These days tech policy issues seem to pop up everywhere. During a recent flight delay, I was flipping through the SkyMall Catalog (“Holiday 2009” edition), and found tech policy even there.
There were lots of ads for surveillance and recording devices, some of them clearly useful for illegal purposes: the New Agent Cam HD Color Video Spy Camera (p. 14), the Original Agent Cam Color Video Spy Camera (p. 14), the Video Recording Sunglasses (p. 23), the Wireless Remote Controlled Pan and Tilt Surveillance Camera (p. 23), the Spy Pen (with hidden audio and video recorders, p. 42), the Orbitor Electronic Listening Device, and the GPS Tracking Key (p. 224)
There were also plenty of ads for media-copying technologies, of the sort that various copyright owners might find objectionable: the LP and Cassette to CD Recorder (p. 16), the Slide and Negative to Digital Picture Converter (p. 17), the Digital Photo to DVD Converter (p. 20), the Easy Ipod Media Sharer (p. 27), the One Step DVD/CD Duplicator (p. 31), the Photograph to Digital Picture Converter (p. 40), and the Crosley Encoding Turntable (converts LP records to MP3s, p. 179).
Are these things illegal? Probably not, I guess, but there are surely people out there who would want to make them illegal. And some of them are pretty good ways to get a tech policy debate started.
I’m not about to start reading the SkyMall catalog for fun. But it’s interesting to know that it offers more than just Slankets and yeti statues.