Camera phones: fun when used wisely

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) released consumer guidelines for camera phones today to encourage customers to use the technology in a responsible manner and remind people of their legal obligations.

“Camera phones are a fun way to capture, save and send pictures so users can share important moments with friends and family,” said Mr Graham Chalker, Chief Executive Officer, AMTA. “However, people need to be aware of situations where it might not be appropriate to take photographs.

“The recording and imaging capability of mobile phone cameras is not new, digital cameras have been available for some time and it is important that people remember the same rules apply to all devices that record images,” said Mr Chalker.

The AMTA consumer guidelines request camera phone users respect the privacy of others and ask permission before taking an individual’s picture. People should also consider areas of sensitivity such as office and industrial environments where the viewing of proprietary materials is a concern, “private areas” such as bathrooms and change rooms or museums, movie theatres and live performances.

“People who do not follow these guidelines could end up in trouble with the law,” added Mr Chalker, “It is impossible to send an image via a mobile phone anonymously and using imaging technology inappropriately, including cameras on mobile phones, is a crime in Australia.”

Under the Commonwealth Crimes Act 1914 – Part VIIB, Section 85ZE it is an offence for “a person to knowingly or recklessly use a telecommunications service supplied by a carrier in such a way as would be regarded by reasonable persons being, in all the circumstances, offensive”.

In addition, State and Territory content classification laws prevent the publication of objectionable, unclassified or unsuitable material for minors.

Police internationally are praising camera phones because they are helping to fight crime. Snapshots of licence plates or cars can help police apprehend criminals, build leads and gather evidence.

“Mobile phone cameras enable people to take and send photos of themselves, people or their surroundings. However, it is important to remember that there are some places and instances when photographs should not be taken - by any technology which includes camera phones,” said Mr Chalker.

AMTA’s consumer guidelines for camera phones are available on its website at www.amta.org.au.

Media enquiries to Bernadette Basell 03 9696 5444 or 0409 977 358

Camera Phones – Consumer Tips from AMTA

While your new camera phone provides you with the flexibility to make a phone call and instantly take and transmit a photo, AMTA does request that you use this device responsibly.

For this reason, AMTA recommends the following consumer tips and requests that every camera phone users follows them:

  1. Camera phone users (“users”) should always respect the privacy of others.
  2. Users should always respect areas considered “private” by those who use them, for example: bathrooms, changing rooms, and gym locker rooms.
  3. Users should always respect the sensitivity of many office and industrial environments where the viewing of proprietary materials is a concern.
  4. Users should respect areas of photographic sensitivity, for example: museums, movie theatres and live performances.
  5. Camera phones should not be used to take photos of individuals without their knowledge and consent. Special discretion is advised when using your camera phone to take photos of persons under 18 years of age.
  6. It can be dangerous and possibly illegal to use camera phones while operating a motor vehicle. It is also illegal to send messages which would be regarded as harassing, menacing or otherwise offensive.