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Camera Phone Bans Seen as Aiding Privacy

Camera cell phones, one of the hottest items on this year's Christmas must-have list, is also a growing privacy issue for both consumers and organizations.

The phones, with their discreet lens, tiny size and ability to immediately transmit images onto the Internet or other cell phones, are a voyeur's dream. The phones first appeared on the market in early 2001, and for the last several months, media reports out of Asia have called attention to incidents such as nude photographs of unsuspecting victims turning up on the Internet.

Their growing popularity in North America since their debut late last year has sparked similar concerns, prompting fitness centers across North America, from Los Angeles to Toronto, to begin banning or limiting cell phone use on their premises. With locations including Beverly Hills and New York, The Sports Club/LA -- one of the most luxurious fitness centers in the world -- was among the first to ban all cell phones in July, limiting their usage only to the lobby.

Privacy is a priority for the center, whose high profile clientele include celebrities and other prominent figures, company spokesman Rebecca Harris explained. Other clubs have outright banned all cell phones because of the difficulty in distinguishing between regular cell phones and camera phones.

But not all clubs are taking such a hard-line stance. In Calgary, where widespread bans and limitations drew media attention in Canada, the downtown YWCA took a more moderate approach.

News source: Reuters - Camera Phone Bans Seen as Aiding Privacy

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