Interesting little tidbit is out about Apple patenting an app that allows remote disabling via WiFi or GPS the ability for your device to transmit data. Apple claims wireless transmission of sensitive data to a remote source is a threat to security. In their opinion sensitive data could be anything from classified government data to answers to an exam administered in an academic setting to video of a police officer beating a suspect to death.
Like any bit of technology something that could be a good thing also has the potential for abuse. We live in a video world. I can understand why Apple may want to help movie producers prevent people from copying their films in cinemas. I get it that videos of theater and concert productions also infringe upon the performing artists' intellectual property. The fact is that these pirated copies are no where near as good as the real thing. I don't know anyone who buys the $5 dvd on the street. Or at least I don't know anyone who has bought more than one of them.
Intellectual property rights do have a point. I also think that if there wasn't a video of the Fruitvale Station incident, there would have been no beyond reasonable doubt proof of the murder.
Before we get ourselves worked up into a snit, it's worth noting the Apple has patented the product. There's not a lot of evidence that they are making it available to businesses or governments. (The NSA and FBI have their own app developers and they're not talking.) Andrew Gonsalves is writing about this app with some restraint. Another concern is that there are federal laws and regulations on the books that specifically forbid cell phone jamming, so; I'm not sure the app is legal. Again, no reason to get upset in advance.
Apple believes concert promoters, theater owners and corporate office managers have a need for technology that broadcasts a signal to turn off an iPhone's camera, ringer, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to prevent criminal or annoying activity. This could all be done without the user's knowledge.At this time there is no proof that this app, device (combination thereof) is in service. It's also notable that it would only be in play for Apple devices (those of you on Ice Cream Sandwich or whatever it's called these days don't need to worry).
A patent does not mean Apple would make such a product. Nevertheless, civil libertarians would prefer to stay a couple of steps ahead and have raised concerns about allowing others to take control of someone else's smartphone.
It's an interesting concept to ponder. The ability of a corporation or government entity being able to turn your phones' camera and transmission abilities off without your knowledge. Of course, then again, over the last couple of months we've been reading and hearing about this sort of thing all over the place.
My take away is this patent is simply a confirmation of what I suspected. It's not going to change my life. I'm not going into the tin foil hat business. I'm just sharing a "Wow, that's a real thing", moment.