372)

Apple has tapped into a pretty nice market there. They'll make quite a bit just selling portable IR transmitters that cops can wear on their belts--for when our boys in blue need to enforce a little extra discouragement on handcuffed perps and don't want to deal with any pesky pinkos filming or taking pictures.

Not only that, but by holding the patent, they stand to make a fortune when the government decides to make it mandatory in all new cameras.

That Steve Jobs is nothing if not a money-making machine. I bet he'll have every college student in the U.S. lined up around the block to buy one of these "enhanced" cameras. He's like one of those Bond villians who comes up with a plan that's undeniably horrific and evil, but also damned creative and ingenious.

Meanwhile the old Bond villian, Bill Gates, is off fighting AIDS in Africa. Guess that's like when Jaws [jamesbondwiki.com] became a good guy in Moonraker.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

piripiri (1476949) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330410)

when the government decides to make it mandatory in all new cameras

Oh and everyone will be forced to change their current camera? I don't think so.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330470)

It would only be a matter of time before everyone had a camera with this feature. My guess is that it will never be mandatory, but that companies will do it to appease the Justice Department (see: laser printer watermarking).

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330508)

laser printer watermarking

That's the first thing I thought of when I read the summary. That's not even required by law, but just TRY to find a color printer that doesn't have this "feature."

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

piripiri (1476949) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330580)

A decent camera last way longer than the average printer.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330638)

But we aren't talking about "decent" cameras here. Most people get a new cellphone every couple years.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (4, Informative)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330750)

Here is a list of printers [eff.org] that do and do not include the watermark...

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (2)

PIBM (588930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330742)

Just put an IR filter in front of the lens, or a tape on the detector..

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330514)

Considering that most people aren't going to carry a standalone camera to document police brutality/corruption, and most people tend to upgrade their cell phone every few years, a law would prove pretty devastating.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

piripiri (1476949) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330590)

I assume you don't know any photographer.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (3)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330646)

But most of those videos/photos that show bad stuff aren't done by professional photographers. They're done by average citizens holding up their smartphones. Just think of what this kind of technology would have done if the Libyan/Yemeni/Egyptian/Tunsian/Syrian/etc. governments had been able to deploy it in the streets of their cities.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

piripiri (1476949) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330710)

What's the point of making this feature if some people will still be able to circumvent it? Just to annoy the masses? People who want to show videos/photos of bad stuff won't be bothered at all.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330660)

There is a reason police brutality is often documented by cell phones: they are always there.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330682)

I assume you don't know any photographer.

Yes, because if he knew any photographer(s), he would know that most people carry standalone cameras. Did that make sense to you when you wrote it?

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330776)

The odds of someone filming police brutality etc.. it generally isn't planned and recorded by someone with a full sized video camera, it's usually caught by some ordinary joe who discretely used his cellphone camera to take a clip.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330826)

Yes. Through planned obsolescence, your camera will die two days after the warranty runs out. Buying an old camera will be like buying a normal-flow toilet.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330416)

Yet they'd never be more than one IR cut filter away from a lawsuit.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (3, Informative)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330618)

Yet they'd never be more than one IR cut filter away from a lawsuit.

Don't most daylight digital cameras already have IR filters on them? That's why when you look closely at a digital camera lens, it has a dark reddish tint to it. I've tried using IR light to convert a webcam into a nighttime camera and it never goes well unless i feel like tearing the camera apart and removing the filter. (which on MOST cameras, is a severe pita)

But without that filter, the IR light overwhelms the sensor during the daytime, so it's required for daytime use. I just bought a camera that has daytime/nighttime mode, and it swings a red IR filter into place in front of the CCD for daytime operation.

Sooooo my question is, just how effective is this system going to be if there's an IR filter in place? Now I realize it doesn't completely cut out the IR - I can for example see the blinky light on my remote in my webcam, but it's brightness is greatly reduced.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330804)

On the lens maybe. These new cameras would not have IR filters on the "disable port" used for receiving external commands.

