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06/17/2011

Apple developing tech to turn off iPhone cameras: report

If you’ve been to a concert or a major public event lately, you probably noticed several people were holding up their iPhones to either snap a photo or record a video. Well, that could soon be a thing of the past.

Apple is reportedly developing a system that would disable the iPhone’s camera at special events, preventing users from capturing memories from venues equipped with the right technology.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Apple filed a patent application 18 months ago for technology that would disable the smartphone’s camera.

Here’s how it works: Users raise their iPhone with the camera function switched on, but infra-red sensors installed at the venue detect that the smartphone is about to be used to record a video

The sensors then “automatically instruct the iPhone to shut its camera function,” the Daily Mail reports.

Such a system, which is based on a patent application, would be installed in concert venues such as bars, stadiums and other places that amateur videography is not desired.

It's worth noting that the report didn’t specify if the technology would block still photography, but it appears it would at least curb video recording.

Apple could be developing this “camera disabler” so that broadcasters can retain exclusive rights to things like concerts and sporting events, curbing the plethora of clips that wind up on YouTube and Facebook from special events.

For media rights holders, a smartphone camera makes “exclusive broadcast rights” as exclusive as public transit.  They could then force users to pay more for recording video or watching it. 

What do you think about being blocked from snapping a photo or recording a video on a smartphone at a concert or pro sports game? 

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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