BlackBerry patent for a camera disabling mechanism

In order to prevent visitors or staff from taking pictures in restricted areas, Research In Motion has filed a patent for a camera disabling system in mobile phones. The application includes different solutions to limit the use of a camera (by deactivating it, or by preventing the cover lens from opening) in such predefined zones, where taking photographs is prohibited.

One way to achieve that, is by using a removable key. It could be “a pin with detectable physical characteristics required to activate” or deactivate picture taking. Another idea is for the key to be a programmable chip/card, which to have information recorded on it, required to activate/deactivate the camera. Such a pin, can also be used, to prevent the camera lens cover from opening and with a security tag attached to it, it will be apparent if it has been tampered with. Also, in such work/company areas, the employees could be obliged to connect their devices to a cradle(or a cable of some sort), which to disable the integrated camera.

The non-physical solution includes the use of a GPS and/or a wireless network access. Data, pinpointing the geo boundaries of the restricted area can be stored on the device and compared to its current location via the GPS or wireless network. If it identifies the cameraphone as positioned within those coordinates, the camera will be automatically deactivated, by software previously loaded on the device.If a software application  has been preloaded on a phone (think the Remote Admin type), a third party (company management) can use it, to disable the camera for a certain period of time. This could be helpful when attending a confidential meeting for example.

We will keep you updated on any future developments.

source: FCC via EngadgetMobile

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