Bill Gates Applies for Anti-Camera Technology Patent

Author: Carlton Purvis, Published on Apr 24, 2014

Cameras are going up everywhere, so it was only a matter of time until people would anticipate a market for anti-camera technology. There’s already hundreds of forums online dedicated to spotting cameras, beating them or just destroying them. But in the future there may be a commercial product to help avoid them, brought to you by a group of inventors that includes Bill Gates.

The Patent

Last month, a group of inventors including Bill Gates, filed a patent application for an “Unauthorized Viewer Detection System and Method." The system is for detecting cameras and alerting a user of their presence.

From the patent’s summary:

“Many times a person is watching some video or viewing some content on an electronic display device that he does not want others to know he is viewing. However, due to the nature of viewing an electronic display device, he may never know when a collateral viewer is intruding on his content. Because he may not be aware that other persons or devices are looking at his electronic display device, his sensitive content may be viewed by others without his permission. Thus, there is a need for improved systems and methods of detecting intruding viewers of electronic displays and automatically editing content accordingly.”

The technology would adjust the content on a user’s device (cell phone, tablet, iPod, ATM machine) based on the presence of a camera as detected by the camera on a device:

How It Would Detect Nearby Camera

Here is how the patent says it would detect cameras:

“Utilizing a sensor (e.g. a camera attached to the device, radar sensor, micropower impulse radar (MIR), light detection and ranging technology, microphone, ultrasonic sensor, infrared sensor, near-infrared (NIR) sensor, or any other sensor that is capable of measuring the range and/or position of objects) the intruder or camera may be detected...”

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

An illustration from the patent:

Doing this consistently, of course, is easier said than done, especially automatically, in a small form factor, unobtrusive to the user, who presumably is not focused solely on spotting nearby cameras (e.g., see Sweep For Hidden Cameras And Listening Devices?).

How it Would Protect Against Viewing

Based on the “visibility envelope” the screen on a table (or other device), the detecting technology will use an algorithm based on the location of the camera to determine its ability to see the screen or not. If the algorithm thinks a camera can see the screen, it will modify the display so its obscured.

This is the flow chart of how it would work:

Possible Reception

A device like this could be popular if it could actually be made, operated without much intervention and was affordable. For people who absolutely hate cameras it could make them feel more secure. For example, there is an app for Google Glass, called Watch Your Privacy, shows Glass users where cameras are based on an existing database and estimates the camera's field of view. However, unlike this patent, that app depends on manual records of known cameras.

Doubtful

Gate's involvement and the growing dissatisfaction with Google 'glassholes' make this a popular news story. However, like most patent applications, actually delivering something that works and delivers value for this type of scenario is technically quite difficult and unlikely to be delivered.

Comments (6) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Most Recent Industry Reports

Alexa Guard Expands Amazon's Security Offerings, Boosts ADT's Stock on Sep 21, 2018
Amazon is expanding their security offerings yet again, this time with Alexa Guard that delivers security audio analytics and a virtual "Fake...
UTC, Owner of Lenel, Acquires S2 on Sep 20, 2018
UTC now owns two of the biggest access control providers, one of integrator's most hated access control platforms, Lenel, and one of their...
BluePoint Aims To Bring Life-Safety Mind-Set To Police Pull Stations on Sep 20, 2018
Fire alarm pull stations are commonplace but police ones are not. A self-funded startup, BluePoint Alert Solutions is aiming to make police pull...
SIA Plays Dumb On OEMs And Hikua Ban on Sep 20, 2018
OEMs widely pretend to be 'manufacturers', deceiving their customers and putting them at risk for cybersecurity attacks and, soon, violation of US...
Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout on Sep 20, 2018
Hikvision has their high-end dual-sensor DarkfighterX. Axis has their high-end concealed IR Q6125-LE. Which is better? We bought both and tested...
Avigilon Announces AI-Powered H5 Camera Development on Sep 19, 2018
Avigilon will be showcasing "next-generation AI" at next week's ASIS GSX. In an atypical move, the company is not actually releasing these...
Favorite Request-to-Exit (RTE) Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 19, 2018
Request To Exit devices like motion sensors and lock releasing push-buttons are a part of almost every access install, but who makes the equipment...
25% China Tariffs Finalized For 2019, 10% Start Now, Includes Select Video Surveillance on Sep 18, 2018
A surprise move: In July, when the most recent tariff round was first announced, the tariffs were only scheduled for 10%. However, now, the US...
Central Stations Face Off Against NFPA On Fire Monitoring on Sep 18, 2018
Central stations are facing off against the NFPA over what they call anti-competitive language in NFPA 72, the standard that covers fire alarms....
Hikvision USA Starts Layoffs on Sep 18, 2018
Hikvision USA has started layoffs, just weeks after the US government ban was passed into law. Inside this note, we examine: The important...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact