Cameraphones as Weapons of Mass Disruption
By Eric Lin, Wed Jan 14 20:00:00 GMT 2004
The list of places where cameraphones are being banned is growing at an alarming rate. Beyond reasonable bans like locker rooms, or even absurd ones like Starbucks, now entire countries are banning the phones outright.
Although he is a bit melodramatic, Alan Reiter has discovered a disturbing trend. Oppressive government regimes are attempting to ban cameraphones. Saudi Arabia (#20 on the dishonor roll) was the first country noted with a ban on the new handsets. However that hasn't stopped technophiles from sneaking them in or buying them on the black market.
The list grew again today as it was reported that Cuba (35 on the list, notice the USA is 37) has placed a ban on cameraphones as well. The Inquirer online tells that a British couple on a cruise through the Caribbean were warned by customs officials to return a cameraphone to their cabin before disembarking for the island. Apparently Castro's administration does not take kindly to the new technology either.
Whether it is because they can take pictures without drawing attention or because they can instantly transmit pictures to far away webservers instantly, it is clear that cameraphones are a disruptive technology. They threaten the status quo- something any control-obsessed regime would fear. It is not known whether either of these two countries offer data services or MMS that would make a cameraphone into anything more than a digital camera. If users couldn't send the images right away, digital cameras and Wi-Fi hotspots could be just as, if not more contentious than cameraphones.