Congressman Proposes "Anti-Upskirt" Law

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News Posted: Mon, Jan 26 2009 5:59 PM

Congressman, Peter King (R), of New York State's Third Congressional District, introduced a bill to congress earlier this month that some might call the "Anti-Upskirt Bill." The actual name of the bill is the "Camera Phone Predator Alert Act" (HR 414), and its aim to make it into law that all camera phones must "make a sound when a photograph is taken."

The primary motivation for this bill is to protect children. The bill's finding states, "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." As camera phones have become nearly ubiquitous, the ability for people to take photographs surreptitiously has dramatically increased. A would-be, secret photographer could easily make it appear that he is talking on his phone or looking at the phone's screen when in fact he is really using the phone to take pictures. With no audible queue that a picture is being taken, unwilling subjects--as well as bystanders--might be unaware that pictures are being taken.

The introduction of the camera phone paired with the ever-increasing popularity of the Internet, have produced a steady rise in the dissemination of voyeuristic, photographic images over the last decade or so--many of these images cater to individuals' particular fetishes. Perhaps the most infamous of these types of images are "upskirts," where a picture is shot from below, looking up a woman's skirt--presumably part of the appeal to those who take the pictures as well as those who like to like to look at these types of images, comes from the fact or assumption that the subject was either not aware that a picture was taken, or at least that she did not grant consent for the photo to be taken. As disturbing as this might be to some people, perhaps the type of surreptitiously-shot images that are the most heinous to the vast majority of people are images of children.

The bill essentially posits that if camera phones were to make a noise indicating that they are taking a picture, they would be far less effective at shooting these voyeuristic images, as the intended subjects and bystanders would become instantly aware that a picture was just taken. The current version of the bill proposes:

"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."

The responsibility of enforcing this law would fall upon the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which implies that the onus of compliance will fall exclusively onto the manufactures. This doesn't necessarily address the issue of aftermarket hacks or users making their own modifications--possibly making it illegal to manufacturer or sell such a phone, but not to own one. As the bill is only a couple of weeks old, it is highly probable that it will go through many changes before and if it is ever up for a vote.

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peti1212 replied on Mon, Jan 26 2009 6:29 PM

oh wow, not even I though of doing this. There are so many sick people out there. I mean, I am not saying that I am not perverted a bit but I don't do stuff like this. AYAYAY!

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AjayD replied on Mon, Jan 26 2009 6:44 PM

There is already a law similar to this in Japan. Given the state of the economy, it is highly evident that politicians have more than enough to keep them busy, without wasting hard earned taxpayer dollars on something so absurd.

Most cellphone cameras already make a noise when they take a picture that cannot be disabled. However, as phones become more advanced, take the iphone for example, it becomes relatively easy for anyone to jailbreak their phone and disable something like this.

Politicians are intolerable in their incompetence.


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most point a shoot cameras can turn the shutter sound off. And what about vidow coameras in phones? they dont have any sound eihter? what ever will they do????

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3vi1 replied on Tue, Jan 27 2009 8:06 AM

This is just stupid. I totally agree with AjayD: It's a waste of taxpayers dollars by old fools that should be concentrating on much more important issues.

Peter King needs to realize: AMERICA IS NOT THE WORLD. Make all the laws you want, other countries don't need to follow them. Even if they did (for the most part), there's no practical way to enforce this in a manner that can't be worked around by even a neophyte.

Mr. King, please stick to making laws about things you understand:

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?


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Dev replied on Tue, Jan 27 2009 10:15 AM

I agree that people should not be using camera phones to take said pictures. However there are a infinite number of workarounds on both the customer and phone company to avoid this, setting the frequency to 19kHz out of the range of 95% of adults for example. It doesn't really make sense to pass a law like this. Its a just a clear case of some politician who sees a wrong and passes a bill to 'fix' it. It sounds like this needs more thought and besides lets face it there is an economic crisis he should be focusing his attention else where.

There are plenty of reasons of why one legitimately might not want a sound made after every picture on their camera. A father taking a picture of his sleeping baby or a kid taking a picture of a squirrel who had the courage to come close before 'cluck' a distorted ignorant artificial shutter sound beats out of a crappy phone speaker.

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In Japan as far as I know every single cell phone has a camera sound that cannot be removed (silenced) without hacking it.

However this is Japan, where at LEAST 50% of the population is on foot walking down the street from morning to night. Probably double the amount of escalators and staircases that you (might) see in america, thrown in with highschool girls who roll up their uniform skirts because it's popular. Not only highschool girls though, it's rediculous how short the skirts get over here. A short mini skirt in the states of equal length on a japanese girl would be considered a normal skirt over here.

Now, I still don't believe that there should be a law even here in Japan. If these women want to wear skirts so short that you can see their underwear (using a cell phone or not) while they're going up an escalator, or even short enough that you can see it while they're walking down the street, then that's their problem. They're asking for the attention.

I don't necessarily agree with people taking those pictures either, however I blame both parties. The women bring it upon themselves and then get upset when people take advantage of it...seriously, what do they expect?

I honestly think that SOME guys may complain when they see it happening because they weren't the one who got the good picture. "if i can't have it then nobody can!" sorta thing

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