In a what-was-he-thinking move, Representative Peter King (R-NY) has recently introduced H.R. 414, the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act which is aimed at preventing “predators” from taking illicit photos of others in public with cell phones. The bill will force cell phone manufacturers to make the camera feature of a cell phone emit a noise so that it will be audibly obvious when a picture is taken.
As the bill summary at Thomas.loc.gov states:
Requires any mobile phone containing a digital camera to sound a tone whenever a photograph is taken with the camera’s phone. Prohibits such a phone from being equipped with a means of disabling or silencing the tone. Treats the requirement as a consumer product safety standard and requires enforcement by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Really? So now we are mandating sounds here? Should we begin to make laws that devices of every kind emit some sort of sound to alert everyone in the vicinity that something has been used in their presence, and predicate it all on “public safety”? And, what if someone doesn’t like the particular sound chosen? Are we going to sue to get the sound we like? Will the government then make rules of what kind of sound is made, how loud, how long? Will there be great volumes of the sorts of sounds “allowed” for one thing or another? Clicks for cameras? Star Trek-like swooshing sounds when doors open?
I do understand the principle here. King wants to stop creeps from taking photos in public that will be used for invasive and prurient interests. But, come on. Really? Is THIS the way to do it? And I can’t help but wonder, what is to prevent the same creeps from just switching to video mode and later singling out via a computer the specific frame he wants to use? And will Peter King then force cell phone makers to add that mechanical whirr we used to hear in old fashioned crank movie cameras so as to “alert” everyone that a movie is being shot on a cell phone?
And what about the level of sound. What if the perv is, say, in a loud bus? Will King’s patented clicky sound have to be so loud that everyone can hear it over the drone of the engine? So how loud must this click be? Will we be required to each carry a giant speaker on our shoulders to amplify our government approved clicky sound to an acceptable decibel? And, what about the deaf? Will each cell phone user be required to hire a person that does American Sign to alert any potential deaf people around that a cell phone picture is about to be taken? Should we tap all blind people on the shoulder to let them know we are about to take a photo so that we can keep our pal, Representative King, and his government jack-boots off our backs?
And, how abut a bail-out to cover the costs of all these new regulations? I doubt I’ll be able to hire my own private American Sign expert for free!
This is just one more example of the absurd length that the nanny state ultimately achieves. Next government will be mandating that electric cars be fitted with speakers to be used to make the car sound like it has a 440 Hemi under the hood — for everyone’s “safety,” of course. (ooops, already done) Hey, I have an idea… Maybe Congress will intervene to make noises more listener friendly to “help” everyone out? Maybe we can make Janeane Garofalo’s voice less grating?
Oh, wait. I have a really great idea… maybe King can mandate that firearm silencers be manufactured to make a noise. That way we can all know when someone is shooting at us. Those silencers are just too darn quiet.
…thank you… I’m here all week. Try the veal.
But, seriously, this is all just more regulation for no substantive reason. Another example of the meddling fingers of government in our lives and another example of onerous crap piled onto manufacturing.
The worst thing about this stupid bill is that King is a Republican.
As Republicans we need to reiterate to our representatives in government that less regulation is our goal, not more meddling in our lives. Less ruling, tastes like liberty, Representative King. Taste the liberty, will you?
(Photo credit: nymag.com)