A panic button for the public is a doorbell for opportunistic legislators. The Camera Phone Predator Alert Act is one such issue being considered by the US Congress. The idea is that digital cameras in phones will make an audible click when they are used, like traditional film cameras, making it obvious when a phone camera is used in public.
Children will therefore be safe from a paedophile’s lens in changing rooms or on other occasions when they disrobe in public. Businesses will also be safe when they show guests round research labs and other privileged access areas.
Though the aim is laudable, the concept is ludicrous. Phones exist that don’t click and these will be hung onto by paedophiles for such occasions. Standard digital cameras, which are getting smaller, will be used and an underground business of phone-click disablers will be born. What about the movie-mode in phones? How will this be prevented from being used surreptitiously? Japan and Korea have already introduced similar laws but there is no proof that it has made a big difference.
Let’s hope that the UK Government doesn’t follow this US precedent which can be found at http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h414/text