Sunday, December 07, 2003 - Apache Junction, Arizona, USA


Move over CB radios, large screen TVs and portable CD players, Americans have discovered a new MUST-HAVE toy – the cell phone camera. For joy, for joy! Why am I not excited about this new piece of technology? I like my privacy and I’m not alone.

Retailers anticipate millions of dollars in sales of these new gadgets over the upcoming Christmas holidays. Prices are dropping faster than a brick through water. What does this mean for you and I? No matter where you are, no matter who you’re with, no matter what you’re doing – someone could be taking your picture, which could immediately be uploaded to a web site for viewing. And they don’t need your permission to do it.

The law, as it stands, says that if you’re in a public place you have no expectation of privacy. Therefore you are an open target to these voyeur fanatics who enjoy making fun of other people or worse, posting indecent photographs onto porno web sites. It’s the same law that permits the paparazzi to harass Hollywood stars in public. Now the shoe is on the our own foot. There are already mumblings in city and state courts concerning banning cell phones in public bathrooms and other public areas. Corporate America is also jumping on the bandwagon. Many large corporations are prepared to ban cell phones in the workplace, fearing law suites, corporate espionage, or worse.

In the past, very few people aside from professional photographers carried a camera with them. They are bulky and a hassle to use. Cell cameras have changed that. Almost everyone carries a cell phone so cam phones make it easy to take candid pictures. It’s very difficult to tell if someone is simply yakking on a cell or snapping your photograph. Think about the ramifications of this to you and your family.

There is a flip side to this if you own one of these dandy li'l devices. You might be taking pictures of birds in the park (well, really you have your eye on that blonde who's forgetting to keep he knees together) when all of a suddon you're confronted by her boyfriend who yanks your expensive toy from your eye and smashes it to the sidewalk, threating physical harm to you in the process. But this is rare. Usually it's the innocent that get thrashed by this new technology.

So next time you lose your cool in public or do something silly, romantic, or angry, remember to smile. You could end up on someone’s web site.

©2003 Marcia Ellen "Happy" Beevre
# posted by Marcia Ellen @ 9:27 PM
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