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.


4 thoughts on “Apple Seeks Patent For Censorship Device

  1. Added. Apple does this with the Internet already on it’s handheld devices. YouTube on my (this) iPod touch isn’t actually YouTube. I can’t see official music videos or certain posts with music in them, which is a croc. I don’t care that that would hurt their iTunes revenues. The Internet being censored for corporate interests is the tipping point, and we already passed it.

  2. I don’t know what you can do to stop this technology? My belief is nothing, except to come up with another technology that will thwart or kill the “Kill Switch”. If this technology is implemented then we will have to come up with another technology that will make it useless.

  3. If you think the government doesn’t already have this capability, you’re living under a rock.

  4. Intersting… an app. to kill certain functions on an IPhone. I imagine if Apple were to kill the camera functions touted on the phones (one of the reasons people buy them in the first place), then the public will respond with its own “kill switch.” You certainly won’t catch me with an IPhone anytime soon if that’s the direction Apple plans to go. Signed the petition… thanks.

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