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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Bill to ban cell phone cameras introduced

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

A proposed bill to be introduced in this year's Legislature would ban cell phone cameras in places where people expect privacy, such as locker rooms and restrooms.

The growing demand for the cell phones that take pictures is posing a threat to people's privacy, some say.

"I think people would be surprised to learn that it is not currently illegal to take a picture of someone without their consent in a gym locker room," said Rep. Jim Van Fossen, R-Davenport, a retired police captain.

Under the proposed legislation, using a cell phone camera in places where people undress would be a crime, punishable by a $100 fine. Exceptions would include police, licenses private investigators, emergency circumstances and when everyone involved gives their consent.

Lori Henning, an aerobics instructor at 7 Flags Fitness & Racquet Club in suburban Des Moines said the issue caught her by surprise.

"It never crossed my mind until I did see it in a gym that had it posted there," she said. "It does make you think about it. Someone could easily take your picture without you knowing."

Several Iowa gyms have already banned the use of cell phones in locker rooms.

Sioux City passed an ordinance similar to the proposed bill, and the Iowa House last year passed a bill to prevent an invasion of privacy for sexual gratification, but it never became law.

"This bill is much smaller, more targeted, simpler, targeting the use of cell-phone cameras," said Rep. Kevin McCarthy, D-Des Moines, a former assistant attorney general. "I think this bill has a better chance of becoming law."

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