The pros and cons of camera phones

1. Slimy wanker flashes himself on the subway
2. Victim has a camera phone and takes a photo of the offender
3. Victim posts photo on Flickr (viewed an impressive 190,000 times)
4. Photo makes it to front page of NY Daily News


In the latest issue of Pressens Tidning, journalist Hans Månsson writes a column about press ethics in times of citizen journalists equipped with camera phones and what it does to journalism. Månsson asks:

“Does a snaparazzo [snapshot + paparazzo] care anything about the sanctity of private life? How do we handle the snaparazzo’s photos?”

These are indeed valid questions that all media need to debate. Chances are of course, that the alleged flasher is a sleazy pervert. But what if the guy on the photos didn’t expose himself on the subway and is in fact innocent? Where can he turn to get his version out and get his name cleared? Of course it is absolutely brilliant if camera phones can be used to catch criminals, or even better, prevent them from even committing the crime, but there should be a serious debate concerning the rights of an alleged criminal versus the rights of society to catch him/her.

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