You Weren’t Supposed to be Watching

My dad had made a comment recently in response to something I wrote about my parents in a post I made about music:

I can attribute my taste in Pink Floyd to mom and The Eagles to my dad.Considering some of the other things I saw both parents partake in,listening to their music was probably the safest of the choices I could have made.

Specifically, he said:

You weren’t supposed to be watching everything we were doing back then.

Well, guess, what: I was. I remember far too many things from my youth. Heck I remember being in my crib back in our apartment in Capitola. I remember living in that apartment, though unlike what my dad implied in his comment, I have almost no memories of my parents actually being together. There is also a certain amount of irony in having my first job out of college two blocks from that very apartment building.

I’m not going to get into the stuff I saw growing up. Okay, maybe I will, but not here and not today. But it does remind me of an ongoing debate about the fact that teachers aren’t real fond of camera phones being in schools because, well, their tirades can end up all over YouTube.

My employer, Nokia, has sold more digital cameras embedded in mobile phones than many manufacturers of standalone digital cameras have sold. In fact, the proliferation of digital cameras in mobile phones has caused problems not only for schools, but for business as well, particularly in areas were sensitive information exists. The business are afraid of information leakage, and rightfully so. And it’s even difficult to find phones without cameras. They do exist, of course, and even Nokia is making camera and camera-free versions of some of their business-oriented E-series phones.

I’ve heard the quote from Robert Heinlein “An armed society is a polite society.” Guess what: most of our society is now armed with camera phones. And while we’ve always had nature’s perfect camera: the eyes, what we now have with camera phones is the ability to share what we saw with others very easily. Nokia has tools built-into the Nseries devices that make it fairly straightforward to post what you’ve captured to Vox, not to mention the tool that Vox itself makes available for Nokia handsets.

Unlike guns, it’s not going to be easy to legislate these things out ofexistence. The camera phones aren’t goingaway anytime soon and are only getting better. I think the best thing we do is assume that anything we do in front of others can easily be captured by someone and shared with others instantly. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll all act a little nicer towards each other in the process. Polite society, indeed.






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