Camera Cell Phones

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Developing technology--camera cell phones, radar detectors, wireless Internet, hand-held global positioning systems, microprocessor speeds--includes any number of crazes over what we think we need and therefore want almost obcessively, yesterday. We live in an affluent society. It's easy to get swept up in the spirit of the moment.

The important thing is to remember that we create both tools and toys. You need tools. You don't need toys. Where do camera cell phones fit into the picture? Introduced in the United States in 2002, they're not only still here, but are growing both more sophisticated and in popularity. They pass the first threshhold of the toy-tool testing process. They pass the second as well. They're both useful and convenient.

The Possible Dark Side to Camera Cell Phones

They might be a bit too convenient. Assuming you have wireless Internet connectivity in your cell phone as well, you can conceivably take and publish a photograph for the world to see in less than five minutes. Additionally, they're an artful candid camera--aging baby boomers will remember that television show of the 1960s. The automatic assumption most of us make when we see a person with a telephone is that that person is talking to someone else. Now we get to wonder if they might not be taking a photograph--of us perhaps--as well.

The expectation of privacy has rightly raised its head with this technology. In Japan and Britain camera cell phones are banned in many public places such as swimming pools, health clubs, saunas, and bathing and changing facilities. Why? Police uncovered instances of lewd photography and child pornography. Most recently the question has arisen about possible credit card theft. Guaranteed, the megapixel, flash, and autofocus capacities are still fledgling. No instances have yet been documented. The potential threat, however, should not be dismissed.

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