Google Patent Seeks to Transmit Your Cellphone Videos to Law Enforcement

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System could have nightmare implications for privacy, freedom of assembly

Paul Joseph Watson
January 31, 2014

Google has filed a patent for identifying when a “mob” event takes place by detecting when a numbergoogle-dont-be-evil of cellphone videos or photos are taken at one particular location with the intention of forwarding such information to law enforcement authorities.

“When there are at least a given number of video clips with similar time stamps and geolocation stamps uploaded to a repository, it is inferred that an event of interest has likely occurred, and a notification signal is transmitted (e.g., to a law enforcement agency, to a news organization, to a publisher of a periodical, to a public blog, etc.),” states US Patent #20140025755.

The patent raises questions about what level of remote access Google or any other company should have to your cellphone, and how such information may be abused or misinterpreted to alert authorities to ‘suspicious behavior’ which is in fact completely lawful.

Time and location data pertaining to photographs and videos is a feature which already exists in virtually all modern cellphones.

“Would only photos/videos you uploaded as publicly viewable be included into this system? Could you opt out? Could Google access the private content stored on your local device for these purposes?” asks Quentyn Kennemer.

Such a system could easily be exploited by law enforcement authorities for a multitude of reasons, including the surveillance and monitoring of protesters.

The potential threat to privacy and freedom that would be created if these kind of measures became commonplace is open ended. Back in 2012, Apple filed a patent allowing it to wirelessly disable cameras on iPhones by “forcing certain electronic devices to enter “sleep mode” when entering a sensitive area.”

Protests, political gatherings and other events at which authorities wish to prevent communication, documentation or video streaming could be turned into dead zones by creating a “geofence” around designated locations.

We have also seen preparations for giving police or government the power to impose a “blackout” on all communications during certain times because cellphones can “annoy, frustrate, and even threaten people in sensitive venues.”

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  1. A point of clarification: this is a patent application, and the actual patent has not yet been awarded. With this act, Google has registered its invention to preclude others from similar claims. The number stated begins with the year, 2014, indicating it is an application.

    When (and I’m sure it’s when, not if) the patent is awarded, it will receive a utility patent number in the 8,xxx,xxx or 9,xxx,xxx range. Right now the numbers are around 8,640,000, having begun some 180 years ago with No. 1. But the award could and usually does take a period of years after application. The USPTO will check to ensure that Google’s application doesn’t duplicate or infringe on an already existing patent or application. The scary part is if this happens, meaning that someone else already thought of transmitting bulk video information to the cops and no one noticed…


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