Spy Cam Shots The Focus Of New RIM Patent Filing
January 3, 2013

RIM Patents New System That Ends ‘Inconspicuous’ Camera Use

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Research In Motion Ltd. has patented a new system that puts an end to “inconspicuous shooting” by preventing a camera from taking pictures unless it is properly focused on the subject, according to a patent filing granted Tuesday by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The system would prevent “spy cam”-looking shots that can sometimes be the source of information leaks within a corporation.

"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,” reads the patent filing.

“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.”

The feature would be in keeping with the RIM's mission to protect businesses from security vulnerabilities such as unauthorized data access and leaks from employees.

“As more handheld devices incorporate camera functionalities, organizations and individuals with privacy concerns are more vulnerable to unauthorized disclosure,” the patent reads.

Although RIM´s high end smartphone cameras currently transition from ℠locked´ to being able to snap a picture in less than one second, the new system would allow businesses to set policies that restrict employees´ camera usage based on making the phone remain still for a pre-selected amount of time.

“The camera restriction can be communicated to the device via a wireless communication network. Additionally, the restrictions and boundaries can be communicated to the device as part of an IT security policy,” RIM said in its patent.

There is no indication that RIM will use the new system in any of its forthcoming Blackberry 10´s, set to launch in just a few weeks, although it may choose to introduce it in the future if corporate customers request the added security.