I do wonder though, if the idea is to equip airports, monuments, police officers, etc. with "No Photography!" broadcasters, would not a valid response be for journalists to start carrying "First Amendment" jammers?

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330834)

easy. IR messages are not processed via the lense/CCD. External IR reader anywhere else on the front of the camera, just like the mic, and some camera's, the rangefinder.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330698)

Implement IR filter - Are you sure you want to do that?
Since the sensor will probably be integrated with the CCD, as it may already have IR sensors (auto-focus signaling), then filtering IR could break auto-focus.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330494)

Would celebrating the release of this "feature" onto the commercial market with a variant of Apple's classic 'Think Different' [missingbite.com] posters featuring Rodney King, the Gitmo dog-leash guy, and similar?

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330518)

Ach, sentence malformed: strike '?' and append "be pointed or merely tasteless?"

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330566)

Just don't forget to put a tasteful and elegant "iCensored" logo at the bottom, in a pleasant Apple Garamond font.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330586)

There is actually a very good market for this invention: Plenty of companies have places where they don't want any photos being taken (how many people post here "I can't buy a MacBook because of the built-in camera hahaha stupid Apple!!!"), so all you need is a little transmitter in the room, and everyone with the proper device can come in. It will take a while, but at some point certain places will only allow you to use a computer or phone if it has no camera, or if it is an Apple product.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330772)

unless its all in ONE chip, any hardware guy worth his salt could open a laptop (etc) and bypass this.

now, once you start talking about making this a 'secure camera', you'll lose sales since no intelligent person will want any part of this 'you countrol MY camera' stuff.

apple fanboys will still buy but the rest of us will walk away from this, shaking our heads in disbelief.

many of us don't trust the 'software controlled' cameras to stay off; now we would have to worry about the exact opposite: we WANT a photo but the system 'software controlled' US and said 'no'.

the last thing I want is some machine saying 'no thanks, mr. human; I don't feel up to taking photos today.'

FUCK THAT.

(and fuck apple, too, while we're at it)

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330602)

Only Ben Affleck can stop the Moonraper...

Oh, sorry. wrong movie.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330716)

This summer, only Ben Affleck can protect our craters...

JULY 2011

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330650)

Steve Jobs is currently CEO of Apple. Bill Gates is no longer CEO of Microsoft. Maybe you should wait and see what Jobs does when he leaves Apple, instead of trying to equate the charity work of a retired executive to that of a full-time one?

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330792)

Sorry, Charlie don't surf and Steve don't do charity.

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (2)

snotclot (836055) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330664)

Plz make borg picture for Jobs and put halo around Gates borg. kthxbai

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330744)

hahah yeah okay, right. lets see, where do we begin. How about unintended consequences? You bet.

Or "whoops, your phone didn't receive the signal to re-enable the feature when it left", let alone other issues that would possibly make this questionable or only work on apple phones. Think that won't happen?

Re:Photos not allowed during police actions, citiz (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330818)

I was thinking of the lawsuits on Apple, and the U.S. D.O.J. when a newspaper says, "Freedom of the Press."

Glad they patented it (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330390)

Now all I have to do is not buy an iphone and I'm sure to not get this incredibly stupid "feature". Of course they'll probably just license it for a quarter a camera or something and other companies will trip over themselves to implement it and we'll all pay for the pleasure of having a less useful device.

My new patent (1)

Spritzer (950539) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330404)

I guess I'll be submitting a patent for a phone case with an IR filter for the camera.

Re:My new patent (0)

immakiku (777365) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330444)

While funny, the sad thing is that technology doesn't really exist: [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_shield[/url]

Re:My new patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330474)

It's called 'a piece of electrical tape over the sensor'.

HTH.

