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New Law Will Require Camera Phones To "Click" 1235

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the pointless-wastes-of-time dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A new bill is being introduced called the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act, which would require any mobile phone containing a digital camera to sound a tone whenever a photograph is taken with the phone's camera. It would also prohibit such a phone from being equipped with a means of disabling or silencing the tone."
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New Law Will Require Camera Phones To "Click"

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  • LOL (Score:5, Funny)

    by Beat The Odds (1109173) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:09PM (#26611623)
    And because it's a law, there will be no way to circumvent this.
    • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:15PM (#26611775)

      "because it's a law"

      And as its "law", then how about the CCTV's all making a noise when they photograph everyone. If they want everyone to respect their law, they should lead by example and prevent their CCTVs from filming without people knowing.

      • Re:LOL (Score:5, Funny)

        by lordsid (629982) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:21PM (#26611899)

        From a loudspeaker next to the camera: "Fear not citizen, you are being filmed for your own protection. Be Well."

        That would sure make me feel better.

        • Re:LOL (Score:5, Funny)

          by ojintoad (1310811) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:46PM (#26612359)

          From a loudspeaker next to the camera: "IGNORE ME! IGNORE ME! IGNORE ME! [ytmnd.com] "

          Fixed it for you.

      • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

        by flyingsquid (813711) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:43PM (#26612307)
        My proposed addition to this bill: when a warrantless wiretap is conducted by the NSA, they are required to play the sound of the Constitution being ripped up into little pieces and then burned.

        It just strikes one as a bit hypocritical for our representatives to be worrying about improper use of cell phones by some random pervert, when the NSA's domestic surveillance operations have systematically violated our civil liberties on an industrial scale over the past few years.

        • Re:LOL (Score:5, Funny)

          by Shakrai (717556) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:44PM (#26612331) Journal

          It just strikes one as a bit hypocritical for our representatives to be worrying about improper use of cell phones by some random pervert

          But, think of the children!

        • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sumdumass (711423) on Monday January 26, 2009 @06:46PM (#26614443) Journal

          You do realize that the FISA court of review has stated that the TSP was legal [nytimes.com] and constitutional even when one person was inside the US right?

          I could say I don't know why this didn't make it onto the Slashdot site but then again I already know the answer to that. But seriously, look it over, you can find the complete redacted ruling and see for yourself what it says. I would caution doing a google search over it, it seems about every liberal site that has caught wind of it has blew gaskets at the prospect of their belief system being destroyed and have attempted everything possible to "say it isn't so" including accusing the courts of being uneducated idiots to somehow pandering for reelection to somehow being obligated to the administration who was leaving office. Take them with a grain of salt.

          • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

            by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday January 26, 2009 @08:28PM (#26615645)

            You do realize that the FISA court of review has stated that the TSP was legal

            This is not accurate; the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review held that the Protect America Act was within the Constitutional power of Congress, and, therefore, that the portion of the TSP conducted within the confines (temporal and legal) of the PAA was legal. The TSP began before the PAA was proposed, much less adopted (and, as far as I know, continued after the PAA sunsetted, but that's another issue.) So at least some of the TSP is outside the scope of the ruling, even before considering whether all actions conducted under the TSP while the PAA was in force were, in fact, compliant with the PAA.

            I could say I don't know why this didn't make it onto the Slashdot site but then again I already know the answer to that.

            It is impossible to "know" the reason why something didn't happen when, in fact, it did happen.

            Sorry if that interferes with your fact-deficient rant.

      • Re:LOL (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:46PM (#26612365) Homepage Journal
        "because it's a law"

        Good Grief....with all the problems the country has right now, and THIS is the type of law they try to get passed??!?!?

        Man...next election cycle, let us PLEASE fill the Senate and HOR 50/50 with each party. I feel so much safer in my country, and its progress when there is complete gridlock in the federal govt.

