Feeds

UK firms tout camera phone blinding tech

Creates wireless privacy zones

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

A pair of British companies today teamed up to market a technology that allows camera phones or digital cameras to be disabled in a localised environment.

Iceberg Systems, a developer of Internet and mobile systems, claims its Safe Haven technology effectively prevents the misuse of camera phones. The company has appointed audio technology licensing firm Sensaura to promote Safe Haven.

In recent months, the widespread adoption of camera phones has provoked concern among child protection agencies that the technology could use by perverts to surreptitiously snap pictures of youngsters.

The increased availability of digital cameras of all types has also raised concerns about possible industrial espionage among some corporates, as evidenced by Samsung's recent decision to ban camera phones from its premises.

Meanwhile, Japanese youngsters are increasingly snapping away at magazines and books in shops, then printing out the pictures at home - all to save themselves the cover price.

David Blagden, an IP Broker at Sensaura, said that as camera phones become the norm rather than the exception, banning them will become an increasingly cumbersome approach to such problems. Sports Centres would have to collect a large number of phones and businesses concerned about camera phones would end up prohibiting many people from using mobile phones on their premises.

By contrast, Safe Haven technology allows the camera functionality of the phone or other electronic devices (such as camera PDAs, digital cameras and multi-purpose MP3 players) to be disabled without affecting any other usage of the device.

Safe Haven works by transmitting a signal in a localised environment such as a school, swimming pool, office facility or factory, which "disables the camera functionality of devices in the nearby environment", the companies claim.

The snag is that Safe Haven technology needs to be integrated at the time of manufacture into new devices or installed as a Java download update to suitable equipment already in the market.

"You need to have an approved camera," Blagden admitted, adding that the incorporation of Sade Haven technology is unlikely to affect handset prices.

Safe Haven sends out a signal announcing the presence of a wireless privacy zone. When this signal is received by the phone, it disables its imaging system. Each Safe Haven node would have a range of around 300m and cost a "few hundred dollars" (pricing is yet to be set).

Blagden was reluctant to go into much detail on the workings of the technology, so we can only guess at how easy it might be to defeat.

Sensaura and Iceberg Systems are currently in negotiation with the world's leading mobile handset manufacturers to implement the technology, along with blue chip companies, organisations and governments worldwide, they claim. The companies expect the technology to start arriving on the market from the beginning of next year. ®

Related Stories

Camera phones tempt European handset buyers
Samsung to ban camera phones
Pervert panic prompts pic phone bathing ban
Cellphone jamming scam exposed

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.