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Open letter to Canon USA:
We like your digital cameras, but don't design them to betray your customers' trust and privacy.

Canon USA Inc.

Actually, at this time; I'm not sure if returning or exchanging the product (Canon EOS 7D Mark II) would suit my needs.

I am a long time B&H Photo customer and long time Canon customer and avid user of Canon products.

(In the past 14 years In addition to this EOS 7D Mark II, I have purchased an EOS 20D, three older model EOS 7D cameras, several lenses and accessories for all, and several small point & shoot Canon Camers.

I have been confronted with this same issue of privacy while purchasing new cameras before (I believe I have contacted B&H on this same issue of privacy a few years ago when I was shopping for a small "point & shoot" waterproof camera.)

Here is the heart of the issue:

1. I don't want my camera (or any other device I carry, other than a cell phone) to have any BUILT-IN wireless capabilities / external data gathering capabilities that could compromise my privacy and "piece of mind". Especially Bluetooth and WiFi, whereby data and photos can be somehow transmitted from the camera to some other device.

2. The idea that the wireless capability of this device / camera can be disabled by a software or firmware setting in the controls of the camera: is not acceptable or meaningful, because it is not readily apparent to the user of the device, that the undesired function (wireless capability) is in fact disabled, it is easy to forget to change the setting, and time consuming to check it every time the device is being used.

3. Under certain circumstances (by malfunction or intentional design & programming), any user setting in firmware / software can be modified without the user knowing it.

4. The only true protection against undesired operation of a specific function or "module" in a complex, programmable, digital device such as this camera; is either a "hard wired switch" that physically disconnects the power connection and data connection to the "module" in question, or (ideally) PHYSICAL REMOVAL and full detachment of the electronic component or "module" that creates or permits the undesired operation.


All the newer professional cameras are coming equipped with built-in GPS, it is only a matter of time before every professional or "pro-sumer" camera sold will have GPS and / or other, even more privacy compromising wireless communications abilities built in to it, like Bluetooth and WiFi. (surely... much to the delight of the NSA & the U.S. intelligence Community at large.)

Fortunately, this EOS 7D Mark II, does not have the WiFi built in (yet as of August 2018), and instead has a separate SD card Wi-Fi adapter which needs to be physically installed in the camera to enable the WiFi capability. (This is the smart and secure way that ALL wireless capabilities should be introduced and administered in modern electronic devices; to ensure true user privacy and informed consent to potential monitoring by malicious actors, including oppressive, corrupt organizations and especially governments.)

I have some basic electronics knowledge, and I am handy with tools.
I think the best course of action here for me; would be to physically remove the GPS and Digital compass components from the camera.

I am currently compiling information to help me perform this operation:

Parts Catalog & Diagram for the EOS 7D MKII (REF. NO. C12-6461)
photo from Canon website that shows general location of GPS Unit and digital Compass (attached)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Digital SLR Camera - Position of GPS unit and Digital Compass

YouTube video: Canon 7D disassembly:

This is how you can help me:

It would be nice if Canon USA Inc. could provide me with additional information and technical support to assist me in the removal of these privacy compromising components contained in their camera.

As I know; it would be too much to ask and expect: to have Canon and other electronics manufacturers design and manufacture their products with true user privacy and information security in mind.

I don't expect that most of the USA division of Canon will get this, but I'm sure that the Japanese division of Canon (due to the traditional Shinto influence of Japanese culture) will readily understand the following:



"My camera is like a friend and partner to me, I carry it with me on my extensive personal travels and my work assignments, I trust it to faithfully and carefully document and store the images that I wish to collect for my personal collection, and also for my employer. I trust my camera, while it is in my physical possession; to be a faithful, silent companion that will not betray my trust and share my private collection of images and experiences to others without my knowledge or consent. A camera with wireless capabilities, is no longer my silent and faithful companion and partner; it is now a member of a boisterous, gossiping community of devices, and may even be called to serve a distant, powerful master, or it may find another companion to share the images that I trusted it to keep within our exclusive partnership."

So Canon, if you want to continue selling me cameras; make those cameras serve me alone, and be my trusted companion, not the slave of the NSA or whoever else who wishes to spy on me and the rest of the world.

Thank You,
A long time, avid photographer.

Dear Canon Customer,

Thank you for contacting Canon product support. I understand that you d not wish for any photo device you carry to feature built-in wireless capabilities. My name is Tim and I'll be glad to assist you with this today.

We'd like to thank you for your feedback regarding the built-in wireless features of Canon EOS DSLR cameras. We will pass your feedback onto our development team so they are aware of what users are asking for in the field. At this time however, we're; unable to offer you a specific product to suit your needs. I am truly sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause you.

Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

Thank you for choosing Canon.


Technical Support Representative



I appreciate the quick response.

I understand that currently; all of Canon's professional digital SLR camera offerings contain some sort of wireless capability, and that I am stuck with this EOS 7D Mark II camera for now.

If possible I would like to remove this GPS unit and also the digital compass from the EOS 7D Mark II camera I most recently purchased.

In order to do this with confidence, I need detailed information and instructions from Canon so that I can either do this myself without damaging the camera, or bring it to a trusted camera repair facility near me, that can do this for me while I am physically present to observe and document every step of the procedure.

