I have been biting my lip for a couple of days. You see, there is this idiot in congress.... (Hold on. I crack myself up. As if there was one idiot in congress...) Anyway, there's this idiot in congress that wants to make it illegal for your cell phone to take pictures without going 'click'.
I think everyone's first thought is "oh good. We've solved all the other problems in the world. Now we can finally fix those pesky unclicking cameras."
The proposal is supposedly going to stop exploiting children. Mmmkay. Sure. The obvious answer to me is to make child porn illegal instead of legislating the crappy pixilated camera market. Oh wait -- It seems child porn is already illegal. Weird.
This is a fine example of just how out of touch congress is with technology. In fact, it seems like they should generally keep their grubby paws out of techie issues entirely. It's like making encryption software illegal in the 90's. (And a big "You're welcome" goes out to all the encryption software companies outside of the US that suddenly owned 100% market share.) Or like making links to illegal copies of copyrighted documents illegal. (As if me telling you "there are drugs for sale on the east side of town" is equivalent to selling drugs.) Or it's similar to saying storage of child porn on a computer you manage is illegal -- when the "computer you manage" is a proxy server with 20 thousand users with their own twisted brains. (Don't arrest the guy requesting the porn -- take me instead.) Or maybe it's similar to fixing some of those previous problems with the DMCA but in the same bill making it illegal to research existing encryption technology. (You want to know what's wrong with your encryption? Sorry, it would be wrong for me to figure that out for you. I know a Hungarian hacker that would do it for you. Call him.)
...but I digress.
What congress needs is a technology advisor. I suggest they use a 14 year old boy. The reason being: the 14 year old boy has a whole lot more sense in these matters than you do. Let's imagine our Representative (Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.) bringing up these matters to our imaginary advisor. (Let's call him Myron. He needs a geeky name.)
Rep. King: So, Myron. I've got this great idea. It will keep you from taking dirty pictures of the girls in your class. I am going to make all cell phone cameras make a click noise when they take pictures. Gotcha, didn't I?
Myron: Couldn't I just cover up the little speaker with tape?
Rep. King: Doh! I didn't think of that. Okay, in addition to the click, we're going to require an internal speaker -- a really loud one with no external holes for you to cover up.
Myron: I guess I would have to open the case and snip the wire.
Rep. King: Rats. Okay, the cell phone manufacturers will have to have a self destruct that makes the phone inoperable if you open it.
Myron: I could use one of the 15 old cell phones we have in a drawer at home.
Rep. King: We will issue immediate recall and destruction of all cell phones that don't click.
Myron: I could use my friend Sven's phone. He's an exchange student and can get me phones from overseas really cheap.
Rep. King: International travel rules will require no external cell phones ever be brought into the country.
Myron: I could fake a sneeze.
Rep. King: My god child. You're a genius. There's no way around you is there?
You get my drift. So please write your congressmen and ask for the Spork proposal for all future technology legislation.