Photo Attorney

Jan 30, 2009

New Bill Seeks to Make Phone Cameras Make Noise

As reported by cnet.com, Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives called the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act. The bill is intended to address the concern that "children and adolescents have been exploited by photographs taken in dressing rooms and public places with the use of a camera phone."

If passed, the law will require that "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." The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (because it will be enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission).

As discussed in an earlier blog entry, a person's right of privacy is invaded when the person has a "reasonable expectation of privacy," such as in a dressing or restroom. (The concern of the bill about taking photos of children in "public places" doesn't make sense.) And some states have laws to prosecute such action. But such a law as currently written may be deemed "overly broad" if it affects First Amendment rights of those who use camera phones for a variety of good reasons. Let's just hope that such legislation doesn't ever extend to "regular" cameras.