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

FLIR Restructures Security Division on Aug 22, 2017
FLIR's goal was once to have a single end-to-end security solution. However, FLIR's Security business unit has been struggling, with several areas...
Honeywell Total Connect 2.0 Tested on Aug 22, 2017
Honeywell is one of the biggest brands in security, with Total Connect 2.0 being the company's remote security and smarthome platform. We bought...
IP Camera Cabling Testing Statistics on Aug 22, 2017
Test and certify, or crimp and pray? Some integrators certify every cable they run, while others only inspect cables that have video issues. 130...
Dahua 4K IR PTZ Tested on Aug 21, 2017
4K has made its way to IR PTZs. In this report, we examine the Dahua 6AE830VNI, a 4K PTZ with 30x optical zoom, 200m (~650') integrated IR, and...
Top Used License Plate Capture Cameras on Aug 21, 2017
Capturing license plates is a common video surveillance application. But what cameras do integrators mostly commonly used? Special purpose LPC...
VLAN For Video Surveillance Usage Statistics on Aug 21, 2017
VLANs (see our tutorial) are an option for networks using video surveillance, but how often are they actually used? 125+ integrators told us how...
Avigilon CEO Attacks Asian Companies Cyber Insecurity on Aug 18, 2017
Avigilon CEO is taking aim at their Asian competitors. And he is going directly after these company's cyber security issues. In this note, we...
Sony Next Gen HD Dome Camera Tested (SNC-EM642R) on Aug 18, 2017
Sony has released their latest generation, claiming improved WDR and low light, increased IR range, and more. We tested the SNC-EM642R outdoor IR...
IP Networking Course September 2017 on Aug 17, 2017
This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals plus it includes live training, personal help and...
Knightscope Raises $10 Million With $3,320 Average Per Investor on Aug 17, 2017
Congrats to Knightscope. And condolences to their legion of little investors. Knightscope has disclosed they have raised $10+ million from their...

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