New Apple iPhone Patent Raises First Ammendment Concerns

iPhone Original/3G/4/5 by FLickr user Yutaka Tsutano Licensed Under Creative Commons

Apple recently acquired a patent  that would disable an iPhone’s camera, recording ability and even put it into sleep mode.  The patent characterizes its function as “forcing certain electronic devices to enter ‘sleep mode’ when entering a sensitive area”.  There are certainly some benefits of this feature that would make life a little less annoying.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to never enjoy a film without the interruption of someone’s cell phone?  College lectures would be silent of ringtones and it could even cut down on cheating.  While these functions appear to be harmless and even beneficial, there are serious legal questions being raised that cause some to worry about other uses of the patent.   What exactly is a sensitive area and who gets to determine this?

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