Commentary

Photo Phones a Potential Liability, But Exploding

Photo Phones a Potential Liability, But Exploding

A recent study by META Group, Inc. expects the majority of phones to include photo capability within two to three years with the cost of adding cameras to mobile phones becoming Only $2-$5 per phone.

However, they warn, for many organizations cameras represent a significant liability or security risk such as inappropriate candid shots of employees, pictures of production lines. While the quality of most cameras in current phones is poor, it nonetheless represents a potential channel for leaks of sensitive data or other images that can produce unintended consequences.

"Although we expect to see some camera-enabled devices used by insurance adjusters, inspections, and other field services, most organizations will look unfavorably on the deployment of camera-enabled devices." said Gold. "Most organizations that provide phones to their employees and that are evaluating new, feature-rich mobile phones should require the vendor or carrier/supplier to permanently disable the camera or provide a device without a camera," said Jack Gold, vice president with META Group's Technology Research Services.

And, from CBS MarketWatch.com, by Jeffry Bartash, quoting research firm IDC, camera phones first appeared in Japan in late 1999. Sales got off to a slow start, but have exploded in the past year. IDC estimates that 80 million camera phones will have been sold worldwide in 2003.

Bartash notes that about 6 million of 148 million cellular customers own camera phones -- a number that is quickly growing. An estimated 50 to 90 percent of U.S. cell-phones will contain built-in cameras by 2007, according to market research.

"About 10 to 15 percent (of buyers) want a camera in the phone. They think that, 'If I can have a camera, and it doesn't cost extra, fine,'" said Joni Blecher, cell-phone product reviewer at CNET, a consumer-research site. "It's not consumers screaming: I must have a camera phone."

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