Monday, April 17, 2006

Techno Fear

At a time when newspapers struggle to remain relevant the San Francisco Chronicle unloads a silly article about the threat to privacy posed by cell phone cameras. According to the article,
"Camera phones threaten to turn everyone into amateur paparazzi," says law professor Daniel Solove of George Washington University, an expert on privacy law. "We are witnessing our personal space shrink because of the way technology is being used."
Cameras don't threaten--people threaten, such as those paparazzi whose photos the Chronicle likes to dress their pages with. Our privacy law expert wasn't asked to offer an opinion about the privacy rights of people appearing in the photo that illustrated the article. But he might have had an opinion about the embarrassment just last February when the Chronicle mistakenly identified a taxi driver in a photo as a police officer with a record of suspensions for using excessive force.

If that weren't enough, the article goes on to explain how
California's anti-paparazzi laws which"forbid the use of telephoto lenses to capture images through the windows of homes", would apply to camera phones. Do they really mean to suggest that cell phones without telephoto lenses have greater legal protections than the equipment used by the paper's own photojournalists?
Wake me when cell phones come out with telephoto lenses.


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