He Said, She Said: The Down Side of Smart Phones and Not Just the Tabloid Press
Smart phones are remarkable. No longer owned by a few, they are everywhere, are part of our culture, and are used by everyone. And the newest versions – the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy 3, for example – take pictures that rival many sophisticated point-and shoots. But don’t ask Lindsay Lohan to sing the praises of the new smart phones’ picture taking features.
The actress, who has been a magnet for controversy and for run-ins with the law, is now seemingly embroiled with a 25-year-old man initially arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge. Hours later he was released, the charge voided because it could not be substantiated.
According to officials, Lohan has claimed Christian LaBella, a good-looking former Washington aide, allegedly grabbed her in her hotel room at the posh W Hotel on Union Square in Manhattan, NYC. But according to LaBella, he acted in self-defense. Now the two have filed cross-harassment charges. Lohan asserts LaBella tricked her. LaBella attests Lohan attacked him.
And at the bottom of it? LaBella’s picture-taking cell phone and the alleged photos he took of Lohan partying at a club earlier on.
For the moment, this most recent Lohan paparazzi-sensation element with its point-and-shoot playground finger pointing needs a defense attorney well-versed in playground ethics and skilled in court. But what is important, what really comes to the surface, is the smart phone itself – and the potential dangers.
Parkman Blanch has suggested, has expressed warnings in the past: These new hand-helds are in reality portable, high-tech computers. And aside from being potential tabloid tools, they are extremely vulnerable to hacking, a recognized cyber crime and criminal activity.
Questions do arise: If someone, anyone, is capable of secretly taking pictures of a known celebrity with a smart phone – remember the flap over the recorded Mitt Romney speech to wealthy constituents? – when does that action become criminal? What is an invasion of privacy? What is, or should be, open to public scrutiny? New technology, it seems, is rapidly exposing human vulnerability with greater ease – now with a smart phone.
But Parkman Blanch believes the most important point – with this new generation of smart phones – is not another question. It is the simple fact. Someone else, someone unknown, is now capable of hacking into any smart phone’s stored information – any and all vital, personal information – and then of exploiting it illegally. Such is the state of this “new generation” of technology that it is also a potential future of criminal activity.