Representative Pete King (R), of New York, has introduced a bill 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 every mobile phone to sound a tone when a photograph is taken, and the bill would prohibit silencing or disabling it. The reason behind the initiative is 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.”
Although it serves a noble cause, we're a bit worried that people who for some reason desire a silent camera mode will find workarounds for the measure. After all, phones have been hacked and cracked for years now, and very few vendors have managed to put a stop to it.
Apart from our doubts on the technical side, we’re not sure how would a simple tone stop anyone from doing the above actions. It's hard to envision the camera sound would ever be loud enough to deter predators in crowded public places, such as malls or playgrounds. On the other hand, if handset makers were forced to use an excruciatingly loud warning sound, it could put off regular users from using such devices, too. Also, sexual predators could still use affordable point and shoot cameras, or ultra zoom cameras, which feature a silent mode.
Don't get us wrong, it's not a bad initiative, but we think it will run into a multitude of issues, which will most likely inhibit it from ever being truly effective.