Concern over the misuse of camera phones has led one company to introduce technology that disables the imaging functionality of a phone or wireless device when it is within a certain building or area.
Iceberg Systems' Safe Haven is designed to allow businesses, schools or any other establishment to prevent the use of the camera part of a phone when it is within their boundaries.
Safe Haven works by sending a wireless node sending a signal to the phone delivering the message that this is a privacy zone. Software on the phone then disables the imaging functionality, leaving other uses active.
Once a user leaves the zone the imaging function is automatically reactivated.
For the system to work it relies on phones either having been built with the Safe Haven application integrated into the handset, or alternatively have had the application installed as a Java download.
The system is currently in beta tests with handsets and will be marketed by audio IP licensing company Sensaura, which said it is in talks with handset manufacturers about implementing the technology.
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 to diminish localised privacy and security risks is a proactive option."
"Camera-embedded devices like camera phones represent a considerable step forward in technology. However, at times, they are prone to misuse," Patrick Snow, managing director of Iceberg Systems, said.
"Safe Haven solves the serious threat to security and privacy presented by such misuse in a simple, controllable manner."
The technology can also prevent the use of other types of wireless imaging devices including digital cameras, camera equipped PDAs or laptops, in a wireless privacy zone.