Ars Technica, as usual, has unearthed a juicy piece of proposed legislation from south of the border. The Camera Phone Predator Alert Act as it is being called, wants all manufacturers of camera-equipped cellphones to make a shutter noise mandatory for the user.
In other words, it would be impossible to snap a pic with your phone without some kind of audible sound being played at a loudness level that has only been described as “audible within a reasonable radius of the phone”.
Clearly the proposal comes from the right place – the bill’s author, Representative Peter King of New York – wants to protect children and others from being exploited without their knowledge.
The question is whether the proposal makes sense in the real world. Would it stop cyber-creeps from taking questionable photos or merely force them to crack open their devices to disconnect the speaker?
Ars suggests that were such a bill to become law, it should include the option for the user to choose the sound effect associated with the image capture, much like a ring-tone. But surely that would defeat the purpose of the bill… if any sound can be the click of the camera, will we become desensitized to every sound?
This concept isn’t new. Korea has already enacted similar legislation, as has Japan (thanks Iria).
While the proposed Act would only make the shutter-sound a requirement in the U.S., it’s possible that manufacturers, in wanting to keep production runs simpler, could include this ‘feature’ on our devices too.