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Apple applies for patent to disable iPhone cameras at concerts

29 June 2016

Those who love to shoot photos and video would surely not like Apple's new iPhone patent - the mobile phone giant had figured out a way to disable its phones from recording in prohibited areas, such as concerts.

The patent reveals how the technology worked for iPhone owners. Ifra-red signals transmitted from venues would be picked up by the phone, which would prevent the user from recording a music performance, for instance, or a new film at the theater.

That infrared signal would then prevent iPhone users from recording in a certain direction - such as the stage, but users would still be able to take photos with friends, Tech Insider reported.

This technology would answer the prayers of concert promoters who had tried to dissuade the crowds from recording portions of the show, as cell phone cameras becoming commonplace.

At a different level though it did pose a number of issues as to who would be allowed to use the technology to limit cell phone videos.

A spokesman for the Electronic Frontier Foundation told KPIX-5, a CBS owned and operated TV station, that if cell phone recording could be disabled at concerts, it could be used to keep iPhone users from recording, for example, police activity.

"It's very disturbing when someone proposes technology that would take the power out of the owner or user and hand it to a third party," Danny O'Brien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation told the news station.

According to the patent, one signal could be used to disable both still photography and video recording.

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

The infrared signals could then be received by an electronic device, which would then decode the data and temporarily disable the device's recording function based on the command.

In a similar manner, the technology could be used to prevent video recording in movie theatres, and to block photography in sensitive locations.

The same patent also describes some different uses of the technology. In a museum, for instace, the system could be used to automatically display information about the object being viewed or photographed.

An infrared emitter could be located near an object to generate infrared signals with encoded data that included information about that object. An electronic device could then receive the infrared signals, decode the data and display the information about the object to the user.

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