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Camera Phones and the Ethical Issues Involved

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The Rising Problems and Issues of Camera PhonesCommunication Age

This wiki is a research of the issues that come along with camera phones. The camera phone takes voyeurism, corporate espionage, and cheating to a new technological level. The cell phone was once a luxury, but now is an attatchment of our bodies, with a camera for eyes and buttons for speech, the camera phone has taken over body and mind.


Our mission for this wiki is to inform others of the downfalls and privacy infringements camera phones bring upon society.


Introduction

When a person enters their place of work, club or school locker room, classroom or even a bar, someone may be taking photos without their knowledge. In the workplace employers need to be aware of anyone using a cell phone. The cell phone can now be equipped with a tiny camera that can be used to steal confidential information a company would not want to share. In an educational atmosphere cheating is now just a point and click away,with camera phones being used to take photos of notes and others' exams. The last scenario are locker rooms at local gyms where someone has pretended to be using their phone for a telephone call when in reality they are snapping a nude picture of you. Many organizations and the general public are not protecting themselves against their privacy being infringed with the use of camera phones because they do not want to see that something so common can be used for such ludicrous things.


Corporate Espionage

Imagine opening your email first thing in the morning at work. The first email you read is a notice that your companies rules and regulations handbook has changed. You read through the email and it says that you can't bring your cell phone into work anymore due to corporate espionage costing the company thousands of dollars a year. This is the scene at many companies around the world today. Many companies are banning the use of camera phones in the work force due to employees taking photos of things that can make them money or cost the company money.


"Camera phones are becoming ubiquitous, and their use poses a serious threat to both personal and corporate security"(Peters). This is what a lot of security professionals are starting to feel. Camera phones are not only used to snap photos, but many of them can also take video clips that are very clear. "According to the FBI, Idustrial Espionage costs US Corporations billions of dollars annually"("Camera Phone Security Issues"). Now you can see why many companies are banning the use of camera phones. Camera phones are only going to become more and more accessible in the future, "by 2008 it is expected that 50 percent of all cell phones sold will be camera phones"("Camera Phone Security Issues").


Companies are feeling more at risk than ever. Two huge companies, Samsung and LG Electronics have "both barred employees from using camera phones on their research and manufacturing facilities"(Camera-Phone Makers ban own Product"). Many companies are taking these steps to defeat corporate espionage. Not only are companies getting ripped off at their main facilities, but they are losing money when their product is on the shelves. "Bookstore owners in Japan are also mulling measures to stop female shoppers from snapping pictures of magazines"(Camera-Phone Makers ban own Product"). This type of corporate espionage is refered to as "digital shoplifting"(Camera-Phone Makers ban own Product").


Many of the first companies to ban camera phone use at their headquarters were the technology corporations. Now many other corporations that have valuable trade secrets that might make or break a company. Many corporations such as HONDA have also "barred camera phones to guard against industrial espionage"(Easen). A good thing to do is to "not take pictures unless there is a business need and you have permission from your co-workers"(Easen).


One thing that people do not understand when using their camera phone for corporate espionage reasons is how much they are really costing their company. If they were actually convicted of corporate espionage it would be a major blow to their pocket. "The average of an incident of economic espionage in a manufacturing enviroment is fifty million dollars"(Mello). That kind of money is amazing to anyone and someone with nothing to lose could point and click without even thinking twice.


Cheating

Two students are sitting on opposite sides of the room while taking a test, but somehow their answers are exactly the same. How could this happen you ask, camera phones. Students have stopped using cheat sheets and whispering to their neighbors and have started swapping test answers by cell phone, camera phone and PDA as stated in "Cell Phones: A Tool for Cheating." Cheating has been taken to a whole new level. Students are using their camera phones to copy another student's test paper or take a picture of their notes to use while taking a test.


Most people would not believe that children as young as 5 own a cell phone. Actually 200,000 children between the ages of 5 and 9 own a cell phone ("Cell Phones: A Tool for Cheating"). We see the cheating starting in elementary and middle schools instead of high schools and colleges. Cell phones have become one of the fastest growing communication technologies. Camera phones sales have grown from 4,000 in 2002 to 21.4 million in 2004 states the article "Cell Phones: A Tool for Cheating". This gigantic leap of sales shows that camera phones are here to stay but with them comes much responsibility and consequences.


Students who cheat using camera phones can send that information not just to the entire campus but to the entire world in a couple of minutes (Field). Teachers who monitor their classrooms closely can catch these cheaters, but in large auditorium classrooms the task is a lot more difficult. Some professors believe that colleges need a broader policy regarding cell phones in the classroom. In Slippery Rock University there is definitely a problem with camera phones and cell phones in general being used to cheat. A policy which would be harsher if caught cheating with your cell phone might deter people from using their cell phones.


