“Police forces around the world have had the problem that when their officers get a bit carried away and start pepper spraying tied captives there is someone on hand filming the event on their mobile phones,” techeye.net reports, tongue firmly in cheek. “While six police lay into prone grannies on the floor with long batons, the pictures can be on the net in seconds, meaning supervisors have to answer embarrassing questions. But they may not need to fear scrutiny much longer – Apple has patented a piece of technology which would allow government and police to block transmission of information, including video and photographs, whenever they like. All the coppers have to do is decide that a public gathering or venue is deemed ‘sensitive’, and needs to be ‘protected from externalities’ and Apple will switch off all its gear. The police can then get on with the very difficult task of kettling protesters without having to worry about a few beating anyone to death.” Or shooting dogs. Or children. Or violating civil rights. Or anything much, really. This is an enormous setback to attempts to roll-back the police militarization that has edged America closer to a police state. At least until someone makes an app to disable the disablers . . . [h/t BW]

100 Responses to Apple Enables Police Militarization

  1. This seems like a very perverse reading of the patent. Is there any evidence that Apple has implemented this functionality?

    • They just filed the patents etc. Give them time. Apple needs hammered for implementing ways to violate the 1st Amendment in several of the 5 parts.

  2. I used to take great joy in coming to work and making fun of the tin-foil hat wearing, Infowars reading, Prison Planet Watching loon in the next office.

    I’d tell him all the time, come on Chip, the government is not listening to your phone calls, or scanning your email, or tracking where you are with surveilance cameras that recognize license plates, or executing American Citizens without trail in drone strikes. That stuff doesn’t happen in America.

    Except now it does. When suddenly the loons seem like the voice of reason we have gone off the rails. I don’t know that we can make America a Consitutional Republic ever again. As long as the peasants are satisfied with bread and circuses who gives a damn about their Consitutional Rights. Just ask Joe Biden.

    BTW since I’m pretty sure the NSA is reading this: FOAD.

    • TO: LTC F
      RE: Heh

      You thought we were ‘loons’?

      Did you do a core dump from CGSC when you got your diploma?

      Or are you naturally dumber than dirt?

      Regards,

      Chuck(le)
      [God is alive….and Airborne-Ranger qualified.]

      P.S. So am I……

      LTC, IN (Ret)

    • “I’d tell him all the time, come on Chip, the government is not listening to your phone calls, or scanning your email, or tracking where you are with surveilance cameras that recognize license plates, or executing American Citizens without trail in drone strikes. That stuff doesn’t happen in America.
      Except now it does.”

      Even a broke watch is right twice a day. If Infowars was making shit up out of their loonybin mentally deranged mind about Government listening to all phone calls, and then later, the government actually does it… Does that make infowars correct in what they were claiming? or coincidentally right for the wrong reasons.

      If you make up a story at random, does it make you correct if happenstance shows you made up a story that turned out to be true for other reasons than you claimed?

      So if a story is true, and Infowars is running with it along with some others.
      Go with citing the others, NOT infowars.
      Alex Jones and his bullshit is the “boy who cried wolf.”
      Alex Jones may be right about the government listen to our calls and reading our mail. But not because of some Anti-American liberal who got elected to the white House. But because according to him, Lizard people from the Hollow Earth are controlling the world’s governments.
      So yeah. Even if the story is true, ANYONE quoting from his websites… automatically are derided as delusional.

      • While I agree with you in general… I do suggest a caution with such a general and heartfelt opinion… no story from history, no myth from the past, and no “tin hat” conspiracy theory doesn’t start with a seed of truth… Info wars is akin to the old National Inquirer…what starts with a blurry photo that might could be Bigfoot does show something. The other side of the problem is the simple fact that if you tell a story long enough… people start to believe it. Once they believe, attacking the subject attacks them and you get an emotional response. Emotion sets the belief deeper and deeper in stone….

