Apple will disable your phone from taking photos in certain places, which isn't creepy at all

31 August 2012

rotten appleHere's a thing. Ever tried getting a screengrab on your Apple product and found that you can't? You've found that you've got a grey and white checkerboard instead? That's because Apple have some third-party contracts in place which means you can't screengrab certain material.

That seems fair enough to a degree.

The result is that you'll have to take a photo of your screen, which isn't exactly ideal if you need something a little more hi-res. However, this might be a thing of the past too, as someone at BoingBoing found out.

Apple have been granted a patent that will prevent photos and videos being taken in certain locations, which is plain creepy.

"Apparatus and methods for changing one or more functional or operational aspects of a wireless device, such as upon the occurrence of a certain event. In one embodiment, the event comprises detecting that the wireless device is within range of one or more other devices. In another variant, the event comprises the wireless device associating with a certain access point. In this manner, various aspects of device functionality may be enabled or restricted (device “policies”). This policy enforcement capability is useful for a variety of reasons, including for example to disable noise and/or light emanating from wireless devices (such as at a movie theater), for preventing wireless devices from communicating with other wireless devices (such as in academic settings), and for forcing certain electronic devices to enter “sleep mode” when entering a sensitive area."

You can bet your bottom dollar that cinemas will be one of the forerunners in signing up to anything that stops people from filming their wares, not mention venues that have stand-up shows and gigs. However, as BB point out, if anyone is allowed to sign-up for this, who is to say that Apple phones will suddenly enter 'sleep mode' during something like a protest?

TOPICS:   Technology


  • Dick
    So long as they work in apple stores, that's all that matters. Since that is where most apple fanboys spend their waking (and sleeping) hours, videoing overpriced stuff they could have bought if they hadn't bought their overpriced phones.
  • Dick
    Sorry, I missed the "n" out of wanking.
  • Drew
    Airplane mode?
  • Me
    Good - As its patented any android/windows phone will still happily take photos while the owner laughs at the Apple owners. After all Apple won't want Google/MS using their precious patents would they...
  • Chewbacca
    How about an auto sleep mode for cinemas? Oh, and a "no audio mode" for public transport? As much as I enjoy listening to chart push blaring out of a tinny speaker on a phone owned by a complete cretin...
  • Tom
    Old, this was to stop people from taking video/pictures at concerts.
  • I-rate
    So what is so innovative and new in a bit of conditional coding that it justifies a patent? One of my kids has had an app on his BB that turns WiFi on when his GPS says he is at home - same idea I think! Does this mean Apple will retrospectively sue the BB app authors? Sounds a bit Hitchhiker to me.
  • Little F.
    Is it not possible to turn one's geolocation-ness off?
  • John
    Hmm, sounds like a good technology if it is in the right hands. But would it end up in the wrong hands? Probably. That's what makes this so scary.
  • The M.
    Has the Apple backlash taken off yet? They're doing their damnest to make it happen
  • Lumoruk
    Quite sure nokia were there first with nokia locations. You can set it to change profiles on your phone when within a wifi or gps area.
  • Spencer
    I think up to now it's always been an option... if we as users want that function... we just install an app/switch it. what apple are attempting and have somehow patented, is to build it into the device forcing your phone to behave a certain way... and to be honest... would you expect any less from apple? I can't wait till the next time someone walks into a cinema with a gun and nobody can call the police cos of this....
  • mikeypop
    The Disaffected Massive - it seems that Bitterwallet have now jumped on the "Lets publish lots of Apple link-bait stories with a negative twist" bandwagon along with the rest of the blogoshphere, when previously they were happy to be part of the "Lets publish lots of Apple link-bait stories with a positive spin" brigade whilst it was the trend. Ever original here. In reality, this patent is probably meaningless - just like the previous one about a system to somehow prevent recording at concerts etc. Apple probably have all the music labels and movie studios in their ear constantly about trying to help prevent piracy, no doubt whilst threatening to pull their wares from iTunes if they don't. So Apple do a bit of research on systems like this and apply for the patents to appear to be doing something about it. Whatever you think of Apple, and they have got plenty wrong recently, I would eat my own pants if there were ever to put one of these systems in place with anything like the level of malevolent intent that people seem to think they are suddenly capable of.
  • Spencer
    @Mikeypop.... what do you think it is that causes the general public to assume apple have any malevolent intent? based solely on the way the company acts, the way it treats customers, the way it is pretty much continually in court... this isn't apple-bashing for the sake of it... and I'm not even mentioning their products.... it's a genuine question... why do apple have this p.r?
  • mikeypop
    The rotten apple image suggests otherwise in terms of the editorial slant of the piece surely? "By all means read the piece and make up your own mind, but we'll tell you what we think with a nice visual hint right up front". The title also states "Apple will disable your phone.." - clearly not true as this is about a patent for a largely unknown function that is not currently used in any device as far as we know. A clearly misleading title designed to make Apple sound as bad as possible before they've even done anything. Apple have done plenty on their own recently with the court cases etc to sully their name and reputation in certain places. They are also now one of the big boys in a few industries, and with that will always come a certain amount of negative press from those wanting to topple those at the top (as Microsoft have had to endure for years). Some of their own actions and their position in the market place has inevitably led to negative press (much of it justified, much of it not - such as them being singled out for the chinese labour issues when many other large companies use the same suppliers), but this article is wilfully inaccurate and negative with the soul purpose of making Apple sound evil over something that isn't even in use!
  • spencer
    you make a sound point sir. I doth my hat in your direction!
  • Kevin
    These type of ridiculous 'features' is why I welcome the guys that jailbreak or hack devices.

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