Following the lead of some other countries where camera phones are even more popular than they are in North America, the U.S. Congress is considering a bill which would make it mandatory for all phone cams to make a clearly audible clicking sound when capturing an image. It’s a measure designed to ensure that people know when their picture is being taken. And, though it appears to be a privacy concern, the bill in question is characterizing it as a “product safety” issue.

According to the official description of the bill, the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act (CPPAA), ‘Requires 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. Treats the requirement as a consumer product safety standard and requires enforcement by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).”

Because the audible tone is already a requirement in jurisdictions such as Japan and Korea, many phones already have the capability built in. However, some current models apparently allow users to disable all sound cues The ability to disable the sound would, itself, have to be disabled on models sold in the U.S. if the CPPAA is passed.

Nevertheless… Reports indicate that, for phones which don’t allow sounds to be disabled, hacks have already been posted on the Net to modify their frimware enabling disabling.

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