  3. Ill believe it when 9to5mac posts it. Until then, I’ve had to research who the hell techeye was. It almost sounded like satire. (The onion…etc).

    I highly doubt this is correct and a simple first amendment suit (since the founding fathers totes knew about smartphones and the Internet back then, that’s why the first amendment covers it. “OMFG These Brits” – G DuB WaSHingtOnnnnnnn) should simply quell this.

    If not, adios smartphones. I’m going back to smoke signals.

    • The Bill of Rights is actually ingenious because it doesn’t mention technology but what tech is used for. That is why the 2nd says to “bear and keep arms” not what kind. Banning swords could be argued as violating the 2nd.

      • Right on, Phoenix.

        I just drove by your city after staying in Bison Ranch. Lots of good places to shoot up there off of the 260. After a few days, I have a sneaky suspicion that AZ cares about freedom a whole lot more than CA.

        • I liked visiting Arizona. I visited my cousin during Christmas and we didn’t open any presents, we went and shot guns in the desert. Much more fun!

  4. I have to agree with BEANFIELD, android is the way to go, as an open source platform EVERYONE can make changes as needed and you have none of the insane issues as with Apple

    I moved all portable platforms to Android 2 years ago and all works smoother with less problems than I had with Apple products…..No More Icrap for me.

    Just my $.02

  5. Android is known for having much more malware than apple products. I don’t have the facts in front of me but google it.

    Open source can sometimes be a problem. I’m not an elitist apple jerk, I just wanted a phone that could reliably work, was simple to use, and I didn’t have to worry about quang jiao from Hong Kong hacking into it and watching me video chat with my family (yeah, that CAN happen on an android. I’m not saying it has)

    • I disagree. Apple is just good at down playing it. I did some research after my itunes account had $400+ charged onto my debit card even though Ive only spent $2 on it and haven’t logged in for atleast a year.

      • Hacking your iTunes account is not the same as hacking an iPhone. You can access your iTunes account from a PC as well as from a device and getting malware onto a PC is far easier than on any mobile device. You could have also have been the victim of password guessing depending on the complexity of the password.

        So far (and only so far) Apple’s products have proved more resistant to hacking attempts than Android. Apple may try to play things down, but there are hundreds of journalists just waiting to pounce on a big Apple hacking story. The fact that there have not been too many as of yet suggests that for the moment the Apple stuff is more secure. That will likely change down the road, but Android will likely always be easier to write malware for because the full source is available for anyone to review and when something gets as complex as today’s device OSes are, they will be hacked.

        • Yep. Guessing a password that is “password” is not hacking.

          Brute forcing a 14 character upper/lower case with symbols an numbers….is.

      • Same here. Same amount. A few years ago. The hacker bought gift certificates and Apple/ITunes refused to disclose who they went to, other than someone in the UK, and I was SOL.

    • You wanna know how open source platforms work? Think Windows NT, Windows ME, or Windows Vista. Or Windows 8.

      And you’ll never realize how truly bad Windows is until you use Mac OSX.

  6. Can’t image Apple with a demographic of young people would be inclined to block videos/photos due to political pressure. It’s too easy to work around blocking with a small video camera.

  7. We can only hope that the masked thug had his nose broke when the citizen slammed the door in his face.

  8. A quick search turns up a lot of results that say that this is real. Most of them are from last year, but it looks legit to me. I’m glad I haven’t given Apple any money in several years, and I see no need to change that. Screw them.

  9. Uuuuhhh… so like I can transmit once I’m out of the zone of effect…these jammers have a limited range or you run the risk of shutting down whole blocks of businesses… which would interupt the flow of funds to the politicals who authorized the Po-pos to do it in the first place. Attack the purse strings!

    • The “jammers” available for sale until two years ago legally are now not legal for use. No more jamming the guy at the next table just because he’s a loud @ss. The police can still do it at close range. Apple’s concept is a system signal. It’s really just an extension of the trick that let’s them find your stolen phone for you, but on a massive scale. Your service co’s can knock out video transfer automatically today by tower.

