In the wake of things like the Prince Harry photos from his Vegas trip and the Wiki Leaks scandal where important United States documents were released, are there just some locations and times too sensitive for cell phones? Apple thinks so. No, it isn’t that Apple is taking over the technology world and your smartphone. Apple has been granted a patent that would render cell phones useless if the user enters a highly sensitive area for mobile photo or video.
Here is Apple’s argument:
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. The result is that these wireless devices can often annoy, frustrate, and even threaten people in sensitive venues. For example, cell phones with loud ringers frequently disrupt meetings, the presentation of movies, religious ceremonies, weddings, funerals, academic lectures, and test-taking environments. Source complex.com
Sure, this patent could prove useful in certain situations. For instance, some Hollywood executives are happy about this technology because it could help protect their copyrighted material. Another example given is that it could help teachers combat cheating in the classroom and maybe even bullying in the school setting. In many instances, I am sure that the United States government could use the technology to keep classified information private. But, there can also be many negative implications too.
What about free speech and constitutional rights? Are there some implications there? What about apart from the United States in foreign countries where cell phones and social media have become a key part of protests, like in Syria? If these foreign governments can simply use this newly patented Apple technology to squash all opposition, are their human rights issues attached to the debate?
As you can see from the above, there are still many questions on both sides of the debate that will need to be answered or dealt with. What do you think? Is the potential use of this patented technology a violation of your constitutional rights or a step in the right direction to protect all of us in a highly saturated tech world? Only time will tell.
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Image courtesy of Idea Go & Grant Cochrane