Mobile application software specialists Iceberg Systems Ltd. announced the launch of Safe HavenT a new system for controlling the use of camera phones to ensure privacy. Safe HavenT enables the establishment of wireless privacy zones to prevent the use of mobile phones, incorporating cameras in areas such as corporations, government buildings and public areas where privacy or security could be compromised by the ability to take and send photographic images or video.
Neil Mawston, Senior Analyst, Global Wireless Practice, for Strategy Analytics says; “Privacy and security issues surrounding camera phones are a growing concern for consumer and corporate users. Using technology such as ‘Safe HavenT’ to diminish localised privacy and security risks is a proactive option.”
The Technology Described
Safe HavenT comprises of a facility that sends a signal announcing the presence of a wireless privacy zone. On receiving this signal a portable imaging/data “knows” it is in a “Safe HavenT” area and automatically disables its imaging system without affecting any other functions. This means that voice, text and other functions of the phone are still usable in a Safe HavenT.
Once out of range of the Safe HavenT signal the portable image/data device automatically re-enables its imaging system. By controlling the availability of the signal within a restricted area, whether it is a school, leisure centre or a security sensitive area, wireless privacy zones can be implemented without interfering with legitimate uses of the devices.
Safe HavenT can be integrated at the time of manufacture into new devices or installed as an update to suitable equipment already in the market.
Safe HavenT is now being beta tested with a range of mobile devices. Iceberg Systems Ltd. and its partner Sensaura, the world’s largest audio IP licensing firm, are currently in talks regarding implementing the technology with the leading handset manufacturers, blue chip companies and governments around the world.
“Camera-embedded devices like camera phones represent a considerable step forward in technology however at times, they are prone to misuse.” Said Patrick Snow, Managing Director of Iceberg Systems and the conceiver of Safe HavenT. He continued, “Safe HavenT solves the serious threat to security and privacy presented by such misuse in a simple, controllable manner.”
The Safe HavenT technology is not limited to protection form camera phones intrusion, it can simultaneously prevent the use of other types of wireless imaging devices including digital cameras, camera equipped PDAs or laptops, in a wireless privacy zone.
Safe HavenT is a patent pending technology developed by Iceberg Systems in the UK, in conjunction with MPC Data (OMAP technology centre – Texas Instruments). Sensaura has been appointed to promote the technology.
Camera phones and privacy worldwide
The incorporation of cameras into cell phones giving users the ability to instantly broadcast images worldwide via the internet has caused privacy and security concerns for consumers, corporations and governments worldwide, triggering bans and restriction on usage of these devices. Italy’s Information Commissioner has recently issued strict rules governing the use of picture phones, Australian courts are considering a ban to protect witnesses and many leisure centres have rules forbidding taking phones into changing areas. In Korea even mobile phone manufacturers have implemented bans to protect trade secrets at their research and development centres.
Strategy Analytics, recently forecast that over 800M camera phones will be sold worldwide between 2003 and 2008.