      As the new season of “Breaking Bad” begins, I had to laugh when everybody’s desk drawer, the attorney, Hank, etc., visibly had fifteen or so cell phones, mostly burners. The message? Burners are the new throw-down taped J-Frames. Ah, tech. NSHey, we hardly knew ya’.

  10. It should be noted that the tech being patented could be applied to any phone. This is not an Apple specific product. IF the technology were to be implemented and brought to market its could be sold to LE agencies to block transmission from any brand of phone.

    It should also be noted that there is actually no mention of blocking the capability of recording an event, just the immediate upload of the data as communications would be blocked. I can only assume that the hope would be to confiscate the devices before such and upload could happen. Good luck with that.

    • Yes, It does mention it. At least in the article.

      Second from last paragraph.

      “The policies would be activated by GPS, and wi-fi or mobile base-stations, which would ring-fence (“geofence”) around a building or a “sensitive area” to prevent phone cameras from taking pictures or record video.”

      • That’s what airplane-mode is for. Shuts 3G/LTE, GPS and WiFi off, so you could record all you want, leave the area and then transmit it. Either that or jailbreak the iPhone and have complete control over it. You need to do the equivalent on Android (root) to be able to have the same granularity of control on that platform as well.

        • The network you use won’t matter
          Switching to airplane mode will have no effect, this patent is for a device to send an IR signal to your phone. The signal interfaces with the software in the phone to turn on/ off components.

          That means your camera won’t even record. You won’t be able to record and upload later.

          The patent does not specify a power level or range for the IR emitter, but does include a method to set the boundary of the IR.

          I couldn’t find any info on an actual product, but since its apple, that doesn’t say much.

          How to defeat this?

          Use a regular , non smartphone camera. It only works if the camera has the software to enable the turn on/off. So for it to work on Android or Windows, the software would need to be developed and implemented.
          Use a feature phone, those semi smart phones that don’t use IOS or Android.

          Find the range of the IR emitter, and move back.

          It seems likely you could block the IR signal with a box of Lexan plastic around your camera. The GoPro has a similar box, and would not be affected by this technology.

          Possible standing behind the thick window of a nearby store could also block the IR.

          Find the IR emitter and hit it with a balloon filled with nail polish.
          Nail polish blocks IR. I would go for pink.
          If the signal is not strong, you might be able to use a clear plastic umbrella to shield your phone.

          Jail break and remove the piece of software that uses the IR signal.

          The DoD is very serious about IR, they have lots of expensive Electronic counter measures for IR.

          http://Www.Intermatstealth. Makes all kinds of IR blockers for special forces.

        • Where do you get this IR crap? I see nothing whatsoever in the patent about this system being actuated via IR. In fact, the word ‘infrared’ only appears one time in the entire document, and that’s in the definitions section. The patent talks about GPS, and network traffic, but makes no mention of IR at all. That renders your entire set of “instructions” stupid and meaningless, and I think it was all just written so that you could spam the address of that company. Please peddle your nonsense elsewhere.

  11. While I’m sure the Android folks are feeling very superior right about now, keep in mind that further up the food chain (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc) they can limit transmission from *EVERY* phone by either killing a cell tower(s) or restricting it to certain ESNs.

    • I have T-Mobile prepaid and their customer service people flat out told me that you get access to more towers with a contract. Frankly, T-Mobile is grabage. I dont get service outside of major cities and sometimes even in major cities.

      • T Mobiles customer service told you that to get you to buy a contract. Look at the service maps before your choose a phone company. They’re surprisingly accurate.

  12. Another reason not to buy Apple or said generics. I guess government contracts bring in more money than the civilian market does.

    • There are no “generics” of the iPhone. It’s either an iPhone or it’s not. Apple does not license it’s OS for other platforms like Google does with Android.

