Shutter down on camera phones

Mobiles will be banned from some swimming pools in Australia after concern increases that camera phones are being misused.

    Many phones nowadays can
    double up as digital cameras

    The ban is likely to affect more than 300 gyms, pools and sports centres across the country run by the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) of Australia.

    Other areas of their numerous buildings will not be affected – but taking your mobile to chat by the pool will be stopped.

    It comes as a proactive response to a potential problem, according to the chief executive of YMCAs of Australia Bob Nicholson.
     
    Ban on phones grows

    There have been cases around the world of people using camera phones to take illicit photographs, even publishing them on the internet.

    It is hoped the move will protect the privacy of both adult and children using the facilities.

    In Japan, some fitness centres ban the use of camera phones and the Italian information commissioner has issued guidelines on where and how such phones can be used.
     
    Several councils in Northern Ireland have banned camera phones from leisure centres too as have a number of swimming pools in Jersey.
     
    In Saudi Arabia camera phones are banned altogether.
     
    Not all agree

    Darwin's Lord Mayor says if his council was to consider banning mobile phones from change rooms in public swimming pools, then it would have to consider the exclusion of digital cameras as well.
     
    Peter Adamson says no ban has been implemented in Darwin but the issue will be considered, but added:

    "There really is no action, because to my knowledge there really hasn't been too much of a case up here," he said.

    Handset manufacturer Nokia believes camera phones are being unfairly picked on.

    "I can understand why they would wish to ban them but they would need to extend that ban to all cameras," said a spokesman for Nokia.

    "People should respect other people's privacy and we point out in our handbooks that camera use should obey privacy laws," the spokesman added.

    In the 1990s, Sony video-camera technology also come in for bans due to privacy concerns. The camera that could see beneath clothes was no laughing matter.

    Sony released its Night Shot camcorder, which came equipped with infrared technology for filming at night. But when the night shot feature was used during the day, the camera could see through clothing.

    In the US, penalties for infringing on people's privacy can range from a $500 fine to 60 days in prison.


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