Camera-equipped mobile phones are now a career-threatening accessory at Qantas.

A no-images edict that might have made the Stasi blush in its language and tone has been imposed on staff in the slipstream of embarrassing revelations of shoddy maintenance work on its jets, work that involved the unorthodox use of staples in sensitive electrical systems. Photographs of the offending staples made the pages of the national press.

The news of the photo ban was posted on PPrune, the professional pilot version of Crikey:

The taking of unapproved photographs (within the meanings set out above), whether forwarded, retained, or stored in the memory of a camera, mobile phone or PDA, or held on film, will be considered as a breach of the Qantas Policy dealing with Confidential Information and Security of Information.

Being dedicated to balance, Crikey sought confirmation and comment from Qantas this morning, only to receive a plaintive plea to send a screen capture of the item, as management has already blocked access to PPrune on all company computers.

After which, a Qantas spokesperson said: “Qantas does remind employees from time to time of the restrictions that are imposed on images being taken in secure or sterile areas in its work places.”

Will Qantas screen its employees’ camera phones at shifts end to conduct illegal image searches? Well, it has been known to sift through employee call lists on company mobile phones to identify anyone committing the dismissible offence of making an unauthorised call to a member of the media.

It’s really easy to do. Most reporter telephone numbers and email addresses are known to Qantas. Just run an automated match between send and receive details, and KER PLUNK, Fritz and Igor will drag some miscreant off to a corporate ‘dungeon’ for a little bit of rendition.

Or make them fly Jetstar, in a middle seat.