Sunday, August 24, 2008

Camera + phone curbs

Indian parliamentarians are reportedly studying the need for putting curbs on camera phone use. Mobile phone makers are the largest digital camera makers owing to the enormous popularity of camera phones. Phone cameras have come some way since the grainy VGA cameras in the initial models and it is now possible to get digicam-esque specs on mobile phones. Nokia's top end N Series models the N96, N95 8GB come with 5 MP cameras with good video recording specs to boot. Sony Ericsson's high-end camera phones incorporate the renowned CyberShot technology to give digicam-like quality. Added with powerful new tools like Qik and ShoZu make it very easy for publishing these images. It typically takes a touch of a button to get your images published online. Such unprecedented ability to capture and share images has changed the way we communicate and group. It has obviously brought its set of problems too with its scams and scandals.

Privacy advocates would want legislation to be brought in to check the usage of camera phones in public. Some of the targeted areas are schools, universities and public offices. Handset vendors and telcos are wary that any punitive legislation could harm their margins as youth form the bulk of mobile phone users. They will no doubt be presenting their case to the legislators requesting a lenient regime. Some institutions particularly educational ones have curbs in place to  restrict or  altogether ban mobile phones in campus. In the corporate offices, barring some BPOs, camera phones are universally allowed. The lawmakers are expected to take a view on usage of mobile phones in public offices too, as it is perceived there is high potential of misuse here.

Elsewhere, California has banned texting while driving, an Australian school has allowed using mobile phones, internet and what not during exams. Japanese so picturesquely called it a handy phone, it'll be quite handy for the Australian students.


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