04 Feb 2009
Just say “Cheese!”

Here’s an interesting mix of articles about public imaging.

It’s not enough that you have to watch out for your camera-phone-armed friends and enemies who may catch you in a moment of indiscretion (check with Mr. Phelps), the rabid paparazzi who are continually hounding your trail, or the proliferating surveillance cameras — now you need to beware of any of the ubiquitous video screens in store-fronts, malls, groceries, gyms, …

Small cameras can now be embedded in the screen or hidden around it, tracking who looks at the screen and for how long. The makers of the tracking systems say the software can determine the viewer’s gender, approximate age range and, in some cases, ethnicity — and can change the ads accordingly. When you watch these ads, the ads check you out (Yahoo! Tech)

Don’t worry. We’re assured that individuals aren’t identified, and no record is kept. Riiight — we all know how long that lasts.

But, just in case, our Congress is looking out for us. Ars Technica says, “Worried about someone taking pictures of you surreptitiously? A new bill would require all cell phone cameras to make that shutter-click noise so you’ll be warned when there’s a peeping tom in the locker room with you.” There is more entertaining commentary at Bruce Schneier’s security blog. Maybe just add a “whirring” sound for any active video recording?

However, if you’re a big-enough phone company, you can just get your own laws passed. Snarky comments on Slashdot at In Finland, Nokia May Get Its Own Snooping Law.

But the police, at least in the UK, won’t have to worry about any of this. The British Journal of Photography reports that a new law to take affect later this month, if violated, could make a photographer “liable to imprisonment for up to 10 years, and to a fine” for taking pictures of officers. Of course, this only applies if the pictures are “likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”. Riiight.

image: Janeznovak, Studijskifotoaparat.JPG, Wikimedia Commons
image: Kurmis, Braun_HF_1.jpg, Wikimedia Commons
image: Svajcr, Diaphragm_shutter_opening.jpg, Wikimedia Commons

Category: Life-Society
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