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Activists ask Apple to ditch patent for remote iPhone camera deactivation

A month ago we shared with you a patent from Apple that detailed a method by which iPhone cameras could be disabled during “sensitive events.” While the idea sounds grand for concertgoers who don’t want to see thousands of phones in the air, not everyone is on board with the idea of Apple being able to censor any sort of recording, no matter where it is.

Users of the online activist platform Care2 have started a new petition asking Apple to not put the patent to use. Not now, not ever.

While the ability to remotely disable cameras in iPhones is nothing more than a few diagrams and an abstract on paper at the moment – nor is there any proof that Apple would ever pursue the patent – concerned activists don’t want to take a chance. Instead, they want to make their voice heard by Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Related: Apple lands yet another patent for cellular connectivity in the MacBook

Inside the petition, which is titled “Tell Apple: Don’t Allow Police to Remotely Disable iPhone Cameras,” author Julie Mastrine writes:

“Imagine: you’re walking down the street when you see police officers slamming a woman to the ground. They’re exhibiting a shocking use of force — one officers pushes her face into the ground. Another sticks his knee into her back. You become worried. You pull out your phone to record the incident — only to have your camera mysteriously shut off.”

The petition goes on, adding that “the release of this technology would have huge implications, including the censoring of political dissidents, activists, and citizens who are recording police brutality.”

At the time of this article’s writing, the petition is only 400 signatures shy of its 20,000 goal.