  13. Here is the patent’s abstract:
    Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device
    US 8254902 B2
    ABSTRACT
    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. <<<(My Emphasis)

    You can read the whole patent, assigned to Apple, here:
    http://www.google.com/patents/US8254902

    While this doesn't seem as if it was intended to allow the police /govt to blackout your communication devices it can and will be used that way eventually.

    Bottom line:
    You can just get used to the idea that the government will do anything it wants and then try to obfuscate, stonewall, deny, diminish and misdirect when they get busted.
    Might as well face the fact that this ISN'T the America you were taught about is school.
    If this (hopefully) pisses you off then, join your local Tea Party and support candidates that will spoil big brother's plans.

  14. I wish people would stop linking to that video of the college kids getting pepper sprayed. The kids deserved it. They were illegally trespassing on the college property, and when asked to leave, they ganged up on the police and threatened them. They were asked, multiple times, to disperse, and it was only after considerable restraint was shown by the police were they pepper sprayed.

    • considerable restraint was shown by the police

      That’s not “considerable restraint.” Considerable restraint is when a cop steals just half a drug dealer’s narcotics or only wounds one woman delivering newspapers.

      • Actually, it was. Given how the police asked several times to be let go, and for the protestors to move aside to let them [the police] leave. It wasn’t until 3 or 4 requests that the pepper spray came out and each was told that unless they moved they’d be sprayed.

    • Know what would have worked better than OC spray?

      Ignoring them. These twerps do this nonsense to attract attention. Don’t give them what they want.

      It’s like the animal “rights” women and their nude protests. If no one gawped at some woman who is running around topless in the “cause” of “animal rights,” they’d stop doing it. They do it because it’s a predictable way to gain attention.

      As a rapidly aging male, I find that I can wind these types of young women (the ones who like to use their assets to gain attention) up like a top. All I need do is casually glance in their direction, shrug my shoulders and say “Meh, I’ve seen better,” and go back to doing what I was doing, even if it wasn’t that exciting.

      Here, the only thing necessary would have been for people to walk around them.

      Ignore them. Don’t give them press, don’t give them credence. If asked by the press for a reaction, just say “Well, children do occasionally throw their precious little tantrums.”

      Cops respond in this manner (and get recorded) because they’re as predictable as Pavlov’s dog.

      • In this particular situation, the protesters had the police blocked and surrounded. Ignoring them would not have worked.

      • Indeed it’s not considerable restraint, when you’re 8-10 police and there’s at least a hundred people around you. I don’t care how good you are in self-defense, you’re getting bum-rushed at that point and mobbed.

  15. Considering Apples market saturation with their iPhone brand,pretty soon they’ll be passing RIM on the way into the cellular dustbin.

    • Until very recently, apple was the ONlY company to have market share growth compared to Samsung, htc, lg, and other android phone manufacturers. Recently Samsung and to an extent htc have posted gains, partially due to apple being stagnant in innovation. That could change soon.

  16. Maybe, just maybe, they have developed this tech and gotten the patent but have no plans to release it to anyone. With the patent in place no one else can spread this kind of tech anytime soon. Even if this was the case however I still don’t like Apple.

    • The stupidity, it burns. I feel like I was there, getting pepper sprayed.

      Half those chanting morons are there simply to feel like they’re a part of something, not because they feel passionately about… whatever.

      • That same bunch of “innocent victims” will be at the next maig rally demanding action.

        Before most of the people that are calling out police militarization were born we had people like Bull O’conner turning fire hoses, dogs and tear gas with a follow up of hickory sticks on people for wanting their civil rights. Nowadays we wet our pants at pepper spray.

    • “The Reynoso report was finally released on April 11, 2012. The report found that “Lieutenant Pike’s use of force in pepper spraying seated protesters was objectively unreasonable,” and that ‘the evidence does not provide an objective, factual basis for Lt. Pike’s purported belief that he was trapped, that any of his officers were trapped, or that the safety of their arrestees was at issue.'”

