Technology

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

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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.

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  1. There would also be hacks written almost instantly to disable the click sound. Prohibitionists are monumentally stupid.

  2. Banning silent cameras is monumentally stupid.

  3. But prohibitionists rarely pondersuch trade-offs.

    FTFY.

  4. Cell phones with cameras have made it harder to rob a bank or steal a car, and, for that matter, harder for police to abuse suspects and cover it up with “he said, she said” testimony.

  5. Well, I effectivly used my silent cell camera to capture a major violation of my old employeer. If it had made a sound i would have been noticed snapping the picture. Thankfully they could not fire me because i was a whistleblower, despite the fact that no cameras were allowed. The outcome was my company lost a major contract and had to go to germany for meetings, yeah i was leaving anyway when i did it. but the violation was egregious known and ignored, so someone had to do something.

  6. Well, I effectivly used my silent cell camera to capture a major violation of my old employeer. If it had made a sound i would have been noticed snapping the picture. Thankfully they could not fire me because i was a whistleblower, despite the fact that no cameras were allowed. The outcome was my company lost a major contract and had to go to germany for meetings, yeah i was leaving anyway when i did it. but the violation was egregious known and ignored, so someone had to do something.

    Kudos, dood.

  7. So how would banning silent cell phone cameras help, exactly? Do we teach our kids to run if they hear a camera click? When my son hears the sound from my cell phone camera, he comes over and pesters me to take another picture of him.

    A better idea might be to teach our kids to stay away from strangers who seem interested in them (camera or no), and to tell an adult they know and trust. This, admittedly, requires some work on the part of the parents.

  8. Big metal sky bird make magic pictures above teepee.

    Heap big bad medicine.

  9. So how would banning silent cell phone cameras help, exactly?

    Doing nothing is not an option!!!

  10. Is there really an epidemic of underage voyeur pics going on? I have extreme doubts.

  11. Is there really an epidemic of underage voyeur pics going on? I have extreme doubts.

    Possibly. The catch is that the photographers are just as underage as the subjects.

  12. My wife has a T-Mobile Sidekick that, when she hangs up a phone call, plays a three-note tone. It would be terrible if, God forbid, she were kidnapped and managed to sneak a phone call only to have her assailant hear the “do-do-do” that her phone makes.

    I see a similar problem happening with camera phones that are required to “click” when photos are snapped.

    Are up-skirt shots that much of a problem?

  13. Are up-skirt shots that much of a problem?

    I suggest you direct your inquiry to those who choose to wear skirts.

  14. I suggest you direct your inquiry to those who choose to wear skirts.

    Do kilts count? I haven’t noticed anyone trying to snap pics of my junk.

  15. They should pass a law which only permits people to take photographs of the great and mighty Obama HRH.

    I pray to him. Prayer changes things.

  16. What’s the libertarian justification for peeping tom laws? I don’t see how taking a picture of someone without their knowledge is coercion or fraud.

  17. I think the non-silent snapshot requirement is a pretty minor intrusion.

    That said, the obvious workaround for the pervs is to use video mode and start recording with the device muffled, then take the phone out and record what you want. They can’t implement constant sound during video recording, because the sound would interfere with the video.

  18. Do kilts count?

    Of course! A manly skirt is still a skirt.

  19. Why did I immediately assume the police were behind this?

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