Sunday, August 28, 2005

Camera Phones and the Whole Soul Stealing Issue

N and I went on the train to Sheringham this week. Whilst we were on the train I noticed that some chavvy types were taking pictures on their mobile phone and laughing.

For some reason I didn't feel comfortable with this. I had already been thinking a bit about photo usage as I am a member of flickr and also because of the phone footage of terrorists in London. I heard one news broadcaster say that with the advent of camera phones we have all become journalists, but isn't there a sickly voyeuristic side to it all? And whatever happened to privacy of the individual. I certainly don't want mine or my children's photos taken without our permission, and I certainly don't want it passed around to strangers or posted on the internet. This link will take you to a list of what you should and shouldn't do with a camera phone. Apparently there is also a gender issue where pictures are taken up skirts and down blouses and posted on the net.

The Aborigines believe that haing your photograph taken would steal your soul. Of course I don't believe that, but to have someone surreptiously snap you does make you feel like they are taking some part of you, and it certainly means that they are taking your power and choice away from you.

It's bad enough that here in Britain we are the most videoed nation on the planet, boasting 14 cctv cameras for evry person in the UK. and just what has all this surveilance done for us - absolutely nothing as far as I can see. It doesn't stop terrorist attacks or violent crime, and when footage of crimes is looked at it is often too blurry to make out the faces.

I supose it's main use is as a deterrent but as we are all so used to it now, even that doesn't work. The only way that cctv can really work to deter acts of terroism and violent crime is if there was one person to watch the footage from each camera 24 hours a day. Well in reality of course this doesn't happen, it would cost far too much for a start.

So in reality what happens to all that footage, who does watch some or any of it? How many hours of video are there of each of us? and how many laughs have been had at our expense? It may sound paranoid but sadly that seems to be the kind of culture we live in now - the piss take culture. The type of society where programmes like the worlds worst criminals, and those programmes where people get set up are popular.

Maybe I am wrong about this, or maybe I am just having an off day, but I would like to know what other people think.


Joolz said...

Funnily enough I have posted about this too, here:

pupski said...

Yes have just posted a reply on your post - it is a very difficult and interesting issue and there does not seem to be a right or wrong answer - not as clear cut as yes it's ok to take pics or no it isn't. Maybe the real issue is what is done with the pictures after they are taken.