While lots of people like to complain about how mobile phones are misused, whether just in terms of etiquette, or more seriously for use in scams and criminal activity, it looks like at least one carrier has decided they need to take some responsibility. NTT DoCoMo admits that mobile phones can be misused, and have set up a special group specifically to look for ways to minimize mobile phone misuse. It's good that they're realizing that it's better to confront the problem than to ignore it, but you have to wonder if their solutions will make sense. For example, one of the "problems" discussed in the article is "book piracy," where someone uses a cameraphone to snap photos of every page of a book or magazine -- something that first came up a few years ago. As we noted at the time, this really should not be a major problem. The process of using a cameraphone to do that is insanely inefficient, and probably more costly in the end (including the cost of time) than just buying the damn thing. In fact, it doesn't seem any different than going into a library and photocopying an entire book. We can do that now, but not many people do, because it's just not worth the trouble. So it's the type of "problem" that should solve itself -- and any effort from above (probably involving some form of copy protection) is only going to make things more expensive and more difficult for legitimate uses. While dealing with the "ill-effects" of mobile phone use is a noble effort, sometimes it's important to understand if those solutions may create even more ill effects as well.
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