Apple Patents Technology to Disable iPhones From Taking Videos at Concerts

July 4, 2016 | Kelly Tatera

iPhone filming a concert
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No more illegal footage. 

A new Apple technology is in the works that can disable an iPhone’s ability to take photos and videos via an infrared signal.

The technology could stop people from taking illegal footage at concert venues or in cinemas or theaters.

The patent describes how an infrared signal could be sent out in places where recording video or taking photos is prohibited, and the phone would detect the signal and shut down its recording capabilities completely.

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As stated in the patent:

“For example, an infrared emitter can be located in areas where picture or video capture is prohibited, and the emitter can generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes commands to disable the recording functions of devices. An electronic device can then receive the infrared signals, decode the data and temporarily disable the device's recording function based on the command.”

According to Patently Apple, the news of Apple’s iPhone-disabling plans was met with controversy, causing “a massive roar from techies who were upset with the camera being able to block smartphone video recording at concerts.”

Further, there are concerns over a camera-disabling tech being used for the wrong reasons, particularly in situations where bystander video can help unveil the truth about a situation. For example, if the technology became portable, there could be a version carried by police officers that could eliminate bystander video, “leaving police body-cams as the only existing source of film,” as Popular Science reports.

However, the infrared signal wouldn’t only serve as a camera-disabling medium. Apple suggests that the signal could also be used to act as a retail assistant or a tour guide in museums. For instance, users could point their phone at a piece of artwork in a museum, and the phone could provide additional details about the work.

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