Also, I would like more detailed information about the WiFi capability of the EOS 7D Mark II . The camera came with a removable SD card device that provides WiFi capability when inserted into the camera.


1. Does the WiFi adapter kit that fits into the SD card reader of the EOS 7D Mark II contain all of the physical electronic components such as antennas and radio transceivers that enable WiFi capability?

2. Or does the EOS 7D Mark II camera body contain the essential radio components for the operation of WiFi, and this SD card appliance simply enables them with firmware / software that it contains?

Here is additional customer feedback for the Canon development team:

Canon will continue to be my unquestioned choice of Professional digital cameras in the future, but only if the following design specifications are observed so that the camera can be "Certified to respect the privacy of the user"

Design Specifications of Digital Cameras that can be Certified to Respect User Privacy
Version 1, Authored: August 18, 2018

1. No built in / "on board", non-removable wireless data communications capability. This includes the ability to transmit and receive any firmware / software programming data, camera settings, picture and EXIF / meta data, GPS data, camera and lens model & serial numbers etc., to and from the camera with any and all external devices, from any distance.

(a) Ultrasonic and Infrared communication protocols that are limited to operation of the lens auto-focus and flash module operation are exempt from this prohibition so long as they are limited in range to what is needed for reliable operation, and do not transmit or receive any data to / from the camera, that is not limited, and directly related to auto-focus and flash operation. Additionally, these Ultrasonic and Infrared protocols should be disabled from transmitting and / or receiving when the auto-focus or flash features are not being used.

2. No built in / "on board" non-removable memory storage that is capable of recording images, sound, GPS / compass data, or any other external environmental data or conditions. The only acceptable use of built in / "on board" memory storage is camera settings and user defined preference / operation settings, and this memory will not exceed 1 megabyte in size. All other recorded data related to camera usage including, but not limited to: still images, video, sound, EXIF data, GPS logging data etc. will be written and stored only in the removable memory card.

2. Specifications for the offering of Wireless services / protocols in digital cameras:

(a) All wireless communications services to be offered, and their physical electronic components including antennas and radio transceiver circuitry essential to their operation; shall be built into a separate, detachable "Wireless Services Module" (WSM). All other functions of the camera not related to, or dependent upon wireless protocols, will function properly with the WSM disconnected from the camera.

(b) The WSM shall be external to the camera housing, so that it's presence and attachment to the camera is immediately and unmistakably, visually evident to the camera user. The WSM may offer a single wireless protocol, or several.

(c) Each and every wireless protocol offered by a WSM, if it contains more than one; will have a separate, clearly visible, physical "hard" / mechanical switch labeled with the name of the wireless protocol that it controls. The function of this switch will be to physically disconnect power to the circuit board / sub-module that is responsible for producing it's specific labeled wireless protocol, in order to render it completely and unequivocally inoperative. The firmware / software of the camera and/or the WSM will have NO ability to override this switch and re-enable the operation of the sub-module without this switch being physically / mechanically moved by the user.

(d) If the WSM offers more than one wireless protocol functionality, the WSM shall have each and every wireless service capability / wireless protocol that it provides; electronically isolated on separate circuit boards / sub-modules that are clearly labeled with name of the wireless protocol capability that it enables.

(e) Each wireless protocol circuit board / sub-module within the WSM shall be independently removable from the WSM by a user with basic mechanical skills, using commonly available tools. Removal of one or more individual wireless protocol sub-modules, will not affect the proper operation of the remaining sub-modules.


Dear Canon Customer,

Thank you for your continued correspondence.

Due to liability concerns, we're not able to provide documentation on how to remove the internal GPS unit or digital compass in the EOS 7D Mark II. Our Canon Factory Service Centers will repair Canon products back to factory specifications however; it is very unlikely that they will modify a product from its original operation.

The Wi-Fi Adapter W-E1 contains only the wireless communication hardware necessary for image transfer to mobile devices and computers. Without the adapter inserted, the camera will not be able to transmit or receive data via Wi-Fi. Additional details about the Wi-Fi Adapter W-E1 can be found HERE. (or PDF version)

We'll forward your additional feedback to our engineers for review.

Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

Thank you for contacting Canon.


Technical Support Representative


I understand about the liability concerns in modifying the camera's operation.

Maybe some other, more adventurous Canon user will develop and document a strategy and procedure for removing the GPS and compass for this camera, and upload a video of it to Youtube or some other video sharing platform. (or maybe I will in a few years, when this particular camera gets old and worn out and is no longer reliable enough for field use.)

For now, I will need to rely on the internal settings of the camera to disable GPS, and to be vigilant in checking EXIM data with an EXIM editing tool before sharing photos or offloading those photos from the memory card and onto an internet connected computer or mobile device.

I appreciate the additional information about the WiFi adapter, I feel more confident about the privacy afforded by this camera and it's security measures against unintended wireless communication of my data.

My only other request at this time for the engineers is regarding memory cards:

I like the new feature in the EOS 7D Mark II, that it allows for the use of both Compact Flash (CF) cards and the smaller SD cards. I prefer to use the larger, more durable CF cards because they are less likely to get lost or broken and they can more easily be handled in the field while wearing gloves.

Please do not discontinue support for CF cards in your future professional SLR cameras.

Thank You,
A long time, avid photographer

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