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US considers audible warnings for cameraphones

'Attention! Possible voyeur taking picture!'

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Proposed US legislation could, if adopted, force manufacturers to produce cameraphones that issue audible warnings each time you snap anything from friends and family to your neighbour’s bloomers on the washing line.

The Camera Phone Predator Alert Act – put forward earlier this month by New York Republican Peter King - is designed to protect people from “a new brand of criminal” that takes “photographs under children's skirts” and in female changing rooms.

The bill – which has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce – states that “any mobile phone containing a digital camera... shall sound a tone or other sound audible within a reasonable radius of the phone whenever a photograph is taken”.

It also states that users mustn’t be able to disable the tone. But the law would only apply to cameraphones, so snappers equipped with digital SLRs or compact cameras would still be free to click away under cover.

It’s worth noting that the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act was first introduced way back in September 2007. And, according to a 2008 report on King’s website, a young girl “fighting back against these [cameraphone] predators” came up with the bill’s principal points.

However, it all seems rather daft to us. Imagine snapping a picture of your girlfriend in a park, with every nearby mugger alerted by your iPhone warning: “Attention! Cameraphone activated!” ®

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