Science & Technology

Won't Someone Please Think of the Grown-Ups?


This morning I blogged Bruce Schneier's objections to an Indian effort to ban Google Earth. Over at The Technology Liberation Front, Ryan Radia has a parallel argument about a new bill (for the children, natch) to prohibit silent cell phone cameras:

[I]n some situations, it might actually be a good thing for people to have cell phones equipped with silent cameras. What about somebody who's being assaulted, or mugged, or raped and wants to photograph their attacker but fears retaliation? Or someone who's just witnessed a crime, unbeknownst to the perpretator, and is trying to get a snapshot of the fleeing suspect? Or a whistleblower who wants to collect evidence of illicit activity by snapping covert photos?

Whether it's Google, guns, or cameras that don't click, most tools that can be misused can also be used benignly. But prohibitionists rarely ponder such trade-offs.