New vistas for consumer bootleggers

Summary:Japan continues to find innovative applications for consumer electronics with the increasingly common practice of "digital shoplifting"--using camera phones to take pictures of pages from magazines (notably recipes and other easily-imagined content). Separately, Samsung (ironically a manufacturer of camera phones) has banned them from its factories for fear they'll be used to steal trade secrets.

Japan continues to find innovative applications for consumer electronics with the increasingly common practice of "digital shoplifting"--using camera phones to take pictures of pages from magazines (notably recipes and other easily-imagined content). Separately, Samsung (ironically a manufacturer of camera phones) has banned them from its factories for fear they'll be used to steal trade secrets.

So what?

Who knew that consumer-level IP (intellectual property) theft would expand from the Internet (music and movie bootlegging) into the realm of the physical? It'll only get worse as cameras are integrated into eyeglass-headsets designed to be worn constantly, not just when you're on the phone. With such a device, you could steal without having to un-holster and "aim" your cell phone (which tends to make you conspicuous); instead, you'd just aim your head. Give frame rates and storage capacity a few years to improve and you'll be able to steal movies, plays and musicals from theaters. The right software might even let you flip rapidly through an entire (expensive) book, automatically OCR (optical character recognition) the images, and read it at your leisure. Unlike file-sharing, this sort of theft would be nearly impossible to detect (not to mention much easier for Joe Consumer than setting up BitTorrent. Perhaps when we're all equally culpable, the authorities will be forced to treat IP-theft as they do speeding: very much against highly stringent laws...that go largely un-enforced.

Topics: Mobility

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