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Tuesday, 27 January 2009

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Enjoy, Mike. You have consistently supported and voted for those who believe government should make most of our decisions for us.

My Sony Ericsson K800i makes a shutter-like sound when taking a photo. As far as I can tell it's not possible to disable that sound.
I read a while ago that such regulation already exists in Japan. It's supposedly aimed at upskirt voyeurs. I cannot remember the source though.
Regarding the 'photographers are terrorists' meme, check out this London Met Police campaign:
http://www.boingboing.net/2008/03/04/london-cops-declare.html

It's bad enough that you can't hear what the president is saying at a news conference with all the shutters chomping away. Thats what noisy f--ts are for--to let you know it's time to leave the elevator.
Will this lead to all cameras having to make a loud noise when taking a photo? Maybe a noise like a cicada insect.
"Beep, I have just recorded your image for (add use here)--Thank you".

I feel sad when I see children being touted as the (false) motive for political action. It really gives demagoguery a whole new meaning. Still, I would caution you that it is precisely your long standing habit of trying to adhere to journalistic objectivity that makes this latest post so powerful and credible. Basically, the less you use the term "idiot" the more impact it has when you do use it is what I am trying to say. A lot of photographic techniques are like the term "idiot", e.g. thin dof (I wrote that just to stay slightly on topic :-), not!).

My view on the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act? I think only a real idiot could introduce such a thing. Or a moron. Or both.

"What an idiot."

Mike,

Not surprising. I'm a native New Yorker and very familiar with this jerk.

Peter King is a Republican, Dave!

Mike J.

P.S. Not that it matters. There is plenty of idiocy to go around.

erm.. most, if not all, cameraphones already have loud "shutter" noises that are difficult to disable. So he's triply an idiot for trying to legislate a common practice that the rest of the planet figured out for itself years ago.

Sure glad someone is working on such an important issue while the economy crumbles and we're at war. Lord knows that someone enterprising (and warped) enough to take surreptitious photos would never think about just removing the speaker from their phone - now would they? Morons.

Peter King last week spent long minutes on the floor of Congress tearfully praising the manly and heroic deeds of the departing President George W. Bush.
You know, the worst. president. ever.

Judging by past experience, King's moronic idea about camera phones strongly suggests he has a stash of kiddie porn on his home computer.

Just sayin.

I also think cell phones should make a loud hum whenever they are in use. That way we would know a person is talking on their phone, and we should not disturb them.


When people talk about evil "big government," this is what they mean: government that is intrusive and attempts to micromanage everything in your life. Anyway, I am far less troubled by the possibility of the rare pervert sneaking shots of kids in locker rooms than I am that adolescent girls voluntarily send nude images of themselves to boyfriends (or potential hookups). In so many ways I feel like our society is unravelling.

Ten bucks says this guy is a pervert...

I'm making t-shirts that read: "photography is not a crime"

Or maybe "cameras don't kill people, guns do"

Or maybe "keep your hands off my camera"

Or maybe "go take a picture"

Or maybe "make pictures not war"

Or maybe "100000 photography fans can't be wrong"

Or maybe "I'm a photographer not a pornographer"

"The government is not the solution to our problems..." How does the rest of that go again?

re worst president in history: regardless how hard the DNC (AKA the "Independent" press) works, Mr. Bush would have to clone himself repeatedly to even approach the bottom of that list, firmly anchored by Mr. Carter.

I don't know if this legislation goes far enough. I think all Leica M's should be retrofitted with Bronica S2a shutters as a deterrent to predatory street photographers who think they can just capture the decisive moment without the unsuspecting subjects and two witnesses and a notary public first signing a four page contract and initialing on the lines regarding commercial rights, digital rights, future distribution technologies, and the right for users to download the file and print it on their office printers and post it in their cubicles.

I am a political cynic.

Whenever I hear about something this stupid, so stupid that nobody, even a king-sized idiot, could possible be serious about, I always ask the same question. What did they do today behind the scenes that they didn't want me to know about, so they tried to mask it with media white noise like this?

I've been kind of amused by the recorded shutter shounds on various P&S cameras I've had. But what I want is the ability to upload my own shutter-sound files! I want my LX3 to make a sound like a Hasselblad!