        • Even better (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Pope (17780) on Monday January 26, 2009 @05:15PM (#26612891)

          It doesn't have to be 50/50 by any means, simply vote for a non-incumbent. Change is good :)

        • give me a break (Score:5, Insightful)

          by commodoresloat (172735) on Monday January 26, 2009 @06:36PM (#26614293)

          I get your point, but gridlock is not a good thing. Take it from someone living in California, waiting for the state to run out of money because these idiots in the legislature refuse to agree on a budget. We're $43 billion in the hole without a plan to fix it. Gridlock is not the answer.

    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:16PM (#26611797)

      Since any hacked camera will NOT make a sound ... will the cops randomly demand that people with camera-capable devices "demonstrate" that they click when a picture is taken? Since they will NOT be able to tell if someone was actually taking a picture or just seeing if they could frame the shot.

      Excuse me sir. I see you're talking on your cell phone. I will ask you to take a picture of me so that I may ascertain whether your phone is "Camera Phone Predator Alert Act" compliant.

      • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:21PM (#26611883)

        At which time, I, as the wiley "bad guy", press the button telling the camera to make the clicking noise when taking a picture. After the mean ol'cop has left, I press it again and resume taking illicit photos of manhole covers.... ohh.. look, that one has some bubble gum stuck in the lettering.

        • by philspear (1142299) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:27PM (#26612041)

          I, as the wiley "bad guy", press the button telling the camera to make the clicking noise when taking a picture.

          Oh wow, you're advanced. I would have just made clicking sounds with my mouth.

        • by Shakrai (717556) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:47PM (#26612371) Journal

          At which time, I, as the wiley "bad guy", press the button telling the camera to make the clicking noise when taking a picture. After the mean ol'cop has left

          I had a "friend" once who had a similar button in his car that would disable his brake lights. He made a living for a few years by getting "accidentally" rear-ended. Always managed to flip 'em back on by the time the cops showed up.

          Of course, said friend later died in a shootout with the police at a meth lab so I guess he wasn't born into the deep end of the gene pool.....

          • by Tumbleweed (3706) on Monday January 26, 2009 @05:32PM (#26613221)

            Of course, said friend later died in a shootout with the police at a meth lab so I guess he wasn't born into the deep end of the gene pool.....

            That's the best thing about the gene pool - there's no lifeguard. I really wish they'd take those warning stickers off hairdryers and such, though. Some of these 'tards are living long enough to reproduce.

          • by causality (777677) on Monday January 26, 2009 @06:03PM (#26613703)

            I had a "friend" once who had a similar button in his car that would disable his brake lights. He made a living for a few years by getting "accidentally" rear-ended. Always managed to flip 'em back on by the time the cops showed up.

            I wish this were much more common and lots of people did it. Maybe that's what it would take for people in general to understand why a good following distance is important. No, really, you're supposed to drive in such a way that something like this would never make you have an accident. People who refuse to do that are unfit to use a shared resource like the public roadways and I do not recognize their right to pose an unnecessary hazard to others (and why should you?).

            Ever notice those people who tailgate you until you approach a traffic light? Then they back off because they know you may have to slow down or stop and they know that their following distance is unsafe for that. Their arrogance is that they think they will always know when you have to slow or stop, that there is no such thing as deer or dogs or pedestrians or impatient drivers who suddenly create hazards and that everything always goes smoothly the way you intended with no unforeseen complications.

            I think this mentality also has something to do with the amount of debt that the average person (in the USA) carries and why so many people live from paycheck to paycheck when most of them have other options. That is, it's the unthinking "leaf in the wind" mentality, again, where people don't realize that they are living in such a way that leaves them open to what appear to be sudden and surprising events. The only amazing thing about the situation is that people can be so wide-open to these problems for so long before something finally does happen. That is no excuse for denial of what should be plainly true, but if someone wants to be in denial, this alone can help prevent them from seeing the cause and effect.

      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:26PM (#26612021) Journal

        Since any hacked camera will NOT make a sound ... will the cops randomly demand that people with camera-capable devices "demonstrate" that they click when a picture is taken?

