RIM Patent Targets Sneaky Cell Phone Photographers

With most smartphones coming with front and rear-facing cameras, it's never been easier to take photos on the go, especially the kind of photos that you're trying to take on the sly. However, it seems RIM is looking out for the greater good and hoping to cut down on the number of sneaky photos being taken with cell phones. The company has applied for a patent that attempts to stop people from using their phones to take 'inconspicuous' photos.

Filed January 2013, the patent introduces the idea of camera-steady focus requirements, essentially increasing the time it takes to capture a photograph with a mobile phone. It's a simple idea that doesn't require fancy technology, however, it does sound pretty effective.

"As more handheld devices incorporate camera functionalities, organizations and individuals with privacy concerns are more vulnerable to unauthorized disclosure," RIM explained. "The camera restriction prevents a user from taking a picture of a subject if the device has not been steadily focused on the subject in question for a predetermined period of time. In short, this process extends the normal camera-taking procedure and thus requires the camera user to take pictures in a conspicuous manner--the rationale being that a camera user would be less likely to take unauthorized pictures if such actions could be easily recognized."

RIM says the camera restrictions in question can be communicated to the device via wireless network and as part of an IT policy, which should come in handy for companies worried about snap-happy spies.

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23 comments
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    Top Comments
  • Great Idea !
    As the RIM stock is not falling fast enough come up with an idea to turn off potential buyers by fiddling with the camera's performance.
    Never mind 'sneaky' photos; what about emergency situations?
    Like you witness a hit and run and want to take a quick shot of the vehicle
    that is quickly leaving the accident scene.

    Those who want to take 'sneaky' photos will still do so; they simply switch to a different phone or device.
    14
  • So now you can't take action shots? Sports photography? This is just going to cause problems.
    13
  • It's RIM way to say it want to bankrupt faster. Not that somebody goes after a Blackberry for it's camera capabilities, but this is like those intrusive DRM: the good guy will suffer while the bad guy will find an easy way.
    10
  • Other Comments
  • So now you can't take action shots? Sports photography? This is just going to cause problems.
    13
  • It's RIM way to say it want to bankrupt faster. Not that somebody goes after a Blackberry for it's camera capabilities, but this is like those intrusive DRM: the good guy will suffer while the bad guy will find an easy way.
    10
  • One of the criteria I look for in a smartphone is the ability to take a decent picture quickly. This is such a pointless feature.
    6