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Should OnePlus disable the colour filter camera?

You may have seen the stories make their rounds on internet about the OnePlus 8 Pro‘s new see-through feature, the colour filter camera. Yes, it’s the one where if you enable the Photochrom mode, you will be able to see through certain materials with the smartphone.

Obviously, this led to quite the storm of social media posts from notable content creators and prolific OnePlus 8 Pro smartphone users alike.

Obviously, I don’t think anyone at OnePlus intended to build a “see-through” camera into their smartphone, especially not one that could also see through thin clothing. What they probably wanted to do was just give people a cool filter to take photos with—and in that regard the Photochrom mode does look pretty cool.

But, since this has garnered so much attention, OnePlus posted on their official forums that the company would be working on an OTA (over-the-air) update to address these concerns.

“While we think this camera gives users the ability to get more creative with smartphone photography, we also understand the concerns that have been raised,” the post wrote.

“Therefore, we are already working on an OTA that we’ll push out in the coming weeks to offer the Photochrom filter while limiting other functionality that may be of concern.

On top of that, OnePlus says that they have decided to “temporarily disable” the filter on their devices running HydrogenOS. For those who are unfamiliar, this will only affect the company’s devices in China because global OnePlus smartphones run on OxygenOS. OnePlus has explicitly stated that they will not be disabling the filter on their global devices so they can “focus on bringing the OTA to you as quickly as possible”.

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Now, it’s hard to say how this will affect the filter’s ability to produce the surreal images that it’s known for. The best case scenario is that you just lose the ability to see through, but at this point it’s not something I can say for sure.

What I’m more interested in is the question of whether they really need to disable/tweak the filter at all. Yes, the fact that it can see through materials is quite disturbing and can be quite invasive if put in the wrong hands. But, one could probably make the same argument with the technology that allows smartphones to achieve 100x zoom.

Should that also be disabled? Or should the responsibility lie with the people who use these technologies for nefarious purposes? With any advancement technology brings us, there’s always opportunity for abuse. But when that inevitably happens, is it the brand or company that should be responsible or is it down to the user?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.