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Apple Creating Tamper-resistant Camera Indicator for AR Headset Privacy

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Apple is working on a tamper-resistant recording light indicator system that could allow people around an “Apple Glass” or VR headset user to know if they are being filmed.

The company on Thursday filed for two patent applications detailing external recording indicators, which are already used on devices like the MacBook Pro.

However, the patent applications specifically name Apple AR or Apple VR devices and detail systems that could make tampering harder.

According to the patent, the goal of the technology is to let people in an environment know if they are being recorded by an “Apple Glass”-type device.

The system includes various mechanisms that could make surreptitious recording impossible.

For example, an “Apple Glass” device could sport an LED recording indicator that lights up if video recording is enabled. Like the camera light on a MacBook, this is an easy way of signaling that the camera is currently in use.

However, a person could simply put tape over the light on a MacBook Pro to block it. Similarly, head-worn devices have their specific concerns when it comes to covert recording.

As such, Apple has detailed a way to ensure that the recording indicator lights can’t be tampered with or covered.

One of the patents, titled “External Recording Indicators,” details a system that could analyze a pattern of encrypted visible light from a recording indicator. If that light pattern isn’t detected, the recording would be disabled.

The actual recording indicators could also be positioned around a camera’s lenses in a way that makes covering them difficult.

In both that patent application and another titled “Recording indicators,” Apple imagines another method of ensuring that recording isn’t taking place.

For example, both patents talk about a modular component that could be required for video recording.

The system could require a modular “key” to be attached to an AR device before recording is enabled.

The simple presence of the modular device could signal to people surrounding an AR device user that recording is taking place.


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