If you are among a certain set, those who have truly grokked how brain damaged DRM is, you’ve no doubt joked about how proponents of restricting digital technologies would love to extend that reach into the environment, beyond just the access and playback of digital files. That idea has taken a massive and disturbing step closer to reality.
On June 2, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that revealed various concepts behind a newly advanced next generation camera system that could employ infrared technology. On one side, the new system would go a long way in assisting the music and movie industries by automatically disabling camera functions when trying to photograph or film a movie or concert. On the other hand, the new system could turn your iOS device into a kind of automated tour guide for museums or cityscapes as well as eventually being an auto retail clerk providing customers with price, availability and product information. The technology behind Apple’s patent application holds a lot of potential.
Cory over at BoingBoing linked to some of the coverage of this Patently Apple scoop around this patent application that emphasized the negative application. I think that emphasis is warranted, given that the positive scenario of providing context or location aware capabilities is already well doable with existing, deployed technologies like GPS, Bluetooth, AR, and most recently NFC. It hardly seems like we need an IR based technology for that end, leaving the more chilling implication of allowing venue owners and rights holders to reach into and affect the operation of your device, against your wishes.
Apple working on a Sophisticated Infrared System for iOS Cameras, Patently Apple (via BoingBoing)