New gen cell phones changing…

New gen cell phones changing society

The current generation of cell phones offer built-in cameras and two way text messaging – features which are already having varied, sometimes unusual, sometimes unsettling impacts on society.

Here’s a few examples:

The Howard Dean campaign is using text messaging to reach supporters. (Sign up here). Indeed, the Dean campaign is breaking new ground in using websites, a weblog, and text messaging in a Presidential campaign.

Stories about SARS spread so fast in China via text messaging, the government retaliated by arresting people for spreading rumors. When SARS first hit, 120 million text messages were sent in China about it…

Video phones as tool for buying votes

“Video cameras in cell phones are a potential tool to buy elections.  One of the basic tenets of a good election is that the ballot is secret.

Someone can offer to buy a vote, but the buyer has no guarantee that the seller will deliver from the privacy of the voting booth.  But video cameras in cell phones have the potential to change that; the buyer can demand proof of a vote bought before he pays.”

Grotesquely, a rape in a pub was videoed by cell phones with cameras. If these images can be found, they could prove to be incriminating evidence.

At antiwar demonstrations, many have noticed that police are considerably more peaceful when they see video and digital cameras recording them. Cell phones with cameras add a new dimension, as people might not even know they are being recorded.

Smart Mobs has much on these topics and on “mobile communication, pervasive computing, wireless networks, collective action.”

Now that I’ve written this, it is painfully apparent my klunky old cell phone, with no camera and only incoming messaging, is a wheezing dinosaur. It’s time to upgrade!

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