An interesting technological predicament

My father recently ran into an interesting technological predicament, and I’m somewhat curious as to how many other people have run into this sort of issue, and how aware people are of it.

He started a new job, where he’s working in a rather secure environment. Most of the people in his company have to have government clearances, and you’re not allowed to bring any sort of recorders or cameras into the building. However, when shopping for a new cell phone, he came across a small snag in that department.

It’s very difficult, nowadays, to find a cell phone that doesn’t come with a camera built in. Sure, for most of us, this is kind of nice. It means, no matter which phone we pick, we’ll end up with a digital camera. Sure, they don’t take the best quality pictures, but at least it gives us something to snap quick pics with. However, for him, that seemed to present a major problem. He could either pick a really crappy, low-end phone, or he could pick one with a camera built in, which most likely meant he wouldn’t be allowed to bring it into work.

Fortunately for him, it turns out that he works in a part of the building that’s not quite as secure as the rest, and he is actually allowed to carry a phone with a built-in camera. However, I’m curious what everyone else does in this situation. What do you do when your old phone breaks, and you have no choice but to buy one that has a camera built in?

Granted, Nextel still seems to carry quite a few phones that don’t have cameras, and that could be entirely for the reason I’ve laid out in this article (being that Nextel is still one of the most prominent names in government communication). However, all of the other major cell phone carriers (in his case, it was Cingular) have really seem to have forgot about the fact that some people simply aren’t allowed to have cameras in their phones.

I really am curious if anyone else has run into this situation. If you have, please share your experiences. Maybe someone needs to make the cell-phone powers-that-be more aware of this sort of thing.

Maybe it’s not much of an issue once you get outside of the metro-DC area, but I’m almost certain that a great deal of our local population has to deal with this sort of thing when shopping for new phones.


2 Responses

  • Actually I have a friend who ran into something similar, he works for the top US Weapon and Military technology dealers and because he’s quite high up, he has access to some of the most confidential areas of the building, including new weapon technology showcases (which are meant to showcase new weaponry to high ranking diplomats and politicians) and in his case he needed a cell phone devoid of picture and bluetooth/infrared – because they don’t want classified files being sent to the phone.

    Fortunately for him, he was able to pick up one of those older Nokia phones, but he had to leave his other equipment like mp3 players because they pose a security risk (external hd ability). More recently, the companies are now actually offering cell phones to the employees because they can ensure greater security over what’s done with the cell phones being used. Also before entering high access buildings or areas, you can check in any personal/private equipment or papers and they’re locked away until you return and you can get them back.

    So it’s not that big a deal, they’re also working on installing ‘jammers’ that will stop bluetooth and wifi access , so that even if you do manage to sneak in a camera phone or a bluetooth enabled cell phone – it won’t work or will be distorted.

  • I share this dilemma. All I want is a phone I can use so I’m not tied to my desk or home, for job interviews, making doctors’ appts., knowing when to get daughter at work, etc. I don’t want, need, or care about any of the other fancy schmancy crap. Why don’t the mobile operators and phone manufacturarers realize that some of us would like a “less is more” option?