A few folks have sent over the news of an ongoing attempt by Apple to patent a sensor system
that would allow people to set up transmitters that would send a signal to mobile phones that would prevent the camera from working.
By pairing an infrared sensor with the camera already on board, portable devices could receive data from transmitters placed, well, wherever. Beyond simply blasting out text and opening links like a glorified QR code, transmitters could disable certain features, such as the camera, to prevent recording at movie theaters and music venues. If completely shutting off the cam seems a bit heavy-handed, watermarks can also be applied to photos identifying businesses or copyrighted content.
The patent was filed in 2009, which seems pretty late. I remember having conversations about how such things were technically feasible back in 2003 or 2004, just as cameraphones were starting to catch on, and there were a few early moral panics about them. It's difficult to see how this should be patentable, considering how widespread the idea was (along with discussions on how it could be implemented) way before this patent application was filed. Of course, the bigger issues are that (1) there are always going to be easy ways around that kind of thing, and (2) for theaters it seems like a pretty expensive proposition for pissing off your customers. Of course, it's not worth reading too much info into patents like this as an indicator of where Apple is going. The company files lots of patents, many of which are never really touched.