Electrical tape won't work here.... (2, Informative)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330578)

That was my first thought, as well. But a closer look at the patent shows that they are using the camera sensor itself as the IR receiver. If you tape over it to block the IR datastream , you can't take any pictures with it anyway.

What is needed is a filter that blocks IR, but passes visible light.

Re:Electrical tape won't work here.... (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330684)

What is needed is a filter that blocks IR, but passes visible light.

Maybe that's why he said:

I guess I'll be submitting a patent for a phone case with an IR filter for the camera.

Re:Electrical tape won't work here.... (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330712)

Maybe that's why I wasn't replying to the OP, but a to poster who suggested electrical tape....

Re:My new patent (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330810)

easier solution: interfere with the IR stream. not hard. tv-b-gone (adafruit) is one such example. easy (very!) to build ir transmitters and code them any way you want. throw lots of noise in the domain. inverse square is on YOUR side, not theirs.

Ah, Apple... (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330406)

I am frequently baffled by some of the stuff that Apple gets away with patenting. In this case, the patent described would(to my layman's inspection) appear to be a mere subset of Microsoft's (equally odious and sinister) 2008 "Digital Manners" patent [uspto.gov] , except that that patent covered a much broader range of possible prohibition/settings propagation media, and a much more generic set of possible commands.

Re:Ah, Apple... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330446)

Well, this isn't really about the merit of the patent. It's about how some fan-boy can get in a mention of Apple early in the work day (Central time). Think of it as the daily Jobs bowel-movement post.

Dear customer, Just say NO! (2)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330408)

Give external control over over a non-networked part of my device to a thrid party? with any intent? HELL NO. Really. If mankind buys such devices without thought... May the gods be merciful on us all.

Re:Dear customer, Just say NO! (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330466)

Unfortunately, the universe's pulsars actually exist to transmit coded control messages to the deities of various pantheons, enforcing a strict "no mercy upon mortals" policy within the observable universe. Nobody is sure which eldrich ancient god holds the business-method patent on mercy; but it exists outside of time, so it won't be expiring any time soon.

Re:Dear customer, Just say NO! (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330720)

Nobody is sure which eldrich ancient god holds the business-method patent on mercy

I feel sure that Jehovah invented mercy.

Re:Dear customer, Just say NO! (1)

immakiku (777365) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330468)

I wonder what happens when people start selling portable "camera controllers". The intended purpose can be overridden and the nefarious purpose can propagate easily.

Re:Dear customer, Just say NO! (3, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330600)

I can't wait for someone to be carrying one of these that places a watermark of a penis on all the pictures taken on the family vacation to the Grand Canyon.

Re:Dear customer, Just say NO! (1)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330652)

Good one :D

And say yes to what? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330696)

So what happens once government regulators convince all manufacturers of new cameras and new smartphones to implement this? It's already happened to color printers, which add yellow steganographic identifiers to any color print to help trace counterfeit bank notes. Don't like it? Don't buy a printer.

Easy fix. (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330420)

Electrical tape over infrared sensor.

Re:Easy fix. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330442)

My impression is that the CCD/CMOS imager is being used to sense the IR. If the point was to shut down the camera, that works as well...

Re:Easy fix. (1)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330456)

Sensor is embedded in the CCD device, so that's actually a piece of tape over the camera lens.

It works.. for a given value of 'works'.

Re:Easy fix. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330642)

Or have your own detector that will analyse all infrared, then capture the signals from it.
Then you use that against them by placing these signals everywhere around town X and pass around some posters that explain why phones features are no longer working.
They'll certainly have to undo it then.

Or just not buy anything Apple because they pull shit like this.
Buying Apple period is basically letting Steve rim you.
Their entire business is ripping people off.
They make some decent hardware and software, but that is all negated with the abusive practices in that company.

Re:Easy fix. (1)

ductonius (705942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330478)

The sensor will be built into the camera CCD.

