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 (7): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Most Recent Industry Reports

Vivotek Favorability Results on Jan 20, 2017
Financially, Vivotek is doing relatively well. The company did ~$130 million in 2015 revenue and 2016 revenue (through Q3 reported) was up more...
PR Firm: Don't Scrap PR Spending on Jan 20, 2017
PR is not dying, warns pleads PR firm. Take 40+ year old industry PR firm LRG, who recently lamented the 'misconceptions' that: Traditional PR...
Getting Started With Your IPVM Membership on Jan 20, 2017
Here's how to get started and get the most out of your IPVM membership. Books for Members All members can download the 3 member-only books below...
Jim Cramer Sucks Up To Knightscope on Jan 19, 2017
Credit must be given to Knightscope. They are raising money right now and despite their $80 million pre-money valuation against a lowly sub $1...
ADT Launches Canopy - Professional Monitoring For DIY Devices on Jan 19, 2017
The intrusion industry has criticized DIY security systems for years, claiming systems like Canary or Scout cannot match professionally installed...
Dahua (Un)Favorability Results on Jan 19, 2017
Dahua, the mega-Chinese surveillance manufacturer not primarily owned by the Chinese government has been trying to break out of the shadow of...
Paxton Hosted Access - Disruptive Low Dealer Pricing on Jan 19, 2017
Paxton is entering the hosted access game, with BLU, at a cost that is a fraction of key competitors. The different approach could be very...
Geovision Launches Direct Cloud Offering on Jan 18, 2017
Add cloud, subtract integrator. Geovision has launched myGVcloud, an offering that allows consumers to buy cameras and cloud services directly...
Anixter / Bosch Sells Direct to Amazon on Jan 18, 2017
Anixter regularly says they do not sell direct to end users or that they do not do it anymore. However, over the past year, Anixter has sold Bosch...
Smart Power Tools For Security Installs on Jan 18, 2017
Installing a smart camera? Perhaps you should use a 'smart' drill. The intelligent appliance / IoT trend has hit power tools. In this note, we...

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