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Your Tax Dollars at Work, Part 34634

Now that Barack Obama has ascended moved into the Oval Office, our country is ready to tackle the big problems, the tough questions, the fundamental issues that have bedeviled us for the past eight years and dragged this once-great country into the gutter of financial ruin and international ignominy.

I am, of course, talking about perverts with cell phone cameras. Hot off the desk of Representative Pete King (R-NY), we have H.R.414, which has been given the dramatic moniker “Camera Phone Predator Alert Act.” If passed, this crucial new law

[r]equires 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.

With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan basically wrapped up and the economy on a confident upswing, it’s heartening to know that our government is finally able to spend at least some of its time writing laws forcing cell phone manufacturers to include a “camera shutter” sound that can’t be disabled so that we, the public at large, will know when some degenerate is taking our photograph.

What more could one expect from as dedicated a public servant as Representative King, who was last heard exhorting his colleagues to join him in “supporting the goals and ideals of the Knights of Pythias“?

Indeed, as we begin to get our W-2’s in the mail, we can rest assured that our tax dollars will not only end up as part of a massive bailout package for failing industries and pay raises for our bold civic leaders. Some of that money will go toward making sure wasted sorority girls receive an audible cue whenever a sleazefuck frat boy takes a topless picture of them on their iPhone.

America breathes a sigh of relief.

  1. Vincent says:


  2. Vincent says:

    What about a regular digital camera that’s smaller than a pack of cards? What about a hypothetical digital camera that’s made to look like a telephone (and you know that if this is supposedly such a huge problem, if law passed there’d be a market for such a thing)? Mind you, this law *ONLY* pertains to cell phones and not other sorts of digital imaging devices, so a “silent” digital camera that looks like a cell phone would be perfectly legal.

    Hell, what use is the mandatory “sound” going to be in any crowded place? Even in a crowded supermarket, a “shutter” sound has a good chance of being drowned out by ambient noise. That’s to say nothing of conditions on trains/buses, in clubs, or at bars, where one expects a lot of the sort of identity theft you’re describing (to say nothing of voyeurism) probably occurs.

    And, of course, what’s to stop someone from opening up their cell phone and just disabling the speaker if they’re really so intent on identity theft?

    Identity theft may very well be a serious problem in today’s world, but is this waste of time really the best thing our legislators can come up with? It’s the epitome of a pointless law that effectively does nothing except create the illusion of “safety”. Even if it doesn’t pass through the committee (which it almost surely will not), it will have been a waste of taxpayer dollars during a time when our head of state is informing people that everyone is going to have to “tighten their belts”.

  3. Kai Davis says:

    “How is it done? By taking a picture of a credit card in the store or at checkout or taking a picture of an ID at a bar. ”

    Death to pens! It’s much more difficult to jot down a string of 16 digits AND a name AND an expiration date without being seen than it is to take a picture with a camera phone all during checkout.

  4. Burton says:

    This seems like an attempt to do something somebody will hear about (no pun intended) rather than look for and attempt to fix the root cause of the problem.

  5. Tyler S says:

    I agree with Vincent. Also, wouldn’t that also be the natural position of The Commentator? (I’m referring to being against the bill, not that of prostration) After all, enforcing an audible clicking noise is a restriction of freedoms in a sense. Because it is a punishment of sorts that all are subject to, and not simply perverts, I don’t think it fits the bill of crime regulation.
    The specificity of its name of it is unnerving, as if it is trying to preemptively counter any possible criticism of its implementation. This bill would certainly limit the freedom of the self proclaimed civilian vigilante.
    If only the second amendment had been written in more vague terms…

  6. Vincent says:

    Another thought:

    In a situation like this, would you rather have a silent cell phone camera, or one that makes enough noise to alert the cops that you just caught a picture/video of them shooting a prostrate man in the back?

  7. Vincent says:

    How is it done? By taking a picture of a credit card in the store or at checkout or taking a picture of an ID at a bar.

    Perhaps Rep. King’s next Congressional act can be to draft legislation to protect us all against the threat of identity thieves armed with pens and notepads.

  8. Kai Davis says:

    This actually is a much bigger deal than you’d think. Ignoring the ‘pervert’ aspect, a large amount of identity theft occurs with phone cameras that have the ‘shutter’ sound disabled. How is it done? By taking a picture of a credit card in the store or at checkout or taking a picture of an ID at a bar.

    I think this legislation is pointless, but I’m happy to see it come together because it does start to raise awareness of identity theft. Of course, if Americans weren’t forced to use their Social Security number as the main means of identification and tracking, maybe we wouldn’t have to worry about numbskulls with iPhones.

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