Court rules voyeur cams legal

In a ruling that could change fashions in Washington state, the supreme court there says two men who took surreptitious photos and video of women and girls did not violate laws.

In a ruling that could change fashions in Washington state, the supreme court there has ruled that "up-skirt cams" do not violate voyeurism laws.

The Washington Supreme Court judges said that two men who took surreptitious photos and video of women and girls using tiny cameras "engaged in disgusting and reprehensible behavior." However, the judges said they did not infringe on any reasonable expectations of privacy because the images were captured in public places.

"The voyeurism statute, as written, does not prohibit up-skirt photography in a public location," the judges wrote in an opinion issued earlier this month.

The use of cameras in public places has been an especially contentious issue in the digital age. Tiny cameras make it easy to take relatively high-quality pictures and video of people without their knowledge. Such images then can be easily posted on or distributed via the Web and seen by millions of people. X10, which sells miniscule cameras, markets its products with some of the most aggressive pop-ups on the Web, featuring scantily clad women with come-hither expressions.

The court said that while people could reasonably expect privacy in places such as a bedroom, bathroom or dressing room, they cannot while working at or visiting a public place such as a shopping mall.

"It is the physical location of the person that is ultimately at issue, not the part of the person's body," the judges wrote.

Face recognition technology allows companies, cops and other organizations to capture people's images, store them in a database, and compare them with criminals and other files. In one of the most famous cases of mass biometric surveillance, Florida law enforcement captured the images of thousands of people who attended Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa, Fla., and compared their faces to pictures of known criminals. Civil libertarians blasted the move, calling it an unprecedented violation of privacy that netted just a few ticket scalpers.

Tags:
Internet
 

Discuss Court rules voyeur cams legal

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Articles from CNET
How to use Facebook's new Security Checkup feature