passed, would take effect in 2006.
The sound requirement would make it more difficult for someone to
secretly take inappropriate pictures of others without their
permission, which is a growing problem in the United States, he said.
"Cellphones are for fun, but it is unfortunate that they are used
with deviant and criminal intent," Frommer said during a news
conference in front of a cellphone store on Brand Boulevard.
In Washington, a 20-year-old man in a Safeway was arrested for
allegedly sliding his cellphone under the skirt of a woman at the
checkout counter and taking photos. Cellphones have been banned from
many health clubs because members have reportedly used them to snap
shots of other members who are undressed.
"Sexual harassment is always looking for a way to rear its ugly
head," said Pauline Field, president of the Glendale Commission on
the Status of Women, who was at the news conference.
About six million camera-equipped cellphones have been sold in the
United States since they went on the market last year, Frommer said,
adding that 51 million will be sold by 2007.
Rather than ban cellphones with cameras, Frommer's bill requires
that all cameras sold or manufactured in California make a sound of
65 decibels or louder -- the sound of a normal conversation -- when a
picture is taken.
Any person who violates the provision by disabling or lowering the
sound below 65 decibels would be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished
with a fine of $1,000.
"We would like the bill to be as broad as possible," Frommer said
when addressing a question about other electronic devices that are
camera-enabled, like Palm Pilots and digital voice recorders. Frommer
said he will investigate adding to the bill other devices that could
be used in violation of the law.
He also will look at increasing the penalties for taking unlawful
photos of someone, which is a misdemeanor and punishable by six
months in jail.
Not everyone thinks the legislation is a good idea.
"When you see legislation like this, it rarely has any provisions
for legitimate uses," said Ron Farmer, a private investigator in
Glendale who said his ability to covertly snapshots of someone would
be compromised by this bill.
Frommer's bill will include clauses excusing from penalties
law-enforcement officers or other people who use cellphone cameras
for legitimate purposes.