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Old June 30th, 2016 #1
News Bot
Post Apple patents technology to disable iPhone cameras at live events

In a worrying move, Apple has patented technology that’ll allow venues to disable people’s iPhone cameras at live events. Benedict Cumberbatch will be pleased.

With social media comes the possibility — nay, the expectation — of sharing everything you experience with the world. Whether it’s a fancy dinner, a concert, a sports game, a movie or a theater performance, you want to prove that you’ve been there. Sometimes, you want to broadcast your experience live, allowing friends and fellow fans to share the moment with you.

Not only do phones now come with HD cameras, but apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Periscope encourage users to stream and document experiences as they happen.

This is great for the global online community, and bad for the entertainment industry, which is finding it almost impossible to combat pirating of shows and movies (we’re sure there are Hamilton and Cursed Child bootlegs out there, for example).

Further, many artists — including Benedict Cumberbatch and Adele — have expressed their annoyance at our generation’s tendency to experience everything through their phone screens, focusing on taking pictures and video to share later rather than the performance happening right in front of them.

Venues have long been fighting to combat what The Huffington Post calls, “annoying smartphone behavior,” and as a proud member of the pre-digital Millennial generation, this writer can personally attest to longing for the days in which we were able to be physically present in real life, as opposed to always sticking our noses in our phones and disappearing into the interwebz.

Now, presumably in an effort to appease disgruntled artists, and to assist venues in clamping down on phone photography in places where it has been forbidden, Apple has patented a new technology that’ll allow venues to use an infared beam to disable phone cameras.

As opposed to simply interfering with the image (which wouldn’t feel as intrusive), this technology would actually interact with the phone, and when someone attempted to use the camera, they’d get a “recording disabled” message on their screens. (Apple is also considering forcing a watermark or blur effect.)

This is one of those technology clampdown initiatives that sound well and good in theory, but obviously raise huge concerns. Speaking only about entertainment-related events now, policies vary from event to event about whether photography and filming is discouraged or expressly forbidden (resulting in the culprit’s expulsion from the theater, or even a fine).

Making this technology available to venues, presumably indiscriminately, wouldn’t necessarily mean that attendees couldn’t record whatever was happening on stage. What if they want to take selfies, or pictures of their friends, or keep in contact with loved ones? It might be considered bad form, but should venues have the right to make it impossible?

On a sidenote, this disabling also wouldn’t necessarily result in an attentive audience, as

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