(The proposed law is idiotic; easily circumvented by those who want to for whatever purpose, if they care enough, and will make people shooting photos of their kids' orchestra concerts more intrusive and disturbing.)

Hey!

Borzoj said:

"Regarding the 'photographers are terrorists' meme, check out this London Met Police campaign"

Not to mention this response:
http://flickr.com/photos/finkangel/2312789446/

Dean

It takes a predator to think like one. Posing with a group of Boy Scouts only makes this guy more worrisome to me. Methinks he protests too much. Is there no other more pressing business for government right now?

the stupidest part is that such laws, dumb or smart, should be introduced at the state level, not the federal level. the federal government exists to take care of matters that individual states cannot do on their own, such as international relations/treaties, defense, currency etc.

micromanaging the states tramples states rights and goes against the purpose of our federal system. might as well save some money by shutting down all the state legislatures.

further, under this law, the only people who would have silent cameras will be the peeping toms who bother to hack them. it will simply give people a false sense of security.

Unfortunately these things arise from select people who abuse privileges given them and force the rest of us to suffer because of it. I don't know Peter King but i think the bill addresses a real problem today, one that can in fact harm people. You may feel that the govt. is trying to control the medium you work in but lets be realistic here, how many of us use a cell phone to complete a photo assignment? Mike believes there has been a persecution of Photographers after the princess Di affair but I disagree. The people being persecuted are not photographers but are what I call camera operators some call them paparazzi (or Idiots seeing as the word is going around). These are the people who are giving photo journalists a bad name. I believe there is a great responsibility in being a photographer and one that should not be taken lightly, you are recording a moment in time and preserving it for ever. Taking a photograph should show people that you have skill, artistry, and that you thought about the content of the photo and its importance. Camera phones have given this responsibility to everyone and most are unaware of that importance. So if they don't care then at least I should know there taking a picture not making a phone call.

A pedant speaks:

It's "reductio ad absurdum", Mike, unless you're hazarding some witty plural version, in which case it's probably "ad absurda", assuming the adjectival noun neuter.

Knew you'd want to know that...

Furthermore, we should require that all camera operators be accompanied by a man on foot waving a red flag to warn others nearby of the impending invasion of privacy. Anyone who violates this rule should lose their government-issued photography license.

Speaking purely on a PR level, advocates of photographic rights could learn a thing or two from our hunting and target-shooting friends. Being presumed a criminal because your hobby is seen to intersect with socially undesirable behavior is really nothing new. And once you've had laws passed based on those negative stereotypes it's awfully hard to roll back the damage.

Richard,

But first, before deciding to do something about a problem, shouldn't we be certain that there actually IS a problem to begin with?

Well, we Chicagoans (and we Illinoisians!) are no strangers to egocentric, deranged elected officials. This week you can see our state's chief executive on various national programs pleading his innocence against a wall of self-evident guilt.

But more to the point we've had our share of local moronic laws. Consider the mandated "moment of silence" that was struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court last week. Or our "foie gras" ban? I could go on and on.

It does make me wonder how the hell we elect such people into office?! Rod Blagojevich didn't seen insane when we elected him to his first term. Just the opposite; he seemed like a refreshing honest breeze after George Ryan (who's now breaking rocks in the hot sun, too). But Blagojevich is clearly insane. And New York's Peter King seems as if he might be a kindred spirit.

What the hell are we doing with our "democracy"?

"Not that it matters. There is plenty of idiocy to go around."

As you know, Mike, I almost always agree with you on matters photographic, but seldom on matters political. But this is one political matter on which we can heartily agree!

"Note to Rep. King: These are actually perilous times, with real problems to deal with. You actually have important work to do—so quit dicking around and get to it!!

What an idiot."

GREATEST COMMENTS YET.

"Taking a photograph should show people that you have skill, artistry, and that you thought about the content of the photo and its importance. Camera phones have given this responsibility to everyone and most are unaware of that importance."

No, photography is for everyone regardless of skill. Photographs are for everyone regardless of artistry or forethought.

I mainly worry about people who think everything is a privilege. It is not. We do not need permission to enjoy photography. We should all be free to live our lives. Politicians always seem to look for things to make laws about.

