getting all JFK

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getting all JFK

Post by LngHrvWntrsDngr » in the middle of doing a current events project for my politics class.....and I stumble across an article that looks remotely interesting. Something about cellphone cameras and what not.....i read.....mostly skimming until almost the end.......where i ask myself whether or not i missed something. What's Merlin Mann, 36, of San Fransisco doing in the New York a cellphone article? maybe this has happened before....but i never noticed.........but ok. thats my fabulous story for the day......Merlin (and his sanyo 8100 phonecam...) telling the New York Times that he didnt want to get all 'JFK' about it but were being photographed all the time......and hed nvr take a picture of a kid w/o asking their parents.....

maybe this only fascinates me......heres the article if im not alone....

Copyright New York Times Company Oct 12, 2003

AS the man in front of him at the grocery store last week began yelling at a cashier who could not process his American Express card, Gary Dann flipped open his palm-sized camera phone and pressed a few buttons, pretending to look up a number.

Moments later, as the man paid in cash, his snarling picture appeared on Mr. Dann's Web site (, complete with a less than flattering caption. The rapidly growing audience of Internet phonecam voyeurs responded quickly to the image: ''Did he make a big fuss?'' asked one. ''I hate watching that.'' Another taunted: ''His tie is strangling him bit by bit!''

Mr. Dann's was one of millions of surreptitious snapshots phoned into cyberspace last week, the product of cellphones with built-in cameras that are suddenly peeping out from every shirt pocket. Wielding James Bond technology that can now be mass produced, an army of amateurs is quietly redrawing the boundaries of privacy in public spaces -- unknown to most of their subjects.

In recent weeks the devices have been banned from some federal buildings, Hollywood movie screenings, health club locker rooms and corporate offices. But the more potent threat posed by the phonecams, privacy experts say, may not be in the settings where people are already protective of their privacy but in those where they have never thought to care.

''Even simple things like your daily grooming habits around your nose and mouth can be embarrassing if captured by someone else,'' said James Katz, a professor of communication at Rutgers who says he has witnessed people being physically threatened for using their phone cameras. ''We're moving into an era where there will be almost nothing that's not captured by somebody's camera, and that has dramatic implications for how people choose to live their lives in public.''

Legally, the new generation of shutterbugs is probably safe for now. In a public place, the expectation of privacy, which American courts must weigh in evaluating whether a violation has occurred, is assumed to be negligible. News cameras can photograph people in public without their permission, and we have become accustomed to security cameras watching us in elevators, cabs and A.T.M.'s.

But ethically, the new surveillance tools seem to puncture a long-held assumption that it is possible -- and often desirable -- to lose oneself in the crowd. And in an image-conscious culture, hidden cameras in the hands of fellow citizens with instant access to a global audience may provoke more outrage than government or corporate surveillance cameras whose images are not shared with the world.

''People are funny in their general life every day, don't you think so?'' said Mr. Dann, 23, a business owner in Philadelphia who publishes an online journal of pictures taken with his $299 Samsung phone. Other recent subjects include a drunken man on the street, an obese woman buying Weight Watchers meals and a psychic who did not know she was being photographed, ''unless she knew psychically,'' Mr. Dann said.

''If someone's being a jerk it's like he's asking me to come take his picture,'' he added. ''It's like he's saying, 'Come on, come on, come take my picture and put it online so people can make fun of it.' ''

Camera phone photographers defend their furtive shots in the name of free expression and grass-roots documentation. Each seems to have arrived at a personal privacy etiquette, such as it is.

At one Web site, participants submit camera phone shots of candid (but clad) posteriors and vote on the best one each month. The instructions mandate no nudity, although many photos test that limit. ''Upskirts,'' a self-explanatory genre popularized in Japan, are also prohibited, as are any faces.

''What's the difference when someone's just looking at you with their eyes or if it's a picture?'' Daniel McLarney, the site's founder, asked in a telephone interview. ''What's so private? These pictures are in public.''

The object of street photography, whose legacy dates to the invention of the Kodak camera in the 1890's, has always been to capture life as it is lived, and photographers have eagerly adopted technology that would allow them to record it more faithfully. In the mid-1930's, Helen Levitt famously attached a right-angle viewfinder to her 35-millimeter Leica so she could photograph children in New York City neighborhoods without pointing the camera at them directly. But even the most miniature digital cameras require holding the camera up to the eye, signaling that a photograph is being taken. It is the stealth capability of camera phones, combined with their ability to broadcast the image instantly, that some legal experts say may eventually call for a rethinking of privacy laws.

''The technology is really testing the traditional understanding of the zone of privacy,'' said David Sobel, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center. ''At some point, courts might be inclined to say there are limits to the concept of waiving your privacy rights when you're in public.''

Still, as five million Americans and nearly 80 million Europeans and Asians learn the tricks of cellphone photography -- they call it ''shooting from the hip'' -- the very proliferation of the devices may be chipping away at the level of privacy the public can reasonably expect. Promoted by telecommunications companies, which analysts estimate earn about 20 cents for every picture transmitted, camera phones have begun to outsell digital cameras.

''I don't want to get all 'JFK' about it, but we're all being photographed all the time,'' said Merlin Mann, 36, of San Francisco, who bought a Sanyo 8100 phonecam, one of Sprint's newest, this month. ''The question is, What are you going to do with it?''

Mr. Mann said he would never take a picture of children without asking their parents, for instance. He mostly uses the camera phone to take mundane pictures, which he posts to a Web site that his friends can see. The other night, when he was late for a concert, he sent a picture of himself on the bus to a friend, who sent back one of the band onstage.

Occasionally, though, there are pictures he just can't pass up, like one of a man who got off a streetcar the other day and began urinating next to the library near his home.

''I think he lost his right to be private,'' said Mr. Mann, who published the picture at, a site where camera phone users can share their images.

Steve Mann (no relation), a professor of engineering at the University of Toronto, argues that in a society where government surveillance is increasing, camera phone technology can be a democratizing force. If the technology is available to the social elites, he says, it is in the best interest of ordinary citizens to adapt it for themselves, to carry out what he calls ''sousveillance,'' that is, surveillance done from below.

STILL, the feverish snapping of grainy pictures whose quality is, at least for now, a bit limited, may ultimately face a more natural barrier. Some cellphone photographers are already growing tired of documenting their lives more than they live them.

Xeni Jardin, an events planner in Los Angeles who was one of the first to start a Web log, or blog, devoted to camera phone pictures said she suspended the site earlier this month.

''I didn't like what was happening to me,'' she said. ''Every time I saw something cool or ironic or funny I immediately felt the need to phonecam-blog it. It was taking up way too much time and attention.''

Instead, she said, she is taking a photography class.
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Betty Felon
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Post by Betty Felon »

You must have eagle eyes. That's amazing.
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Post by grant »

Notice that the quotes were from Dann, Mann and Mann (no relation) respectively.

Who wrote the story?
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Post by LngHrvWntrsDngr »

yeah i did notice the last name thing...made me giggle, which is rare when im doing homework. Amy Harmon wrote the story...

Harmon, Amy. “Smile, You’re on Candid Cellphone Camera.” The New York Times. 12 Oct. 2003: pg. 3
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