Camera Phone Used To Catch Crooks

from the gotcha dept

As camera phones are starting to build up momentum, there are a growing number of privacy questions (this, following a story from last month about how Hong Kong gyms are not letting anyone bring phones into the locker rooms because they’re afraid of people snapping pictures). When everyone has a phone with a camera in it, suddenly the question of how much privacy you have gets more attention. Of course, this really just transfers the earlier question about whether or not the government and corporations have too much power with their security cameras everywhere, to whether the people have too much freedom with their own cameras. At the same time, though, the cameras provide an interesting opportunity for people to take a more active role themselves. Dan Gillmor has been predicting for some time that it won’t be long before a major news story involves pictures taken at the scene by ordinary people carrying their camera phones, and immediatey posting the pictures online. One step closer to that vision is this short news piece about a shop owner in Italy, who saw some “suspicious” looking guys outside of his shop. He snapped a picture of them with his camera phone and sent it to the police, where it was determined that they were wanted criminals. So, now the question remains, have we lost some privacy or have we made the world safer? On the whole, I think we’re in better shape when more people have cameras, since it gets more information out during major events. At the same time, there will be an adjustment period as people have to learn that “public spaces” are much more public than they previously believed.

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Comments on “Camera Phone Used To Catch Crooks”

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David says:


Take a look at David Brin’s novel “Earth” (over ten years old) for a look at a near-future where digital videocameras are so cheap, senior citizens have them built into their glasses, constantly recording everything on the server at home to protect themselves from potential criminals while outside. A very safe society, a very free society, but one with very little privacy.

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