Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Camera Phone Predator Alert Act

Here is some proposed legislation so ridiculous that you must read about it. Via Carlos Miller's Photography is Not a Crime, I have learned about the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act. If passed, this bill will require that all cell phones sold in the U.S. make an artificial camera sound so that everyone around the cameraphone knows that a picture of something is being taken. The bill, published on the Library of Congress website, "prohibits such a phone from being equipped with a means of disabling or silencing the tone."

The bill further states that:
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.


Miller writes, in his post:
The bill makes no mention as to why children would be in a dressing with an adult stranger in the first place, but it would mean the children would hear a clicking sound when photographed by this stranger.

Never mind that cell phone cameras have helped fight crime--just yesterday in Boston, a municipal sanitation crew was snapped apparently taking bribes to illegally haul demolition waste. And never mind that news organizations like CNN have become heavily reliant on "citizen" (i.e. unpaid) journalism. Even though the citizen photographers are not compensated, the quality of news coverage has increased--just take a look at how many non-journalist's (cameraphone) pictures of the US Airways crash were published last month.

This bill is not only a ridiculous and sensationalist maneuver by a congressman whose name I'll not mention, it's an attack on photography. It also reminds me of something I started writing a few years back. It was a long criticism of the cable TV show "To Catch a Predator" (the show is no longer in production, but it has spawned a profitable product line). In that draft, I coined the term "child rape profiteering industry," and I can't help but re-use that phrase this morning. Whether for monetary profit or personal gain, Americans and American companies exploit exploited children on a daily basis. I can't tell what pisses me off more: the blatant attack on First Amendment rights or the sensationalism and exploitation behind this publicity stunt.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Dan said...

I thump my chest and bark your name in agreement.

Lawmakers, cops, and prosecutors are really in a tizzy about this whole underagers-on-cameraphone thing. Young people discovering their sexuality? Somebody must be punished!

And that's what this is really about, as your quoted blogger points out. This isn't about exploitation by strangers -- this is about teens "exploiting" themselves. This is about scaring them away from their sexuality.

3:32 PM  
Blogger cwkemmerer said...

"You not take pictures here"

JFK

2:04 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Ha. I got in an argument with a private guard at JFK at 7 in the morning a few weeks ago for taking a picture of an Air India 777 from the outside of the new B6 terminal. I basically unloaded on the guy, telling him that it was a public area and he had no right to tell me or anyone where they couldn't take pictures. He responded, "that's just what they tell me to say" and walked off.

2:47 PM  

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