I'm of two minds here: while I would never want such a law applied to small cameras in general, cellphones are so ubiquitous these days that it would be difficult to know if someone was taking your photo in a changing room or under your skirt without some kind of sound. Granted, it wouldn't stop the seriously committed predator, but would at least give pause to certain hormonally overloaded teenagers (no, I'm not accusing all teenagers of doing this kind of thing, nor do I mean that only teenagers would) who might be otherwise tempted.

Most cell phones already seem to have a permanently embedded electronic shutter sound clip likely taken from an 80s era point and shoot film camera - mostly the sound of the (non-existent) motor advancing the (non-existent) film. Luddite that I am - I don't have a cell phone so it doesn't affect me anyway.

Well, let's see, we could require that
...surveillance cameras (which seem to be everywhere) make a chiming sound, and
...one-way mirrors in clothing store changing rooms and in public washrooms make a hooting sound, and
...the phone companies run a background audio loop saying "the NSA is listening, the NSA is listening," and
...the curious or merely observant be forced to wear a bell, etc., etc.

I think all men over 15 should be forced to have eyeball trackers installed on their skulls, which would send an alert to the government if they look at a child in public.

I guess you could set your phone on vibrate and get a little thrill whenever you snapped a pix.
bd

'Mike believes there has been a persecution of Photographers after the princess Di affair but I disagree. The people being persecuted are not photographers but are what I call camera operators some call them paparazzi (or Idiots seeing as the word is going around).' So wrote Richard.
Princess Di's sad death was brought about by the people who were willing to buy the magazines that bought the 'pictures' taken by the paparazzi.

This really is idiotic, as is the whole idea that "every person with a camera is a (potential) pervert/terrorist/criminal" that seems to be occupying the minds of far too many officials who should have more productive things to do.

Hardcore pervert/terrorist/criminal types will go to any lengths to get what they want. You'd think the powers that be would have figured this out by now. How many perverts have been arrested with cameras concealed in shoes or bags? They go as far as to install tiny concealed cameras with radio transmitters in changing rooms and toilets for Pete's sake! Just how is this sort of look-how-righteous-I-am pomposity supposed to actually solve that sort of problem?

Same with "That person is taking a photograph in a train station! TERRORIST ALERT!!" ... sheesh.

If all the time, energy, and resources that are dissipated in totally misguided, misdirected pursuits like this were applied to real problems rather than easy, non-challenging excuses, we might actually make some progress.

Mike C.,
"Hazarding"...that's just exactly the right word, and yes, that's what I was doing.

Mike J.

See I don't know what all the fuss is about. Most modern mobiles already make a fake shutter noise, not too loud, but audible in a medium sized room, that cannot be disabled. See, I think the people on the other end of the camera have just as much right to know whether they're being photographed, but really, these laws all started because of voyeurs on trains. Japan already has this law.

It's not about foghorns going off every time you hit the shutter, I think that in itself is an alarmist attitude to spread towards other photographers.

I really don't get what all this whinging about cops harassing photographers. Maybe folks should leave the corncob telephoto at home that scares people into thinking they're going to end up in a tabloid magazine, and go back to using small, fast, compact primes.

Or maybe things just aren't so insane in Australia. Whatever.

Rep. King and others in power have no idea how to solve "real problems" in these "actually perilous times" so they resort to inventing a phony problem and then proceed to solve it. Now, when election time comes(does it really ever end?) they can trumpet their hard working accomplishments, proof that they are real friends of the working man, moms, kids, babys, cats, dogs, kangaroos and assorted other creatures.

As a non-American I am intrigued by the comment that this should be a matter left to the states to legislate. So each state will legislate requiring a different sound, leaving small camera manufacturers to decide it's too hard selling cameras in the USA with all the different rules...

It won't stop anything 90% of abusers are known to their victims, 60% are actually family members.

Children should be banned in public, they cause innocent photographers to become pedophiles. Women should wear burqas, that will stop rape. Men should not be led into sin. In fact perhaps some of these politicians are in the wrong country and should consider migrating to Iran or Saudi Arabia.

