Apple patents tech that lets government disable iPhone video, camera and wi-fi


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How the hell did Apple get that patent approved when Microsoft had something virtually identical, filed in 2006?


Someone go dig up Kodak’s grave, we found a reason for film to continue to be produced!

A smartphone attachment that shoots a roll of that old disc film would make zillions!

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Ahem. DSLR owner here. There’s no Wifi on my camera, nor any GPS.

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Yeah, dump your iPhone. Go with an free linux/andriod/replicant alternative. You need to be able to shutdown the mobile phone’s radio, wifi, and bluetooth for a number of reasons. Is the big chill on?

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The only problem is that there’s no way to easily send the pictures off somewhere, just in case the camera (and in this case, film) is taken away from you.

Possibly a silly question: Couldn’t you easily circumvent the camera and video shutdown by just putting the iPhone in Airplane mode? It’s not ideal, but if you were going to a protest or something and new that you might want to get some photos/video beforehand…

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Yeah, not at this moment it doesn’t. Just wait until every camera is required to have a special chip that detects kill signals.

(they’ve been doing this for years with our desktop printers, so the precedent is there)

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I think that technology is probably supposed to dovetail with this:

White House gives Homeland Security control of all communication systems

I suppose it’s possible Apple patented this simply to prevent it from ever being used for evil, right guys?



This story is almost a year old. Yawn.

The desperation of these companies, and the US government, in the face of public outrage over their snooping on us is a sight to behold. The spectacle of Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc., jumping over themselves to assure us that direct access doesn’t mean what we think it means, that PRISM is a name they haven’t heard, etc. is truly pathetic. Now we learn that PRISM allows the NSA to bifurcate the data feeds going to Facebook, etc., so they can record and parse what they want from the streams and direct access looks just like what we thought it was, with a very slight twist.

And now this “patent” from Apple. The patent system itself is a corrupt joke, and Apple bending over to show the government how it can control its devices for them, as if anyone who actually cares won’t figure out a way to stop this garbage. Desperation indeed…

So, if they patent it, does that mean that no other phone will be able to have this feature?
If so: great!

That patent is 5 years old. I don’t see Apple rushing to implement it.

More likely, the capabilities described in the patent apply to provisioning corporate devices. Even the “disable camera/flash in a movie theater” is not something the public would accept.

I wonder if Steve Jobs is rolling in his grave about now?

Then again, Steve Jobs died years after this patent was submitted and was known to work with the NSA in the past. So, who knows…?

Time will tell… time will tell…

“Nothing to see here”

The public would be about as likely to accept that as it would be to accept torture and indiscriminate mass surveillance.


JWZ provides some perspective:

TLDR: the story is highly misleading.

I am opposed to letting the police block our cameras and connectivity. but not opposed to the technology per se. There are times – like in locker rooms – where we expect and have a right to privacy.

We should ban specific uses of a technology, not the technology itself. It is hard to think of examples of technologies without some useful purpose – perhaps torture devices are one.

there are laws which already cover such activity as you’ve mentioned.

The only new thing this lets someone do is prevent Joe Citizen from documenting something big and bad that the government does not want seen by Joe Citizens facebook friends.

And that’s not okay.