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If you think the biggest problem with a camera phone is the poor quality of the photos, a member of Congress might make you think again. Earlier this month, Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would ban camera phones from having a silent mode when taking a picture.
The Camera Phone Predator Alert Act (H.R. 414) would "require any mobile phone containing a digital camera to sound a tone whenever a photograph is taken." What's more, the bill would prohibit such handsets from being equipped with a means of disabling or silencing the tone. Enforcement would be through the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Anything OS or file based is easily beatable.
Then you run into the issue that many of the phones come from companies outside the US. Even if those companies make specialized phones for the US that have this capability, it's easy enough to buy other phones online that would likely not have this feature.
It's a good idea, but as others have said, I don't see how they could make it work.
[edited by: Philosopher at 3:28 pm (utc) on Jan. 27, 2009]
I don't know at what point in the manufacturing process the wav files for the shutter sounds are added but this thread suggests that the US market is already exceptional in not having them installed.
That issue aside, it sounds like another one of those "sounds good on paper" ideas- I agree that it would be difficult to enforce. And how about all those people with older devices that were made before such a requirement? Is it going to be a misdemeanor to use them, or will they be grandfathered? And even if they are grandfathered, there will still be cases where a "criminal" is seen taking silent pictures, the SWAT team is called in, shots are fired, blood is spilled, THEN it is discovered the device in question was grandfathered. Ooops, sorry about your husband ma'am. We thought he was using an illegally quiet photographic device.
In this case, it'll occasionally get enforced after the pictures have spread across the web ...
... speaking of which, how will that work with video? 'beep beep beep' will destroy most memorable minutes.
And if they exempt video, how will they stop people taking a 3-microsecond video silently, in place of an alarmed still photo?
"require any mobile phone containing a digital camera to sound a tone whenever a photograph is taken." What's more, the bill would prohibit such handsets from being equipped with a means of disabling or silencing the tone.
And what about a video camera, what noise must that make?
This congressman is clearly dumber than a box of rocks, but at least I understand that there are apparently no cosignatories to the proposal so he is in a delusion of his own.
I like cake. I want it, and want to eat it, too!
Then again, maybe our public servants just don't want any more of those upskirt photos being made without a BEEP! at the time of image...
OBJECTION – Not a 007' Government Regulated Device!