January 28, 2009
Wall Street Journal Online
By Andrew LaVallee
A bill forcing cellphone cameras to make a sound when taking shots has been introduced in Congress, with its sponsor citing voyeuristic and exploitative picture-taking as the reason behind it.
The Camera Phone Predator Alert Act would require camera-phone manufacturers to include an audible “click” or other sound when the device takes a photo. That sound won’t be able to be disabled or silenced, according to the draft of the bill.
“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,” the draft  says.
Rep.  Peter King (R-N.Y.), who sponsored it, says the goal is to deter sexual predators who use cellphone cameras, for example, to shoot photos of young girls. Child-safety nonprofit  Parents for
Megan’s Law first brought the issue to his attention.
An audible tone can at least help warn people that they’re being surreptitiously photographed, he says. “Is it foolproof? No. But it is an extra layer of protection, that warning signal.”
Rep. King says he doesn’t know whether there will be opposition to the bill, which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce on Jan. 9, though he has discussed it with some telecommunications providers who didn’t object. CTIA, a wireless industry association, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The proposed law is already attracting criticism on  Slashdot and  Wired, however, with readers questioning how it will be enforced and whether it’s a worthwhile idea. What do you think?