With all the new technological advances introduced each year, it is sometimes hard to keep up with all the latest devices. One item that has caught on quickly is the camera phone. Concerns are now rising about these cell phones being responsible for bringing about a new breed of “Peeping Toms.” For privacy and security reasons, some districts have begun limiting and/or banning the use of these phones in certain places. These restrictions pretend to be a step closer to providing more privacy for people, but in reality, it appears more like an over-the-top reaction.
According to The Chicago Tribune, camera phone sales topped five million in 2003, after being introduced to the United States in late 2002. The industry estimates that in about three years there will be approximately 50 million Americans who own a cell phone containing a camera.
With the growth in circulation of these phones, people believe that privacy will be violated more than in the past.
After a man was caught taking pictures of a woman in a dressing room, the Elk Grove Village Park District near Chicago became the first district in the nation to prohibit such phones.
After this occurrence, other park districts in Illinois considered similar actions. “With this new invention, privacy can be taken away and the person wouldn’t even know it,” Lisa Shepherd, superintendent of recreation in the Illinois district of Gunee, told the Tribune.
Iowa, Michigan, and California among others, are also looking into comparable restrictions.
Officials from Verizon Wireless told the Tribune they believe many of these new restrictions are an overreaction.
If districts are banning camera phones, then they should ban all forms of digital photography, as the phone industry is not the only trade that is growing in technology.
The Cubic is the world’s smallest mega pixel digital camera available on the market and it is small enough to fit on a key chain. This camera not only takes pictures, but is also capable of recording 90 second video clips and can be used as a web cam, according to dynamism.com.
But legislators may very well be fighting an uphill battle by trying to ban such phones. Consumers have spoken with their money and such phones seem to be very popular. Now that they have moved past the trend phase, it appears like a waste of time to attempt to restrict consumers from using them by trying to regulate all of them. Instead society should learn to adapt. As “normal” cameras could do as much damage, it does not make sense to ban popular phones just because a few misuse them.