Camera Phones Trigger Controversy
When Catherine Zeta Jones appeared in a television commercial, she was one of the first to advertise one of the newest additions to a cell phone: the camera phone. The purpose of the commercial was to show how convenient, compact and useful such an apparatus could turn out to be. The theory is quite simple, basically combining a cell phone and a digital camera into one gadget. Major cellular companies like Nokia, Samsung and Sanyo observed how popular digital cameras were becoming, and decided to integrate it with one device most Americans find a necessity and not a luxury; the cell phone. No sooner than the phones hit the market, did the stores sell out of the phone. In 2002 An estimated 16 million camera phones were sold worldwide, with 5 million of those being in the U.S. (strategyanalytics). The camera phone had become a hit.
Not even a few months after the release of the phone did controversy hit. What appeared to be a harmless little tech device left some people feeling invaded. Apparently, the phones picture-taking ability was being exploited to covertly photograph individuals with out their consent. In addition to people, certain places could not be captured on disk that usually prohibit photography. This can then allow the picture taker to post these pictures on the internet, sell them, or blackmail people for favors. The question that then must be asked is how is a camera phone any different than any other form of surveillance where your picture is taken? This is a very difficult question to answer and one that will be addressed in a legal sense. After all, having your picture taken by a camera phone or by a hidden camera in a shopping mall could be the same, or it could be different, depending on one’s perspective.
As far as professional issues are concerned, there are potential good uses for the camera phone, and these uses could provide concrete enough evidence to support such a device on the market. Lets us start by examining the area of compatibility. Gone are the days of old where you need to carry separate items. Now, everything is integrated into one nice piece. A phone can also be a camera, and can also be used for email, games, a phone book and an alarm clock. If we pattern the growth of technology, we can see all things: printers, fax machines, scanners, etc. have become multifunctional (Zdnet). The cellular telephone is no exception, and the camera phone is proof of that. Multi functional devices are good for companies because they can focus on primarily one product, and it is good for the consumer, as the consumer needs not buy multiple devices.
So what would possess cellular companies to invest millions to integrate a digital camera and a cellular phone? Its is basically a quest to make both the consumer and the manufacturer better off than they were before. For the consumer, it is a quick and easy way to take snapshots in an...