Guns and Camera Phones
There is an ongoing debate about the fact that teachers aren’t real fond of camera phones being in schools because, well, their tirades can end up all over YouTube.My employer, Nokia, has sold more digital cameras embedded in mobile phones than many manufacturers of standalone digital cameras have sold. In fact, the proliferation of digital cameras in mobile phones has caused problems not only for schools, but for business as well, particularly in areas were sensitive information exists. The business are afraid of information leakage, and rightfully so. And it’s even difficult to find phones without cameras. They do exist, of course, and even Nokia is making camera and camera-free versions of some of their business-oriented E-series phones.
I’ve heard the quote from Robert Heinlein “an armed society is a polite society.” Guess what: most of our society is now armed with camera phones. And while we’ve always had nature’s perfect camera: the eyes, what we now have with camera phones is the ability to share what we saw with others very easily. Nokia has tools built-into the Nseries devices that make it fairly straightforward to post what you’ve captured to Vox, not to mention the tool that Vox itself makes available for Nokia handsets.
Unlike guns, it’s not going to be easy to legislate these things out of existence. The camera phones aren’t going away anytime soon and are only getting better. I think the best thing we do is assume that anything we do in front of others can easily be captured by someone and shared with others instantly. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll all act a little nicer towards each other in the process. Polite society, indeed.