Murray L,
It's a big problem. Many manufacturers and industries would prefer that regulation be Federal, so that they don't have to deal with a confusing welter of conflicting State requirements. Automobile manufacturers have complained loud and long about this over many decades. Typically the Federal government steps in and regulates things it doesn't actually have a mandate to, simply as a practical expedient. It's actually kind of a dumb and wasteful system. We essentially run two parallel and partially redundant governments (and pay two sets of taxes to keep it all running. Three, if you own property).

One of the highest-profile problems is in school textbooks. Textbook publishers are held hostage to the most hidebound and reactionary States (typically, Texas), because they don't want to have to publish different versions of same text for different States. So the whole country ends up with the school textbooks the State of Texas wants, and they're seldom, let's say, as enlightened as most people in the country would prefer them to be. That's just one example. The examples stretch to the horizon.

It disfigures our electoral system, too. Less populous states have proportionally more representation in government at the Federal level, because each state gets two Senators, and the state-by-state Federal election process means that national elections basically only play out in a few "battleground" states--that is, the states that are up for grabs. It also leads to the anomaly of the winner of the popular vote being the loser in the election. Gore got half a million more votes than Bush in 2000, as you probably know. Despite our (i.e., Americans') perpetual self-congratulation, ours is not a very good system. We just stick with it because of the likelihood that anything we could replace it with would be considerably worse.

There's also a perception problem. Despite appearances, Governorships in various states are nowhere near equivalent. The Governor of California overseas a huge economy, a vast bureaucracy, and has roughly the same amount of power, locally at least, as the Chancellor of Germany. The Governorship of Texas, on the other hand, is largely ceremonial, with few actual duties. The Governor of Texas has less power, and overseas fewer employees, than the mayor of a small-to-mid-sized city. But in the popular mind the two positions are roughly equivalent.

I could go on, but I guess I already have.

Mike J.

Note to those who write that the phone camera sound can't be disabled; I have a Nokia that made a silly noise every time I took a photo so I searched the preferences & it was easy to switch off. Quieter than a Leica now.

It is true, this is already required in Japan. It has not stopped upskirt photo pervs though.

This brings to mind the Molly Ivens comment, that she passed on to us from one of her mentors, "it wouldn't be a represenative government with out some idiots..". I paraphrase.

On the subject of the Govenor of Illinois; all the evidence so far is TALK; there has been no evidence of an actual exchange for favors; thus there is no illegality. He probably is a sociopath, but that isn't illegal, either. He handled the senate appointment masterfully; and it was his duty and right to do so.

Just sayin...sorry about straying off topic.

Bron

I can confirm borzoy's comment above. Camera phones in Japan have a shutter sound that can not be disabled.
Perhaps Japan is a bit special though, because it is close to a national sport to grope women and take pictures of what is under skirts. Hence the introduction of women-only compartments in rush hour trains, and the recurring TV-item of people on beaches with superzoom-videocams under a towel.
Not that it does not happen in other countries, but the problem is pretty high-profile in Japan. Peeking is heavily capitalized on in erotic literature and such, but in recent years it appears to lose some of it's silent acceptance in favor of common sense.
Next problem: my compact camera is silent and smaller than my internet-capable, 5.1MP camera enabled hyperphone...

I agree, this is stupid. I'm just glad I got my camera phone before any regulations like this take place. Well, ta-ta, I'm on my way to the local playground!

Wow ... clearly, concerns about photographing children in pubic isn't just a U.S. issue these days:
http://www.komonews.com/news/38518152.html

That is absurd. And all the laws in the world won't prevent exploitation, if the rags being sold at newsstands and behind drugstore counters are any indication. Typically, it's kids' parents and those in their homes who do the exploiting--all the beeping phones in the world won't stop that, and he'd never want to take them away from their families because it would tarnish family values!

Isn't it funny how much people don't know?

I'm of two minds here: while I would never want such a law applied to small cameras in general, cellphones are so ubiquitous these days that it would be difficult to know if someone was taking your photo in a changing room or under your skirt without some kind of sound. Granted, it wouldn't stop the seriously committed predator, but would at least give pause to certain hormonally overloaded teenagers (no, I'm not accusing all teenagers of doing this kind of thing, nor do I mean that only teenagers would) who might be otherwise tempted.


Good Grief!!

"Good Grief!!"

You make a cogent argument.

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