Monday, January 26, 2009

Good Politicking And Bad Law

Back on January 9th Rep Peter King (R-NY) submitted a bill entitled the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act.

Not that this has a serious chance of being enacted, but let's have a look at it.

Congress finds that children and adolescents have been exploited by photographs taken in dressing rooms and public places with the use of a camera phone.

If Congress has made such a finding I sure would appreciate some references. I haven't heard much in the way of cell phone camera intrusions in dressing rooms. If my child were in a dressing room and I saw someone walk up with a cell phone or anything else trying to take pictures, I'd do something about it. But that's just me. A parent. Keeping an eye on my kid.

I was not aware there is a market for pictures of children and adolescents in public places, especially those high quality photos we associate with cell phone cameras. I see people holding their phone at arm's length in public places all the time. Thanks to Congressman King I now know what these sick people are up to.

(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).

It will be up to the Consumer Product Safety Commission to determine a "reasonable radius" and what sound the phone will make when it takes a picture. Aside from that, if surreptitious photos are the problem why doesn't he address everything that takes pictures? Small digital cameras can have their sound disabled. Should silent video cameras be made to go clickety-clickety like the Super 8 movie cameras of old?

Being able to tell your constituents you have submitted a bill called the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act sounds hard on crime and good for society. And that appears to be what's important in this case.

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