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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Borrowing from Friends

Back in May, I pondered the root and wisdom of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield's order to ban cellular camera phones from military compounds in Iraq (in the wake of the awful photos coming out of Abu Ghraib). Today on the BBC came a clue as to where he might have gotten the idea in the first place. Perhaps at a cocktail party, or maybe a get together on a ranch somewhere, maybe even out on the links. Who knows.

Saudi police have begun confiscating mobile phones with cameras if their owners use them in public, amid scandal about a phone clip of an alleged rape.

Camera phones are already illegal in the kingdom, but until now they have been tolerated by the authorities. ...

...A Riyadh hospital told the Arab News newspaper that it had been ordered by the authorities to confiscate any cell phone cameras being used inside the hospital.

The Ministry of Commerce and other relevant departments are currently devising new measures to stop camera phones being used to invade people's privacy, the Arab News newspaper has reported.

Editor Abeer Mishkhas says that phones are also being confiscated at airports and from guests attending weddings.

In any case, the Saudi incident does not push the ruling family to crackdown on rape itself, but rather the camera that recorded the incident. Likewise, rather than address the torture depicted in photos and videos, Rumsfield bans the cameras too. Dictatorial minds think alike.

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