November 26, 2003

High Tech Peeping Toms.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 12:22 am

It’s not bad enough that we have to deal with cell phone vulgarians, who have some sick compulsion to blab on the cell phone in public places and pollute the atmosphere with their half of an obviously inane conversation. Now, with the commercialization of camera-cell phones (some 25 million were shipped worldwide in the first half of this year), we have a brand new problem

It seems that there are some truly sick sorry asses out there who are bound to use their camera cell phones to take surreptitious photos of people while they are undressed in places such as locker rooms and bathrooms. What’s even more alarming is that images of the unsuspecting victims can easily be transferred to the internet for all the world to see.

Recently in New Jersey it became painfully apparent that the state’s current Peeping Tom law does not effectively prohibit such conduct. Last July, a New Jersey appeals court overturned the conviction of a man who had hidden a video camera in a floral arrangement in his bathroom in order to photograph his female houseguests, without their knowledge, while they undressed and showered (obviously a swell guy).

The court ruled that, under the existing law, a defendant can only be convicted if he “peers into a window or other opening.” Because the camera-in-the-bathroom-guy had not that, his conviction was overturned.

Because of this ruling and because it is difficult to know whether a person using a cell phone might actually be taking a photograph, many health clubs have banned the use of cell phones in locker rooms.

The state judiciary committee is working on legislation to replace the existing Peeping Tom law. The revised law would prohibit the surreptitious viewing or videotaping “someone in a bathroom, bedroom, dressing room, or other private place where people undress or engage in intimate activity.”

Furthermore, because camera cell phones have the potential to be used to commit industrial espionage, one firm is working on a high tech solution to the problem. The company is developing a transmitter that would block the camera function of camera cell phones until the user is off the premises.

So, one of these days, if you find yourself in a bathroom or locker room with a cell phone vulgarian who is fouling the air with his high-decibel personal prattle, that may not be all he is doing. He may be also be taking your picture with an eye towards making you “famous” on Because such conduct is not a crime (at least for now), self-help might be the best way to go. Therefore, if, while in your birthday suit, you catch someone shooting your picture with what looks like a cell phone, I suggest that you see to it that the last photo the camera takes is a glorious color picture of the inside of the asshole’s asshole.

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