Apple's Patently Bad Idea
Apple has patented a piece of technology which would allow government and police to block transmission of information, including video and photographs, from any public gathering or venue they deem "sensitive", and "protected from externalities."
In other words, these powers will have control over what can and cannot be documented on wireless devices during any public event. And while the company says the affected sites are to be mostly cinemas, theaters, concert grounds and similar locations, Apple Inc. also says "covert police or government operations may require complete ‘blackout' conditions."
There are no doubt good and legitimate uses for this technology. And then there is the ability to use this tech for evil, to foreclose the ability to video cops doing bad things, for example. But like so many uses of tech, it's largely perceived by the public as good or evil based on promotional rhetoric.
"Additionally," Apple says," the wireless transmission of sensitive information to a remote source is one example of a threat to security. This sensitive information could be anything from classified government information to questions or answers to an examination administered in an academic setting."
How great is that! This tech can thwart threats to our national security! Nobody wants our national security threatened. That would be unAmerican. So how would this defender of our national security work?
Apple patented the means to transmit an encoded signal to all wireless devices, commanding them to disable recording functions.
Those policies would be activated by GPS, and WiFi or mobile base-stations, which would ring-fence ("geofence") around a building or a "sensitive area" to prevent phone cameras from taking pictures or recording video.
Pretty cool, right? Create a "geofence" around anything sensitive and there's no way a smartphone can record it and send it off to Russia. Or China. Or Youtube. And who would control this magic?
Apple may implement the technology, but it would not be Apple's decision to activate the "feature" – it would be down governments, businesses and network owners to set such policies, analyzes ZDNet technology website.
After all, Apple is in the inventing cool stuff business, not in the defending the nation from threats business. That would be a government job. At least we can all take comfort in knowing that the government would never use this technology to silence the recording of wrongdoing or things done by those "few bad apples" that would otherwise appear swiftly on the internet and alert the rest of us to what our government is up to.
It's been a great ride, watching videos of cops lying and government malfeasance on the interwebz. Hope you enjoyed it. But with the help of Apple, the Halcyon days are over. Just as it was before, it never happened until there was video. And then the government flips the switch and activates this geofence, it will never have happened again, and we can get back to a society were cops do no wrong and never lie.
Thanks, Apple. Got any more cool, shiny things in store for us?