        The police will apparently have nothing to do with it.

        The text of the bill [loc.gov]

        (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).

      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday January 26, 2009 @05:05PM (#26612715)
        My worry is what the cop will do after he hears your phone click when you catch him beating the shit out of somebody. Makes it a little hard to conceal that you just caught him in action.
        • by Belial6 (794905) on Monday January 26, 2009 @06:32PM (#26614213)
          The same thing they did recently when a cop shot a restrained BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) passenger. They would seize every cell phone that they could find calling it "evidence", and the CCTV cameras in the area would just happen to not be working. Of course, just like in the recent shooting, it might turn out a week later that one of the cctv cameras was working after all, as long as nothing incriminating can be seen from it's angle.
    • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sakdoctor (1087155) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:23PM (#26611969) Homepage

      When camera phones that don't click are outlawed, only outlaws will have camera phones that don't click.

      • Re:LOL (Score:5, Funny)

        by Hogwash McFly (678207) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:48PM (#26612419)

        First they came for those whose phones did not click when taking a picture, and I did not speak up because I did not own a phone that did not click when taking a picture.

    • Committee (Score:5, Informative)

      by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:38PM (#26612235) Homepage

      If you click the link, and then click the link on that link to the actual source [loc.gov], it's a bill introduced by Rep Peter T. King [NY-3] introduced 1/9/2009 with no cosponsors; referred to House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

      Most bills submitted to committees never get out of committee, espercially the ones with no co-sponsors, buried under the press of other stuff that congress can do which they think will actually get them votes. By introducing the bill he can tell the constituants that were lobbying for this "I introduced a bill in Congress to solve that very" and make it sound like he actually did something.

    • by philspear (1142299) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:38PM (#26612239)

      For one thing, this law would do NOTHING to alert deaf victims they are being photographed! Some of them could be kids!

    • Govtack (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zonk (troll) (1026140) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:58PM (#26612573)

      You can track the bill here on Govtrack [govtrack.us]. If this gets past committee please write or call your representative and ask them to reject yet another unnecessary regulation.

      In addition, if you live in New York's 3rd Congressional District [wikipedia.org], please remember how your representative wants to waste our tax dollars when you vote next year.

      After doing a little more research on him, here's another very good reasons to vote him out. Quoting his campaign website [peteking.us]:

      Pete was a strong supporter of the PATRIOT Act, creating the Homeland Security Department, profiling for terrorists at airports and allowing the National Security Agency to wiretap foreign terrorists making telephone calls into our country.

      Please vote this guy out.

  • by onemorechip (816444) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:10PM (#26611651)

    Next will have complaints from parents whose children's recitals are marred by clicking cell phones, newlyweds whose vows were interrupted by the same, etc., etc.

  • Eh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Moof (859402) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:10PM (#26611653)
    What next, requiring digital camcorders to make that old 8mm sounds while recording?
  • Thank god (Score:5, Funny)

    by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:11PM (#26611675) Journal

    I was worried that congress had stuff to address that actually matters.

  • Japan (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ninjaesque One (902204) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:11PM (#26611689) Journal
    I recall that Japan has a similar law, to prevent photos being taken of. . . things that Japanese men want to take pictures of, I guess.
  • Insanely stupid. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CannonballHead (842625) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:12PM (#26611705)

    May as well pass a low mandating all shoes to have "clicky" heels so that we can't sneak up on anyone. Silent shoes are the highest contributors to predatory actions!

    Seriously, this is stupid. And besides, we all know someone will find a way to disable it, so it'll only make the non-bad people have to live with the click, right?

    I guess legislators don't know what else to do with their time. You'd think they'd start, I don't know, spending less.... nah.

