Editor in Chief
There is an incendiary topic starting to heat up the web right now. Apparently Apple filed a new patent that would ultimately allow them or another third party to remotely deactivate/activate your phone or even just specific features of the phone. The patent is disguised as a way to remotely deactivate your camera at concerts or other venues where someone could potentially record copyrighted material illegally.
However, the patent is much broader in scope and functionality than just that. Based upon the way it is worded, it would actually allow any third party, like a governmental agency or a corporation to remotely control your phone. In fact, specific wireless "zone hotspots" could be created in which your device automatically has certain functions shutdown when you enter that area. The implications of this patent and the potential misuse of it are staggering.
The video above goes into a bit better detail explaining it. Here is what the patent itself states,
Apparatus and methods for changing one or more functional or operational aspects of a wireless device, such as upon the occurrence of a certain event. In one embodiment, the event comprises detecting that the wireless device is within range of one or more other devices. In another variant, the event comprises the wireless device associating with a certain access point. In this manner, various aspects of device functionality may be enabled or restricted (device “policies”). This policy enforcement capability is useful for a variety of reasons, including for example to disable noise and/or light emanating from wireless devices (such as at a movie theater), for preventing wireless devices from communicating with other wireless devices (such as in academic settings), and for forcing certain electronic devices to enter “sleep mode” when entering a sensitive area.
As you can see, the patent tries to sound quite harmless, but it's not too much of a stretch to envision virtual blackout areas and a dystopian future. Of course, the intent may not be nefarious, but we thought the information was worth sharing with you so that we could hear your perspective.
Thanks to our tipster, G-Man!