Ashcroft on Line 1

Last year, police in Osaka set up a hot line through which crime-scene witnesses with camera phones—the popular mobile phones with a tiny digital eye—could send photographic evidence to authorities. So far the results haven't affirmed the citizenry's willingness to ensure civic order. Of 328 messages received, 45 contained photos—and half of those were pranks. Despite sincere tips on underage smoking and illegal parking, exactly zero crimes have been solved thanks to civilian sleuths. Not to say camera phones haven't kept the authorities busy: police have received a slew of complaints of digital skirt peeping and sundry reports of other, less...

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