New poll: can you bring a camera phone to work?

by Volker Weber

Every single time I talk about business phones, somebody will ramble about cameras in mobile phones and state that he cannot get into "many companies" with a camera phone and will have to leave it at the reception desk.

That has never happened to me. So what is your place like? Can you bring a camera phone to work?




Actually, most phones we can get from the company agreement are camera phones.

Armin Auth, 2008-08-11

I know just about a few localities of one of my customers, where are cameras forbidden - when you know what these localities are it is pretty clear.

Martin Humpolec, 2008-08-11

Oddly enough, given the kind of place I work, I think the policy's pretty progressive in that regard.

They realize that that it's harder and harder to get phones without cameras in them so current policy is that camera phones are allowed in the workspace, but the act of using them to take pictures is what's banned.

Scott Gentzen, 2008-08-11

the majority of times i heard that you cant carry a camera to xyz is a RIM person trying to justify that they were the last vendor to have a camera on their device.

translated : i havent been anywhere exept the as a turist where i wasnt allowed to use a camera

Flemming Riis, 2008-08-11

I once visited a very large customer who let me choose between deposing the camera phone at the security gate or putting a sticker on the lense. Upon leaving, I would have to show that the sticker is still intact. Of course, you can pull the sticker only once as it gets destroyed when peeling it off the lense.

But that was some years ago, I don't know if the restriction still exists.

Steffen Uhlig, 2008-08-11

I usually visit quite large corporate entities, and nobody has ever asked me to surrender my phone. Not even with military or government customers.
There are usually signs that tell you not to take pictures on premises, but that's about it. It would also be pretty useless, I think - even if they take your phone, you could still have lots of other devices capable of taking pictures with you. Even laptops come with cameras, nowadays.
Having said that, I have heard from colleagues who visit sites where camera phones are explicitly forbidden, mostly R&D facilities.

Frank Koehntopp, 2008-08-11

When still consulting (more than two years ago), I did have one client that prohibited cameras and camera phones. This client manufactured avionics components used in military aircraft.

Richard Schwartz, 2008-08-11

Same as Richard (hm... wonder if it's the same client). On the one hand, maybe the policy should be the banning of taking pictures with the phones, not the banning of phones outright. But can you imagine trying to police the former? Much easier to just make people empty their pockets when they arrive... which means the avoided expense of having security guards posted in every room just to watch for people taking unauthorized photos (come to think of it, that sounds like movie theaters now) isn't passed on to the company's customers.

Tim Tripcony, 2008-08-11

I voted yes, as I own the policy here, but it is not uncommon for companies to ban cameras and camera 'phones here in the UK.

This is especially true if the company concerned is somehow involved in the military, perhaps as a supplier or subcontractor. It is also true at many automotive design houses and test facilities.

This is a very difficult (read: expensive) rule to enforce, however, so you have to be serious about it or risk looking silly when you announce the rule and subsequently fail to enforce it.

Chris Linfoot, 2008-08-11

Chris, everybody has heard of companies banning camera phones. And I know a few examples. But by and large, they are only a few percent.

Volker Weber, 2008-08-11

I guess it really depends on the type of site that you are visiting. How much sensitive information can take out of a typical software research lab using a digital camera? Is it really useful to take photos of screens (if it's a UI design lab, maybe, but otherwise...). I guess the data storage of the devices would be much more crucial in this case.

Where I work (and it is not only software research done here), nobody will ask you to deposit your phone or empty your pockets. However, the policy says that a external visitor (i.e. not an employee of the company) should be escorted at any time (well, you know that one exception, but there's no research visible there ;-)).

Ragnar Schierholz, 2008-08-11

There are a few rooms where they are not allowed (server rooms, mainly). But yes, we're allowed to bring them into the building.

Rob McDonagh, 2008-08-11

We have at least two customers, I'm not allowed to enter their company site with a camera - pure, in a mobile phone or integrated into any other device.

Thomas Bahn, 2008-08-11

In my many years of consulting I've been at 3 locations where camera phones were not allowed and actually all 3 of them prohibited any phones being brought in from outside (along with cameras, laptops, usb flash drives, etc...). All 3 were government facilities (1 military, 1 intelligence agency, and 1 DOE facility).

Kirk Kuykendall, 2008-08-11

As of a few years ago, IBM did not allow cameras in its facilities but allowed camera phones. Employees had to declare that they had a camera phone when filling out an annual security audit form.

Bob Congdon, 2008-08-11

I do allot of work for US government entities, especially the US Army. Most sites are OK with them, but anything Army location that contains troop or production facilities actually either outright confiscates them or has you register them and you need to carry the registration around with you. You are liable to loose it anyway if somebody thinks you might have snaped a picture someplace though.

Allot of manufacturing customers do not allow camera phones at their facilities either, I have been asked to surrender my phone on several occasions.

Victor Toal, 2008-08-11

A certain Pentagonal governmental building I used to work at (in late 2006) had restrictions, but mostly limited to certain internal areas. That said, did anyone ever police taking pictures? Not so much. Yeah, sure, if you tried to walk past a PFPA station (another clue) carrying an obvious camcorder they would have freaked, but anything that could fit in a pocket was ignored. You were also supposed to turn your phone off in the internal area I worked, but this was never checked either.

Only place I've truly had to put my cameraphone in a storage locker was the county courthouse for jury duty. Laptops, of course, WERE allowed in there - even Macbooks with iSights. Foolish policies...

Kevan Emmott, 2008-08-11

My last two customers don't allow phones with cameras, but none of them really enforces it. (Automotive & Pharma)

Frank Dröge, 2008-08-11

Working in "show-biz", the question of banning mobile phones with included camera was a hot topic couple of years ago.

Managers & promoters tried to hold "copyright protected footage" on their own....forcing security to collect mobile phones with cameras at the doors....(and giving them back after the show....).

They gave up as it's simply impossible to check up to 50.000 visitors and withhold their mobiles....

Result: A lot of crap "videos" on youtube etc....and NO harm to the artist.

Google / youtube "LTU arena".....(Madonna, Police, Springsteen, Linkin Park...) ;-)


Heiko Müller, 2008-08-11

Have worked (as a consultant) with both public and private sector organizations that prohibited bringing in any type of camera device, and some that had a complete ban on cellphones. It's not that uncommon.

Jan Tietze, 2008-08-12

In German Courts you are not allowed to carry mobile phones with cameras

Detlev Buschkamp, 2008-08-18

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