RIM patent would eliminate 'spy cam' photos

Research in Motion appears to be pursuing a new camera feature aimed at avoiding "spy cam"-type photos, which can lead to leaked product pictures or an illicit snapshot of a non-consenting individual.

A patent filing submitted in July covers "camera-ready focus requirements for preventing inconspicuous use of cameras on handheld mobile communication devices."

"As more handheld devices incorporate camera functionalities, organisations and individuals with privacy concerns are more vulnerable to unauthorised disclosure," the RIM filing said.

The new camera restriction would prevent BlackBerry users from taking a picture of something unless the camera phone has had time to focus on its subject.

"The rationale being that a camera user would be less likely to take unauthorised pictures if such actions could be easily recognised," according to RIM.

"However, should the camera not remain steady or focused at a particular point during the predetermined time period, no image will be captured and the entire process must begin again."

The new system strays from many smartphone manufacturers, which now boast the ability to pull a phone from your pocket, swipe once, and immediately snap a photo.

There is no word whether RIM will implement this system into either of its upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices, which are scheduled to be unveiled on 30 January.

RIM has been hit by a few leaks of late, including photos of the rumoured BlackBerry 10-based L-Series smartphone, as well as leaked slides that tip some video call features in BB10.