Aren’t the new camera phones cool? Just point,
click and send the picture to someone with the same phone service,
or send the picture via the Internet. Like all new technologies,
however, this one has its good points and its bad points. Let’s
NEAT NEW TOY
To capture a baby’s first step or a funny situation, or
even to document a traffic accident, camera phones are great to
have on hand. Some allow you to store pictures of family, friends
and colleagues, so their smiling faces come up when they call.
The phones also are great if you’re traveling on business and
need to send to headquarters a picture of a product placement,
hotel room or meeting room.
The quality isn’t quite there yet the pictures are grainy and
dark but it will be soon. Phones already are being tested that will
produce photographs comparable in quality to regular cameras; they
also will be able to record sound and transmit the signal with no
Following are three popular camera-phone models; costs can vary
depending on the cellular service package you buy.
The high-end Nokia 7650 (about $900) is a true multimedia
phone, with multiple wireless connectivity capabilities (Bluetooth,
infrared, phone-to-phone and phone-to-PC). Image resolution is 640
pixels by 480; it has 3.6 MB of memory for the photo album, phone
book, calendar and add-on applications.
The Samsung VGA1000 ($250) offers tri-mode CDMA for quick data
transfer, wireless Internet support (WAP 2.0) and voice-activated
dialing. It holds up to 300 names in its phone book.
The Panasonic GU87 ($200) is a baseline camera phone with 2X
zoom, Internet capabilities (WAP 2.0) and 1 MB of memory for a
200-name phone book.
Privacy concerns are cropping up over the devices,
considering how difficult it is to tell if a cell phone is just a
cell phone or if it is a camera.
An example of a dicey situation is illustrated in the TV ad
showing a couple getting amorous in a hallway, when a “friend”
takes a picture and jokingly sends it to all their friends
including the guy’s girlfriend, who was nowhere near the hallway at
the time. Now, how would you like to be the guy when he sees his
girlfriend again, or the person who took the picture when the guy
finds out (with caller ID) who sent the photo?
Laws defining when and where you can use a camera phone already
are in place in some countries. In Hungary, it is illegal to
transmit a picture of someone without their permission. In South
Korea, a camera phone must emit a beep of at least 65 decibels when
taking a picture.
Some firms and government agencies in the United States have
banned camera phones from their offices to protect against
corporate piracy and litigation for violation of privacy. For
example, the phones are not allowed in any Air Force facility that
processes classified information.
Those who are nervous about being photographed on the sly can
buy a key-chain camera detector that lights up when it picks up a
signal from wireless devices like cellular phones and digital
cameras. Available online at sites such as GadgetBabe (www.gadgetbabe.com)
and iGadget (www.igadget.com) for $29.95, it can detect signals up
to 15 feet away and is perfect for “spotting” cameras
surreptitiously placed in restrooms, dressing rooms, etc.
Much ado about nothing? It depends upon which side of the
privacy fence you fall. But knowing that your actions, attire,
meeting-room design and even your performance could be the subject
of someone else’s clandestine photographs can be disturbing.