Apple could soon block your device without your permission

News Stacy Warden 16:48, Aug 07 2013

Apple's transmission block could soon stop you from documenting "sensitive" events. Here's what you need to know

Apple fans are about to get a big slap in the face if the company’s patent transmission block actually goes into effect. The newly patented technology serves one purpose: to limit the information you can send. It would reportedly allow government officials to block the transmission of information including video and photos from any public gathering considered “sensitive.”

To put it simply, you will no longer be in control of what you can document with your phone during certain events. It’s supposedly meant to serve a less serious purpose, preventing people from recording information during concerts, movies and the like. But Apple has reportedly noted that “covert police or government operations may require complete ‘blackout’ conditions.”

Sounds a little ominous, don’t you think?

“Additionally, 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,” Apple added in a statement.

The patent allows Apple to transmit an encoded signal to all wireless devices which disables their recording functions. So let’s say you’re at a “sensitive” event and the police want to stop you from documenting anything you see. The transmission blocker essentially throws up a “geofence” around the designated area, rendering your phone’s camera temporarily useless.

Tech site ZDnet points out that this powerful decision wouldn’t be in Apple’s hands, but rather government officials, businesses and network owners. Still, Apple would be playing a very serious role here — and one that’s sure to stir up a good deal of mixed emotions (most of them likely bordering anger/outrage).

“As wireless devices such as cellular telephones, pagers, personal media devices and smartphones become ubiquitous, more and more people are carrying these devices in various social and professional settings,” it explains in the patent. “The result is that these wireless devices can often annoy, frustrate, and even threaten people in sensitive venues.”

Yes, the very stupid ways in which people use their smartphones can be extremely annoying, frustrating and threatening. But the the exact same thing can be said about flexing this kind of control.

What do you think? Should Apple (and officials) be granted the power to turn off certain functions of our phones in “sensitive” situations?

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