Apple has patented technology that will allow organisations to remotely terminate wireless transmissions and cut camera functions on iPhones.
The US patent (8254902), granted last month, would allow organisations to remotely enforce "operational policies on a wireless device upon the occurrence of a certain condition".
The technology could force devices into "sleep mode when entering a sensitive area", or into a "lockdown mode", blocking camera and video functionality to prevent "surreptitious imaging".
Apple sought to grant customers "willing to pay extra … the peace of mind associated with knowing that they are not being secretly photographed".
Apple’s patent, first spotted by CNET US, could allow policies to be triggered "upon the occurrence of a certain event", such as proximity to other devices, or connections to certain access points.
This would be useful to terminate light and sounds in a movie theatre and to block wireless communications during exams, according to the patent.
It could also be used for "covert police or government operations [that] may require complete ‘blackout’ conditions" and for airline operators to block phone access during flights and terrorist threats.