The economy is in shambles. The war is costing billions. And the country is adjusting to a new president (thank God).

But what does a New York Congressman want to do?

Outlaw cell phone cameras that don’t make a clicking sound when you press the shutter.

The “Camera Phone Predator Alert Act” was introduced earlier this month by Pete King, a republican who believes too many children have been “exploited by photographs taken in dressing rooms and public places with the use of a camera phone”.

The bill makes no mention as to why children would be in a dressing with an adult stranger in the first place, but it would mean the children would hear a clicking sound when photographed by this stranger.

    (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).

I’m sure there will be plenty of proponents of this bill, especially when reading stories like this one where a former Los Angeles police officer was convicted of “eight misdemeanor counts of secretly photographing underage girls for sexual gratification.” But the article does not specify whether he was even using a cell phone camera.

Most pedophiles, I would imagine, probably use long lenses. Either that or they already are on friendly terms with the child where a clicking sound is not going to make a difference.

And can you imagine a room full of clicking cell phone cameras?



I would rather hear the president.

Instead of cracking down on pedophiles, the bill would criminalize anybody with a cell phone camera that does not make a clicking sound. I can just imagine a civilian photographing a case of police brutality only to wind up in jail because his phone didn’t warn the cops that they were being photographed.

In fact, the majority of commenters on two of the most respected tech sites are also skeptical of this bill.

And as  The Guardian in the U.K pointedly asks: What is the camera going to do when it records video. Make a whirring noise?


I am a multimedia journalist who has been fighting a lengthy legal battle after having photographed Miami police against their wishes in Feb. 2007. Please help the fight by donating to my Legal Defense Fund in the top left sidebar. And feel free to join my Facebook blog network to keep updated on the latest articles.

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