Skip to main content

Watch 'The Daily Show' review a camera phone in 2004

Watch 'The Daily Show' review a camera phone in 2004


When invading someone's privacy meant invading their space

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

On the eve of the biggest phone launch in history, The Daily Show tweeted a link to its 2004 takedown of the camera phone. In the segment, called "Digital Watch," Ed Helms balks at the idea of the now ubiquitous combination.

"The camera cell phone," says Helms, "a revolutionary advance in our drive to put multiple things into one thing, is the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup of digital technology. It combines the rapid battery depletion of a high powered digital camera, with the image production capability of a phone."

Helms recognizes the popularity of the device, citing an estimate of 80 million people using camera phones worldwide at the time.

Helms' criticism of camera phones eventually targets the device as a threat to our privacy — not because camera phones may be hacked, but because they may take photos of people who don't wish to be photographed. Will we look back at Google Glass a decade from now and think about our privacy concerns as quaint and outdated as we do with this video?

Whatever the case, the final line still rings true: "So there you have it," says Helms. "The camera cell phone. Another example of technology's amazing power to improve your quality of life at the expense of everyone else's."

Can't see the video? Try this YouTube version.