WSJ.com - Portals: WSJ.com - Portals: Will Camera-Phones Be Used To Humiliate Ordinary People? "One industry consultant predicts that about 15 million Americans will be carrying camera-phones in three years; world-wide, some 100 million. Their quality is poor today, but the battery life and processing power is getting better.
Soon, these devices will be able to store hours of video and capture vivid still pictures. Big Brother may be watching over us, but this new army of private Little Brothers will have far more impact on how we see the world, and, how the world -- literally -- sees us.
Cellphone companies are selling the new phones as a technology confection, a way to spontaneously snap photos of a newborn and deliver them immediately to Grandma and Grandpa. After all, most people carry their phones with them at all times. And phone maker Nokia says that more than 60% keep them powered on for more than six hours daily.
It is this instant, pistol-drawing availability that will escalate our culture's worst voyeuristic habits. Health clubs have already begun to ban the phones from locker rooms, for obvious reasons. And in the near future there won't be a barroom fistfight, politician's liaison or celebrity gaffe that goes undocumented. In this world of truly ubiquitous surveillance, serendipity doesn't matter. Someone, somewhere, will always get the shot."