Re:Easy fix. (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330572)

My knee jerk reaction as well.... then I read the article (IR sensor is integrated in the camera CCD. Taping the sensor means taping the camera which (more) effectively does the same thing as the proposed technology.)

Easier fix (0)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330598)

Stop buying Apple crap, you freedom hating/indifferent morons.

Infrared (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330426)

Why limit this patent to infrared? Seems like someone could do the same thing with bluetooth or even WiFi and then you would no longer need to be concerned about line of site issues. You know, like someone holding their hand between the infrared transmitter and their device and then snapping photos as they please.

Re:Infrared (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330740)

Because you can't use the CCD itself to detect bluetooth or WiFi; you can use it to detect IR. That's the point. You can block the IR signal, but only by covering the camera lens itself (which was the point in the first place - to stop you taking pictures. Or you could usie an IR filter over the lens - however, maybe they'll find a technical solution where it'll refuse to take pictures if there is no external IR light detected at all (suggesting a filter is in place).

Re:Infrared (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330762)

WiFi and Bluetooth can be completely disabled (in the interest of extending battery life). Their patent describes an IR system integrated into the camera that CANNOT be completely disabled by the user. You will have the ability to turn off the "useful" stuff like the ability to read exhibit data in a museum or whatever, but the remote camera disabling feature will not be subject to end-user control.

WTF who is the customer here? (2)

Script Cat (832717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330448)

The is no reason for this dangerous feature to be included in a device that I purchase. That could get someone killed. Take some pics of some criminal activity and post it online, then the pic rats you out like a cheep stool pigeon. Then youâ(TM)re pushing up daisies.

Re:WTF who is the customer here? (1)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330658)

If this feature is active you can't take pictures, so your scenario of it getting somebody killed is a bit of a stretch. As for the target market: it's probably lawyers, bail bondsman, and anybody else who works in the legal system. You can't take camera-phones into a courthouse or most other public facilities, you can't leave them at the desk, and it's not easy to find a smart-phone without a camera. An iPhone a lawyer actually could take to the courthouse would be very valuable indeed. I doubt the courts will actually approve these things inside a courthouse. Telling the iPhones with the feature from all the other iPhones (or even iPhones from other smartphones) would take work, and courthouse security is notoriously bad at the w-word.

I love my Droid (1)

xednieht (1117791) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330452)

nuff said

/boggle (1)

DontBlameCanada (1325547) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330454)

First Apple censors their App Store. Now they're facilitating at-source-proactive censorship of media.

What's next? A new iOS upgrade that translates any "subversive" conversations or texts into state-approved rhetoric?

Re:/boggle (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330516)

That will be in the china IOS update.

I think I know that on. (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330464)

For example, an infrared emitter could be located in areas where picture or video capture is prohibited, and the emitter could generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes commands to disable the recording functions of devices.

I thought we agreed that DRM [on the client side] is broken by design?

No much thought was given to this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330472)

so cover the infared port....it needs a line of sight, no port for the infared signal no problem...

Should help horror films (3, Insightful)

MrDoh! (71235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330500)

This'll be perfect for following scared women at night, and disabling their ability to make calls/send texts/take a picture.
And sure cops will have their flashing lights stopping pictures being taken of them.

Can't think why I'd want a camera that would do this. The small ability to get meta data about something I'm taking a piccy of is far outweighed by the negative uses.

Go go masking tape.

Re:Should help horror films (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330816)

Go go masking tape.

Ah, but you aren't remembering Apple's patent for camera-in-LCD and thinking it through properly. You make this sensor part of the CCD chip itself, or at least closely co-located and it becomes impractical to use the masking tape solution. Sure there's a bit of trickery with the optical properties of your lens and proper choice of IR wavelengths, but that's just a little engineering.

how is this going to work? (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330504)

The billions of existing cameras will continue to ignore such external commands, so the only way to enforce this is to make all of those illegal. That might fly in North Korea, but in the Western world? I know dystopian views are popular here, but I just don't see this happening.

