Think you own your smartphone? Think again. Apple wants to patent a kill switch technology that can detect when people are using their phone cameras and give corporations the power to shut them down.
Think that’s bad? Imagine what would happen if this tool fell into the hands of repressive regimes. Thousands of people across the Middle East have used cellphone cameras to document government abuses.
This kind of technology would give tyrants the power to stem the flow of videos and crack down on protesters with impunity.
Sign our letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs: Demand that Apple stop developing technology that harms democracy and free speech.
Apple says this new technology was designed to stop concertgoers from taking unofficial video at live events. But you can bet that governments and corporations will use it in other, more dangerous ways – to silence the voices of protesters, political opponents or anyone else they dislike.
As Steve Jobs obviously knows, smartphones have become extensions of ourselves. They are incredibly powerful tools for communication, education, political expression, community organizing and just plain fun.
Tell Steve Jobs that WE control our phones: Neither Apple nor anybody else can dictate what we photograph and film with them.
Earlier this year, researchers discovered that iPhones recorded your every move for the past year in a hidden but unprotected file. The public was outraged, and Apple soon announced that it was updating its software to better protect users.
We must stop Apple again. This new camera-blocking technology is a pre-emptive strike against free speech. If activated, it would be immensely harmful to our rights to connect and communicate.
Please take action now to urge Steve Jobs to pull the plug on this censorship technology.
Online Campaign Manager
1. “Is Apple Launching a Pre-emptive Strike Against Free Speech?” Huffington Post, June 22, 2011: http://act2.freepress.net/go/4692?akid=2596.9476696.04bkiE&t=7
2. “Got an iPhone or 3G iPad? Apple is recording your moves,” O’Reilly Radar, April 20, 2011: http://act2.freepress.net/go/4627?akid=2596.9476696.04bkiE&t=9
Today at Where 2.0 Pete Warden and I will announce the discovery that your iPhone, and your 3G iPad, is regularly recording the position of your device into a hidden file. Ever since iOS 4 arrived, your device has been storing a long list of locations and time stamps. We're not sure why Apple is gathering this data, but it's clearly intentional, as the database is being restored across backups, and even device migrations.
A visualization of iPhone location data. Click to enlarge.
What makes this issue worse is that the file is unencrypted and unprotected, and it's on any machine you've synched with your iOS device. It can also be easily accessed on the device itself if it falls into the wrong hands. Anybody with access to this file knows where you've been over the last year, since iOS 4 was released.