  • All cameras? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Imagix (695350) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:13PM (#26611721)
    Does this apply to _all_ cameras? Security cams, webcams, etc? What about cell phones taking videos? Do they now have to play a whirring sound so that people know that the video camera is running (and then back to security cams, web cams, etc)?
  • Surveillance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pipatron (966506) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:13PM (#26611729) Homepage
    So the state can secretly monitor everything we do, but we are not allowed to do it ourselves?
  • Already so in Japan (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lunarian Moogle (905883) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:13PM (#26611733)
    This requirement is actually already in practice in Japan. In fact, Apple recently had to adjust the Japanese iPhone software to accommodate this. http://cultofmac.com/to-prevent-upskirts-japanese-iphone-3g-always-alerts-when-taking-photos/2356 [cultofmac.com]
    • by KeithJM (1024071) on Monday January 26, 2009 @05:04PM (#26612699) Homepage
      The funny thing about this is when I hold the iphone to take a picture, I hold it with my left thumb on the bottom edge and my left index finger on the top edge. This keeps me from blocking the tiny lens on the back and also lets me look at the preview on the screen, while keeping my right hand free to push the button to take the picture. My left thumb naturally falls over the speaker. It also happens to block the camera sound (not because I want it to, it's just the easiest way for me to hold the camera).
      Perhaps this law will remove my left thumb and save me from myself.
  • by Nrbelex (917694) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:13PM (#26611739) Homepage
    Expect to see a lot more ads for: "UPSKIRT SHOTS OF DEAF CHIKZ!1one." They should really require a strobe light to go off at the same time as the shutter sound.
  • Crimes in progress (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ewg (158266) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:14PM (#26611765)

    Probably a rare occurrence, but this means bystanders won't be able to photograph crimes in progress without alerting criminals.

  • Great!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mlwmohawk (801821) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:18PM (#26611833)

    So now, when you take a picture of police shooting a restrained person in the back, they'll be alerted and shoot you!!!

    Silent camera phones are an important instrument to keep authorities in check.

    • by weston (16146) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Monday January 26, 2009 @05:22PM (#26613023) Homepage

      It's VERY important. In fact, one of the best things we might do to protect against abuse of power is to explicitly PROTECT the use of photographic/video/audio recording devices, because it's obvious that there isn't enough protection right now.

      Take the recent case of Oscar Grant [sfgate.com]. He was fatally shot by a BART officer on New Year's. Witnesses said the man was restrained and essentially helpless when the officer shot him, but of course, the BART spokesman Jim Allison said the victim was not restrained when the gun discharged.

      Funny, Mr. Allison, because independent footage taken by a witness with a cellphone [cbs5.com] showed a different story [sfgate.com]. And guess what? That footage almost wasn't available because an officer attempted to confiscate the camera (see the cbs5.com article: "[Vargas] also said she resisted an officer's attempt to confiscate her camera") -- she's probably lucky she wasn't shot as well.

      And take the recent case of Marilyn Parver [kingmandailyminer.com] who was bullied by Jet Blue staff and threatened with actions from being banned from flying to "$10,000 in fines and 25 years in jail" -- because she videotaped an incident on a Jet Blue plane from her seat and refused to delete the footage. I don't know about you, but my reaction to this is to want to contact Jet Blue and ASKING them to put me on their no-fly list until they apologize to this woman and change their policy.

      Overall, I think there needs to be law explicitly stating that in any space (public or private) in which there's no reasonable expectation of privacy, recording devices are not only allowed, the right to use them can't be infringed, and that no private entity or public agency can demand either surrender or destruction of the device or recordings (although it does seem reasonable to let the law compel delivery of unaltered copies).

  • WTF? (Score:5, Informative)

    by BronsCon (927697) <social@bronstrup.com> on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:18PM (#26611839) Journal

    Seriously. What. The. Fuck?

    That annoying fucken' sound is the fist thing I fucken' disable when I get a new phone, simply because it pisses me off.

    I've never taken "candid" photos, for which I'd need complete silence, I just don't like the extra noise. I disable my desktop sounds, as well. I'm just like that.