Even individual companies are going to have a hard time, e.g. a movie theatre isn't going to be able to reliably distinguish between cameras with and without this feature, so they'll still ban all cameras.

Re:how is this going to work? (1)

balbord (447248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330686)

Do you think today's existing cameras will still be here 2, 10 or 20 years from now?

Re:how is this going to work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330884)

The way this works is you legislate it, and then wait a decade. Before you know it, there's no camera that doesn't have such a feature. It's like finding folks with 1st generation iphone...I'm sure they exist, just very rare. And that's only 5 year old technology!

I can imagine Steve saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330510)

We will make one MILLION dollars with these "remote" "controls" !

The next step (1)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330528)

Is embedding the ID code of the camera in every photo taken so officials can find out who is taking which photos. If it doesn't exist already it's less than five years out.

Re:The next step (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330666)

I think this happens already.

Re:The next step (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330690)

You mean like printers [eff.org] ?

Re:The next step (1)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330882)

Yep, except digitally integrated with the photo so it can't be removed and is copied with the image itself. Easy to argue for (the think of the children and copywright defense arguments pop right to mind but almost any prosecutor would love to have an unimpeachable connection between every copy of a given photo and the camera that took it), easy to do, and not expensive. Also pretty invasive.

Do not want -- NOBODY should want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330534)

Leave it to humans to decide whether or not to abide by "no photography" rules, not technical measures. The perfect example of why this is a bad idea to implement at all is ongoing in the Middle East right now.

Of course, IR filters are well-known and there would be innumerable other ways to disable it. This is DRM on the client side. Good luck with that.

More crap for the patet arsenal (1)

Jimbookis (517778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330540)

It's just adding to the plethora of patents Apple can use in it's Patent Big Stick. And someone at Apple gets to do Patent++ on their CV. I have noticed over the years that for some baffling reason some Americans like to boast about the number of patents assigned in their name.

Not all stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330550)

This is a nice feature for people that work at classified sites where you can't bring your phone into the building because it has a camera on it.

Re:Not all stupid (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330868)

So the people will trust the device to follow the IR "recommendation"? Ha. If you are trying to take pictures at a classified site you'd simply disable/bypass the IR detecting circuit.

No, this is much more likely to be used so that people can't "steal" pictures of bands in concerts and such.

Just when I start thinking (1)

vawwyakr (1992390) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330558)

Hey maybe I'm being ridiculous hating on Apple. This comes out and suddenly I'm back in 1984!

Paris Hilton (1)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330604)

Put the transmitter on a garter and Paris Hilton and her friends would then be free to exit vehicles w/o giving the paparazzi another bonus shot.

Re:Paris Hilton (2)

supremebob (574732) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330756)

Only problem with that is that the paparazzi will have high-end cameras where that "feature" either doesn't exists or can be disabled.

Joe Consumer isn't going to know how to do that on his iPhone 6, though.

Disable recording if IR sensor covered (1)

KudyardRipling (1063612) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330622)

What if the camera senses that the IR receiver is covered (by not sensing "sufficient background noise" and disables recording as a "safety" measure?

Standard Apple: (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330630)

Their view is that the phone/device doesn't really belong to you in any real sense.

You may have bought it, and thus own the physical form, but they only let you use the software, thus it does what they want, not what you want.

Oh, and by the way, they effectively won't let you remove their software and load your own software on it. (Updates that brick hacked devices for example.)

That attitude takes tethering to the level of a steel chain.

Slavery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330648)

step by step

Government & Defense Locations (1)

jaskelling (1927116) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330668)

The only practical (not Big Brother scary) use I can think of for this is for use in government & top secret locations. I have friends who work at defense sites or contractors & the phones they're allowed to have on site are *very* limited. If they have a camera, they're not allowed in or it has to be physically disabled (IE: broken). Period. There are not a whole lot of choices for camera-less phones anymore that have any useful capabilities, so I know that they would love this prospect. They'd be able to have an unaltered/unbroken device that is practical in today's world, yet still comply with the security demands of their job. And that's pretty much it. I can only see it being abused in almost every other way.

