Cameraphone Owners Must Be Stopped
By Eric Lin, Wed Dec 10 20:15:00 GMT 2003

Beyond a simple luddite backlash, now many cameraphone foes are claiming that since pictures can be used for criminal activities, cameraphones should be illegal, or at least have their "eyes" put out.

The first bit of bad news comes from California by way of Techdirt. While it's not an immediate threat to cameraphones, according to Rethink's Faultline, a law will go into effect making it a crime to bring a video recording device into a movie theatre. To clarify, the crime will not be recording the movie, but merely having a video camera in the theatre, even if it's in a bag or pocket. The law is not written to just ban video cameras (and yes that alone makes it wrong), but any video recording device- and could easily be extended to cover cameraphones.

Jack Gold of the Meta Group also believes that the mere act of owning a cameraphone is criminal. He believes that they could be easily used for industrial espionage and therefore should be banned in the work place, or in a more Roman Empire / Old Testament justice style, have their "eye" put out. The Register give Mr. Gold a good roasting for this, relieving us of the responsibility.

If the steam isn't pouring out of your ears like a Looney Tunes character yet, let's reiterate the flaws in these Chicken Little style reactions. Cameras as well as cameraphones each have legitimate uses, far outnumbering illicit uses in all cases. Possessing a device with a legitimate use should not be a crime, using the device to commit a crime should be the crime. And finally, for Mr. Gold, any device with the same capabilities should be considered an equal threat. Does anyone else feel like we're living in medieval times, or Mary Shelley's Frankenstein?

I'm reminded of a Phil Hartman character on Saturday Night Live who would say "I'm just a simple caveman, I may not understand these device you call digital cameras or cameraphones, but I know what is legal and what is not. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, cameraphones are perfectly legal."