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Camera Phone Security and Privacy Issues

Camera phones are becoming ubiquitous, and their use poses a serious threat to both personal and corporate security. These phones usually contain a small integrated camera lens that is almost un-noticeable, and with their ability to immediately upload their photos to the Internet, they have become a dream gift for voyeurs, and heaven for industrial thieves.

Industrial Espionage

Corporations cannot afford to allow these new camera phones into their facilities. According to the FBI, Industrial Espionage costs US Corporations billions of dollars annually. In their 2002 report, CSI/FBI Computer Crime and Security Survey, they cited the increased "sophistication of tools & techniques" as one of the reasons for the 8-fold increase in the estimated costs associated with industrial espionage over the past seven years.

One disgruntled employee taking pictures of critical Intellectual Property with one camera can cost a business millions of dollars. The theft of proprietary information regarding business processes, equipment, software, user interfaces, new designs, etc. can immeasurably hurt a business by allowing its competitors to gain access to the most sensitive of information - its intellectual property.

Dream Gift for Voyeurs

Voyeur cameras have been placed in public places around the world for many years now. From shopping malls through fitness clubs, their illegal use has sent people to jail.

With the growing popularity of these new small camera phones, voyeurism has become even more of a concern. Many fitness clubs, starting with the up-scale Sports Clubs/LA, have completely banned the use of cell phones because of concerns over the use of camera phones. Many courts disallow the entry of these phones, and government contractors cannot bring them into secured locations.

Use, and Problems, On The Rise

In 2002, camera phone sales accounted for 3.3% of all cell phones sold. By 2008 it is expected that 50% of all cell phones sold will be camera phones. Not only will the number of camera phones increase over time, but the quality of the pictures taken is increasing, the rapidity with which the stealth pictures can be uploaded to the Internet is increasing, but the worst feature hasn't even been introduced yet.

Within the next year, the upper-end camera phones will be taking more than just snapshots, but they will be taking full-motion videos that can be sent to Spies or Voyeurs around the world in a matter of minutes.

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