It's for movies [Re:Government & Defense Locat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330730)

The only practical (not Big Brother scary) use I can think of for this is for use in government & top secret locations

The obvious application is to put an infrared signal onto movie screens, so that a guy with a video camera can't pirate a movie on opening night.

No workaround possible... (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330670)

Of course, as an optical signaling mechanisim, there is absolutely no way this type of mechanisim could be by-passed or worked-around... Right?

I'm glad (1)

TimeElf1 (781120) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330676)

Well I'm glad I still have my two film cameras, no infrared sensor in them just infrared film.

First Implementation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330688)

I could see this being implemented first in movie theaters or even concerts to prevent bootleg copies.

Beyond the Evil Bit (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330704)

Apple's new iEvil Bit will make it easier than ever to [CENSORED BY RIAA INFRA-RED CODEC].

This tech is beaten by a cheap IR filter. (1)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330726)

Seeing as how an IR Filter only costs about $25 for a real, 46mm lens, This technology is dead in the water. Anyone who wants to circumvent it just needs to cough up a few bucks for some IR filtiring film and put it in front of the camera lens.

Re:This tech is beaten by a cheap IR filter. (1)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330828)

I think the issue is that a lot of spontaneous event video is shot of people who would rather not be caught doing whatever they're doing (and know it in advance) by Joe-off-the-street who would be unlikely to prepare for the event.

Re:This tech is beaten by a cheap IR filter. (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330838)

Circumvention would naturally be a criminal offence. All new devices following the implementation of the law requiring the technology would be so equipped and all older devices will be routinely seized and searched for prohibited images which would prompt the owner to buy a new, compliant device.

robots.txt for the real world (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330798)

It's a clever idea. I won't begrudge them the patent. I'm even kind of in favor of it; it's kind of a robots.txt file for the real world.

But, like robots.txt, clients (cameras) should treat it as advisory only and be free to ignore it. I certainly wouldn't buy a camera in which it couldn't be disabled. It's way too open to abuse. Not just in prohibiting photos in random public venues, but I can easily imagine advertisers jumping on this. For the price of an IR transmitter you can stuff a watermark into everyone's cameras whenever they're taking a photo near your storefront, billboard, or any random place you can conceal a transmitter. As a photographer, even if your camera ignored such signals you'd probably have a problem taking any pictures In popular tourist areas with the IR glare imposed by advertisers.

And that's not to mention assholes who would set up concealed transmitters for laughs. Imagine the hilarity messing with someone's holiday snaps, intermittently disabling flash and other features, or writing obscenities into the watermarks. Why, it'd be almost as much fun as running around CES with a TV-B-Gone [gizmodo.com] .

Patents on "required features" (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36330812)

I wonder about that sort of thing.

Okay, in the civilian world, there is a kind of precedent -- we are required to buy insurance to drive our cars. (Though technically, "proof of financial responsibility" is required and that can come in the form of a very large bank account balance in many states.)

So this infrared censorship signal would be a feature that would seem to require mandatory compliance from device manufacturers to be effective or useful to government interests. So what happens when compliance is mandatory and it still requires a patent license to comply? It just doesn't seem fair or right to me. And this is especially true when there would be only one "vendor" of whatever you are required to buy. Even in the case of auto insurance, you can select who you are insured with.

A corporate consortium must be driving this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36330858)

This is far more likely a concession to the MPAA, etc., than the law enforcement industry--though the latter will surely be able to take advantage of it. In the states bills are presented purely for the benefit of corporations. (http://www.newser.com/story/119941/bill-may-make-sharing-netflix-log-in-illegal-in.html)

What is the benefit to the customer?
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