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Should phones be blocked from taking photos at gigs?

Apple has been granted a new patent that would disable mobile cameras during an event

Phones at gigs: a divisive issue. Up there with the entire front row having a median height of 7ft and a floor-turned-river of beer. It can be really frustrating, on both sides of the barrier, to encounter a sea of glowing screens. According to 9to5Mac, Apple has been granted a patent that could block the camera option temporarily, putting a stop to the people who stand in the middle of a hyped crowd watching the concert through their phone.

The patent would allow iPhones to receive data from infrared transmitters, which a venue could use to disable your smartphone camera while the gig is on.

“A transmitter can be located in areas where capturing pictures and videos is prohibited (e.g. a concert or a classified facility) and the transmitters can generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes commands temporarily disabling recording functions,” the patent details.

It could be used anywhere that wanted to prohibit photos or videos: gigs, film screenings, secret reptilian/political meet-ups. But it seems like something the entertainment industry would definitely pick up on: musicians such as Alicia Keys, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Kate Bush have pleaded with audience members to put their phones down during their performances, even banning them on occasion. A San Francisco startup called Yondr provided lockable phone pouches to keep it firmly out of sight at shows in LA recently, too.

Though it may deter the distracting neon glow, it seems pretty infantilising, and disturbing that we have to go to such an extent. After all, people buy into smartphones for their multi-usage; we pay up to triple figures to attend some concerts, and we’re buying into an experience that we may want to capture a snippet of to remember in the future. So, is this a step towards enhancing the experience, or hindering it?