    And at a concert or other public event? I've never heard someone's camera phone making noises (other than ringing) at one, but I know they're being used to take pictures. ... actually, I have been in situations where silence was golden. I have no drawing skills and needed to copy down a diagram my instructor had drawn on the whiteboard. My (instructor approved, so ling as it didn't disrupt the class) answer? Camera phone.

    Not anymore, if this law passes!

  • by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:27PM (#26612033) Homepage Journal

    I'm coming to the conclusion now that any legislation that forces changes on technology is a violation of the right to free speech.

    Think about it. Source code is speech. It can do what you want, say what you want, be what you want. If you accept that, then legislating that you can't do certain things with technology is restricting the number of possible ideas that you can express.

    So then, the question becomes "is this a valid restriction on the free speech of the populace?" There are some that most people agree with, like yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre where no such fire exists. But these are very limited; they generally directly endanger one or more other people by that speech alone (in this case due to trampling, etc).

    In this case, we're dealing with a hypothetical: Some people may use their cell phones to stalk other people, putting them in danger. Is it right to restrict everyone due to the actions of a few? Especially when there are valid reasons why someone might want to express an idea (in this case, have their cell phone's sound off), the answer should be no.

    Lawmakers get around this because most people don't associate mechanisms and software with speech, but the sooner we all understand that fundamentally it's all the same, the better.

  • by mellon (7048) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:28PM (#26612051) Homepage

    ...now's your chance. It's been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Please check the membership list [house.gov] to see if your representative is on it. If so, please call them and ask them not to support this bill when it is considered by the committee. Be polite. Try to have a good reason prepared before you call.

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:36PM (#26612215)

    TFA even has a link to the bill's page [loc.gov] at Thomas (which is the server that Congresspersons use to keep track of legislative business, and is open to the public). Current status is:

    Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

    Also note that the bill's sole sponsor, Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), does not sit on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

    The most likely scenario is that this bill will sit in committee until it quietly dies (a very common fate, I would add).

  • by flajann (658201) <flajann.linuxbloke@com> on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:46PM (#26612345) Homepage Journal
    Nevermind camera phones -- what about cameras?

    Well, we know where this is really going. They want to eventually outlaw use of cameras in public.

    Leave it to the government to enact stupid laws that takes even more of our freedom away. And of course, the real grit will be found in the complete text of the bill. I'm sure they will not stop at camera phones....

  • by Tablizer (95088) on Monday January 26, 2009 @05:21PM (#26613017) Homepage Journal

    In similar news, lawmakers will require all horseless carriages (we call them "cars") to periodically whinny like a horse. (Ford Escorts do that anyhow after it rains, although I don't know if it's intentional.)
         

  • by Gerzel (240421) * <brollyferret@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Monday January 26, 2009 @05:37PM (#26613311) Journal

    Seriously why isn't this in the article summery?

    It would take less than a sentence. Can the mods please wake up and at least require a bare minimum standard?

  • when I was young.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Monday January 26, 2009 @09:52PM (#26616363) Journal

    What we need is a car analogy. I don't have one. How about a motorcycle analogy?

    My step-dad rode an old BSA (British bike, leaked oil) when I was a kid. It had a minor fault -- the required (in California) stoplight button on the rear brake pedal didn't work, and he never bothered to fix it. In those days and that area, cops would randomly pull over bikers ostensibly for safety checks, but actually to check their id and registration, run the plate, and generally look for trouble.

    Step-dad would be required to demonstrate that the rear stoplight function worked. So he'd get in the bike, steady himself with his left hand on the handlebars, push the rear brake pedal down while simultaneously squeezing the front brake lever, which did turn on the stoplight. Ran it like that for years, was stopped many times, cops never caught on.

    This is a feel-good law. I can't imagine that the people writing it really think it'll work. At most it'll nail a few people on false positives, but the true hard-core perverts, and the geeks who can't resist a challenge, will figure out work-arounds in next to no time. It's just software, after all. If you can jailbreak a phone, you can probably figure out how to temporarily turn off a mandatory feature.

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