U.S. New York Representative Pete King (Republican, Long Island) introduced a new bill in Congress this month H.R.414: “To require mobile phones containing digital cameras to make a sound when a photograph is taken. ” The short title of the bill is simply, “Camera Phone Predator Alert Act.”
From the bill:
” (a) Requirement- Beginning 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, any mobile phone containing a digital camera that is manufactured for sale in the United States shall sound a tone or other sound audible within a reasonable radius of the phone whenever a photograph is taken with the camera in such phone. A mobile phone manufactured after such date shall not be equipped with a means of disabling or silencing such tone or sound.
(b) Enforcement by Consumer Product Safety Commission- The requirement in subsection (a) shall be treated as a consumer product safety standard promulgated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission under section 7 of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2056). A violation of subsection (a) shall be enforced by the Commission under section 19 of such Act (15 U.S.C. 2068).”
Now I’m a father of four young children, and nobody wants to protect their children from predators more than I do, but this is just plain stupid.
First off there are many times that you don’t want your camera to make audible noises. Let’s say your shooting your own kid in the school play. Having a bunch of disruptive beeps going off every time someone takes a photo is annoying. There are many times when you want to shoot something being less disruptive not being more disruptive. There are certainly plenty of times and places where it is perfectly appropriate to try and be as quiet as you can while shooting.
Secondly, this bill only applies to cell phones. So if some predator wants to try to sneak photos of kids in the locker room all they would have to do is use a regular old point and shoot camera which this bill doesn’t apply to. In fact, spy type cameras have been around for years and if someone really wants to try to take stealthy photos, they certainly can without the need to use their cell phone camera. The law also does nothing to address video.
Then of course there is the part of the bill that this would only apply to new phones. So let’s see, a predator then could, theoretically, still use any old cell phone that they want to take silent phones while millions of law abiding users have to put up with noisy beeps going off whenever they shoot.
I have no idea what the cost of implementing this technology would be, but I’m sure AT&T would figure out some way to make the “enhancement” a reoccurable fee every month on your cell phone bill.
It seems to me like this bill is yet another example of really bad ideas coming from government. It would seem that this is not the first boneheaded idea that Rep. King has come up with by the way. Another of his winner ideas was responsible for funneling $3 million in taxpayer money to a campaign donor for custom manhole covers that Con Ed said could be dangerous in — order to fight those pesky terrorists. At least that’s the way the Daily News reported it. I thought Republicans were supposed to be for less government not for more.