After 9/11 and the Columbine School shooting a number of schools and state legislatures relaxed rules dealing with cell phones on campus and in schools because of the sense of protection these devices brought (Branigan). Now with the strong increase in usage of cell phones, camera phones, PDAs and iPods cheating, not a sense of safety, is being threatened. Along with cheating camera phones are also used to arrange drug deals, arrange fights for YouTube, harass other students in the locker room, call friends during class and harass teachers (Pytel). All these things camera phones can be used for seen to come at a high price, privacy and humiliation. Camera phones are not only used for bad but for good as well.


Camera phones are not always used for destructive or offensive things. They can catch a robbery, a rape or even an accident on their phones and save someones life. Camera phones can capture gruesome images like the Virginia Tech Massacre and show how being in that moment was. Cell phones brought comfort to parents when their child called them to say 'I'm okay'(Passey). The camera phone captured the first images of the destruction and those images are locked forever in our minds(Passey). Camera phones, cell phones and blogging, these devices have helped the students, faculty, parents and all those involved in the Virginia Tech Massacre heal and start to move on with their lives.


Cell phones, camera phones, iPods, PDAs all of these things have been integrated into our daily lives so it's hard to get away from them. Using them seems to be almost second nature not offensive or devious. You can look at camera phones like guns, some people are mature enough to own one and some people should never have access to using one.


Voyeurism

The definition of voyeurism is when somebody watches for sexual pleasure. Somebody is genuinely sexually excited by looking, especially secretly, at other people’s naked bodies or the sexual acts in which they participate. Voyeurism has been a major problem lately. The use of cell phones today transcends traditional calling and voice messaging, and now camera phones enable the act of up-skirting or taking pictures with the person not knowing. This has created a major privacy concern.


According to Charney, cell phones have been banned from a number of athletic club locker rooms. A club in Larkspur, California banned cell phones altogether, not just camera phones. People cannot tell the two apart. Camera phones have been a popular item among consumers, and the world’s leading handset makers plan to significantly increase the number of camera phones they sell. Gyms have banned cell phones because people can send pictures to other cell phones or post them on the internet within seconds of the pictures being taken.


Today, camera phones have served personal purposes. Sprint advertised a milestone with 100 million stills, and 15-second digital videos have been transmitted over its network. The devices have fueled the vanity fad of “moblogging” where people post images of themselves online.


Harris says video voyeurism laws have evolved with the rise of digital imaging technology. These laws range from local ordinances that ban the use of camera phones in public restrooms to a federal statute that applies to federal property. California and other states have enacted laws that prohibit angles intended to “circumvent clothing”: Peeping Tom practices like up-skirting and down-blousing. 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.


One example would be the case of Tammy in the article "Ready, set, click." A 17-year-old named Tammy had recorded herself on her camera phone having sex with her boyfriend. The images wound up on the Internet after her mobile phone was stolen by a girl who was jealous of her popularity. Now Tammy’s personal video has been viewed by thousands of strangers.


Personal Privacy is definitely a concern in our society today. Cell phones have been taken to the next level with cameras programmed in. Voyeurism is a major problem in gyms and who knows when someone is recording someone. Camera phones have turned everyone into little paparazzis. Even if something wrong, they have no idea where it will end up.


References

Corporate Espionage

Peterson, Craig. Camera Phone Security Issues. Main Stream Security Services, LLC. 14, Nov. 2007. [1]

Zd.net. Camera-Phone Makers ban own Product. [2]

Easen, Nick. Click a camera phone at your peril. CNN.com. 14, Nov. 2007.[3]

Mello Jr, John P. Employers wary of Camera Phnoes at Work. Boston Globe. 13, Nov. 2007.[4]

Cheating

[5]

Field, Mona. Cheating with Technology:Has your exam been camera phoned. Chaparral. 12, Nov. 2007. [6]

Branigan, Cara. Camera Phones call up Privacy Fears for schools.eSchoolNews. 12, Nov. 2007. [7]

Passey, Ryan. Technology as a Lifeline. Pcmechanic. 14, Nov. 2007.[8]


Voyeurism

Charney, Ben. Gymgoers wary of Camera Phones.14, Nov. 2007.[9]

Harris, Scott. Ready, set, click: Camera phones are the gadget du jour, but they come with a costly threat to personal privacy.14, Nov. 2007.[10]

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