Remote shutdown for cellphone cameras

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HP has filed for a patent on a remote shutdown for digital cameras:
At least that's the way it might work if technology described by Hewlett-Packard makes it to market. A recent patent application from the computing giant describes a system in which digital cameras would be equipped with circuits that could be remotely triggered to blur the face in any images captured by the camera.

U.S. patent application 20040202382, filed in April 2003 and published in October 2004, describes a system in which an image captured by a camera could be automatically modified based on commands sent by a remote device.

In short, anyone who doesn't want their photo taken at a particular time could hit a clicker to ensure that any cameras or camera-equipped gadgets in range got only a fuzzy outline of their face.

...

An HP representative said the company had no current plans to commercialize the technology, which would require widespread adoption by camera makers and possibly government mandates to be financially practical.

Indeed. This kind of proposal basically depends on people not being able to control the software in their cameras. I can't see that happening without legislation to make it mandatory.

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4 Comments

People now already aren't able to control software in their cameras. Take cell-phone cameras for example. None of the current models allow you to turn off the "Click"-sound when you take a picture. (Another misguided "security" feature, if you ask me)

Once cellphones have nice powerful processors, this naturally leads to "real world" DRM where you can't use a digital camera to take a picture of any Officially Registered Celebrity or any trademarked logo.

Well, they can't control it easily, but they mostly don't need to. If their camera was able to be crippled by random people, they might feel differently. Certainly hard-core stalkers would...

Heh. The risk homeostasis implications are interesting. If people believe that the click sound protects them, makes it easier for the real bad guys to be sneakily taking pictures.

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