By Joe Levi | June 22, 2011 5:59 PM
In an effort to fight bootlegging of concerts and the snapping of unauthorized pictures in “sensitive” places, Apple has submitted a patent that would essentially allow a company (or government) the power to shut down the camera and video recording capabilities on your smartphone.
On the surface it doesn’t sound all that bad. Upon closer look, the technology could be used in more broad and overreaching ways — at least that’s what the people at Free Press and SaveTheInternet.com think.
Free Press wants you to imagine what would happen if Apple’s new patent-pending technology were to be used by repressive regimes. Thousands of people across the Middle East have used cellphone cameras to document government abuses, and potentially keep those abuses in check. This type of technology, however, could give tyrants the power and ability to stem the flow of pictures and videos from protesters and observers from reaching the outside world.
“We must stop Apple… This new camera-blocking technology is a pre-emptive strike against free speech. If activated, it would be immensely harmful to our rights to connect and communicate. … Please take action now to urge Steve Jobs to pull the plug on this censorship technology.”
What do you think? Could this technology be used by a government to prevent civilians from recording abuses of power? Should smartphone owners petition Apple against ever implementing this technology? If Apple is awarded the patent, should they hand it over to someone like the Electronic Freedom Foundation to prevent abuses by securing the patent in a liberty-friendly organization? Are you going to sign the petition? Let us know in the comments!