Apple Seeks Patent For Censorship Device

Do you want to prevent cell phones from recording video at concerts or birthday parties or public protests? There’s an app for that (almost). From Tim Karr at FreePress:

Late last week reports uncovered a plan by Apple, manufacturer of the iPhone, to patent technology that can detect when people are using their phone cameras and shut them down.

Really? They can do that?

Apple says this technology was intended to stop people from recording video at live concerts, which should worry the creative commons crowd. But a remote “kill switch” has far more sinister applications in the hands of repressive governments. And it further raises concerns about the power new media companies hold over our right to connect and communicate.

No kidding! Karr goes on to list examples of the kind of potential abuses that could be imposed. He notes how this technology would have prevented many of the now iconic episodes of citizen journalism from around the world: Tehran, Tahrir Square, Madison, Wisconsin, etc.

But the best way to illustrate the chilling ramifications of this abhorrent technology is to imagine how you would feel if you pointed your camera at something and, through the viewfinder, read a message that said “Sorry, you may not photograph this.” Imagine extending this technology to other devices in order to prohibit phone conversations, DVD players, and even Internet connections.

This opens the door to censorship on a scale never before contemplated. If corporations like Apple, and their co-conspirators, are ever able to control the means by which people can document the world around them, we are in BIG trouble – as citizens, as activists, and as artists.

FreePress has a petition calling on Steve Jobs to Stop The Kill Switch. Please add your name to it.