The Feature
Encouraging Cameraphone Use -- For Less Than Encouraging Reasons

Instead of banning them, Chinese authorities have creatively adapted cameraphones as yet another tool to control its citizens, if the latest allegations prove to be true. Authorities there reportedly threatened pro-democracy radio talk show hosts, after which they all quit. This didn't involve cameraphones until new reports emerged that authorities have contacted the families of callers to these shows still living on the mainland. They have been told to convince their relatives to vote for pro-Beijing candidates and then snap a picture of their ballots with a cameraphone to send back proof.

Of course we should all have seen this coming. I remember when I got my first camera phone, I got one for Mizuka and myself. Our relationship was still pretty "fresh". That week, I went on an trip to Kyoto with a small group of older Japanese businessman friends. "So... where are you? Can you send me a picture?" "Ummm... sure. OK. Here." Yes, there are simple ways to get around this by preparing photos or doctoring stuff, but it's obvious that the privacy issue for camera phones isn't just the subjects being photographed, but the owners of the phones as well.

4 Comments

It's like evolutionary psychology; we are afraid of snakes, but not electrical outlets. People haven't evolved to be aware of it yet. I hate to think we'll be shocked before we try to learn.

Seems an obvious use for some people, as this has been reported more than a year ago in Europe as well: BBC: Mafia turns to 3G video phones

This is very interesting... am currently writing my BA dissertation on social changes as a consequence of the widespread digitisation of photography. This really is a double edged sword, on the one hand, governments and criminal organisations can exercise their power through the omnipresent nature of this technology, but on the other, without digital imaging and distribution technology, the Abu Ghraib prison debacle might never have been public knowledge (for example). Michel Foucalt's ideas on panopticism, printed in Discipline and Punish make interesting reading in this context.

Hi
This really is a double edged sword, on the one hand, governments and criminal organisations can exercise their power through the omnipresent nature of this technology, but on the other, without digital imaging and distribution technology, the Abu Ghraib prison debacle might never have been public knowledge (for example). Michel Foucalt's ideas on dizi izle panopticism, printed in Discipline and Punish make interesting reading in this context.

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