      Ya see, skunks aren’t the only animal that can use a noxious spray. Pigs can do it too.

  17. Wait — you mean that the same G that spies on its own citizens and then shoots them and their household pets might even block lawful transmissions of information? Is that what you’re trying to say?

    This is my shocked face. 🙁

  18. Let us all be glad that Android is kicking Apple’s ass, at least in terms of numbers.

    The core of the Linux movement — including Android — is that information wants be free.

    I suspect that Windows ‘phones will also continue to work. 1A shall continue, almost unabated. Hell, it’d make one Hell of a commercial, but it’ll most likely not happen.

  19. But is this true? Have you seen the patent? Have you asked Apple to comment?

    Russia Today is your only source on this.

    Get back to me when you have some facts.

    In the meantime, take Journalism 101.

  20. I knew this was fishy. You post an article whose only source is actually from a year ago ( http://rt.com/news/apple-patent-transmission-block-408/ ) Now you may recognize RT.com (Russia Today) as Russian site that loves batshit crazy conspiracy theories that serve jabs against America. Not only that, but RT.com are a bunch of statists who spew whatever propaganda the Kremlin wishes. Just look at their propaganda during the Georgian Sourth Ossetian conflict

    In anycase. You are reporting utter crap. A year old tabloid story from a site that makes stuff up. And absolutely no sources other than the rt article. By default, I tend to not believe stories that come from disreputable sources, unless I have good reason to. Could this story be true? Maybe. But then again bat-boy could be true.

    • TO: cg23sailor
      RE: Credibility, Anyone?

      And you just lost mine.

      Regards,

      Chuck(le)
      [Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.]

    • Do an independent search on any and all Infowars articles of your choosing. FLAME DELETED

      Then get back to us, k?

  21. TO: All
    RE: Apple’s Connivance

    I’ve been complaining about this sort of behavior at Apple since they went to OS X.

    I worked the White Pages Computer Lab for USWest—a Fortune 100 company—in the mid-90s to 2003.

    Under OS 9, I could tell who was on my systems. After OS X, I couldn’t tell who was snooping about. I complained to Apple about that and it fell on deaf ears.

    Now, I go to my work station at 1 or 2 am and hear the cooling fan roaring like crazy….for no obvious reason.

    Pardon my professionally inculcated—27 years in the infantry and CSGC grad—paranoia, but there, to paraphrase Shakespeare, “There is something rotten in Apple”.

    And it’s become more and more apparent with the passing of Steve Jobs.

    I suspect the government is giving them BIG BUCKS to become part of the police state that we are rapidly going to.

    The new CEO is going to have to do a LOT of ‘tap-dancing’ before the Judgment Seat, when he faces his final Judge.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [If you’re not ‘paranoid’, it’s because you’re not paying attention.]

  22. TO: All
    RE: No Transmission Allowed

    This is straight out of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six.

    It makes sense. BUT as it does block transmission in the immediate area…..

    [1] Does it block transmission from ANYWHERE?
    [2] Does it block recording?

    Important questions, that should be answered.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [The Truth will out….one way or another….]

  23. What a load of shit. This isn’t even portable technology, and it’s not DESIGNED for ‘police militarization.’ It’s designed for movie theaters to be able to stop people from talking on the phone. It doesn’t disable the camera, doesn’t stop people from recording, it’s a patent not a product, and it’s old news anyway.

    Meanwhile, the NSA is contributing code to Android, and the DEA is complaining that they can’t eavesdrop on Apple iMessages.

    BTW, new ‘radio’ technology enables militarization of the police by allowing them to communicate, and ‘internal combustion engine’ technology allows them to use _vehicles_ to move from one place to another.

    Jesus.

  24. One motivation for this technology is to disarm IEDs such as were used against us in Iraq and Afghanistan. That said, it wouldn’t hurt to carry your own pocket camera. And if technology doesn’t stop becoming so nosy, people will actually start writing letters and using film again.

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