Smartphone video surveillance

 

Sidney Myers, a 20-year-old South Carolina man, had procured a powerful handheld device built in a foreign country, a device which allowed him both to transmit a bomb threat and to create child pornography. The device was an HTC smartphone, and his use of the phone has now branded Myers a lifelong sex offender and landed him an 18 month federal prison sentence. His public defender claims that the “facts of this case have never been seen in our jurisdiction and likely will not be seen again,” but in the smartphone age, perhaps the facts no longer seem as unusual as they once would have.

Problems began when Myers met a young woman in a club. According to Myers’ lawyer, the woman told him that she was 18—though in reality she was just 16. They began dating, which led to sex, which led to videos of sex, all taken on Myers’ smartphone with the woman’s full consent. (Two different government press releases on Myers say he had either five or six such videos on his phone; the exact number is unclear.)

That age difference didn’t matter, legally, when it came to having sex. “It should be noted that under both South Carolina and federal law, the age of consent is 16, so it was legal for them to have sex whether she was 16 or 18,” wrote Myers’ lawyer in a court filing. But the age difference did matter when it came to recording the act. Because the girl was a minor, the images were child pornography under federal law, even though they involved a consensual relationship and someone above the age of consent.

Smartphone video surveillance

Holograms aren’t just for droids and dead rappers. You can make your own with a piece of transparency paper and a four-sided hologram video. Properly folded, the transparency will combine the images on a phone or tablet screen to create “a reflection that gives you the illusion of an object hovering in space,” says Alex Cronin, a physicist at the University of Arizona.

Use this template to fold the transparency paper into a prism. Cut along the solid black lines and crease along the red lines.

A smartphone can perform other optical tricks. Harvest a focus lens from a laser pointer, and attach it to the phone’s camera with some wire. The lens will magnify images to make a DIY microscope (full instructions here ). Or stick a few pieces of clear tape over the flash, and color them with blue and purple Sharpie markers. This filter blocks out most visible light and leaves only the ultraviolet spectrum, turning the phone's flashlight function into a blacklight (full instructions here ).

Sidney Myers, a 20-year-old South Carolina man, had procured a powerful handheld device built in a foreign country, a device which allowed him both to transmit a bomb threat and to create child pornography. The device was an HTC smartphone, and his use of the phone has now branded Myers a lifelong sex offender and landed him an 18 month federal prison sentence. His public defender claims that the “facts of this case have never been seen in our jurisdiction and likely will not be seen again,” but in the smartphone age, perhaps the facts no longer seem as unusual as they once would have.

Problems began when Myers met a young woman in a club. According to Myers’ lawyer, the woman told him that she was 18—though in reality she was just 16. They began dating, which led to sex, which led to videos of sex, all taken on Myers’ smartphone with the woman’s full consent. (Two different government press releases on Myers say he had either five or six such videos on his phone; the exact number is unclear.)

That age difference didn’t matter, legally, when it came to having sex. “It should be noted that under both South Carolina and federal law, the age of consent is 16, so it was legal for them to have sex whether she was 16 or 18,” wrote Myers’ lawyer in a court filing. But the age difference did matter when it came to recording the act. Because the girl was a minor, the images were child pornography under federal law, even though they involved a consensual relationship and someone above the age of consent.