Taking phone pics without permission illegal in Hungary
Taking and transmitting recordings without legal or personal accord is unlawful data handling and can lead to civil, or in some cases penal, responsibility.
-- Attila Peterfalvi, Hungary's data protection ombudsman
BUDAPEST, Hungary (Reuters) -- Hungary moved on Thursday to stop users of new camera mobile phones from taking and sending snapshots of people without their permission.
Hungary's data protection ombudsman ruled that mobile users transmitting pictures of people who are unaware of being photographed could be liable to prosecution -- as could the mobile service providers.
Ombudsman Attila Peterfalvi said he started an investigation after one of Hungary's three mobile providers ran an advertisement saying: "If you see a good-looking girl or guy on the street, don't hesitate to share the aesthetic experience with your friends via MMS."
Mobile phones with small cameras used in multimedia messaging (MMS) are selling fast in Hungary, where mobile penetration is a high 75.2 percent.
"Taking and transmitting recordings without legal or personal accord is unlawful data handling and can lead to civil, or in some cases penal, responsibility," Peterfalvi said.
Regulators around the world are trying to get to grips with the spread of camera phones and their invasion of privacy.
The phones, with their tiny, discrete lens and ready access to the Internet, have prompted fears that voyeurs could take advantage of this new technology.
South Korea's telecommunications minister recently decreed that all camera phones must emit a beep of at least 65 decibels when taking a photo, even when the phone was in silent mode.
Copyright 2003 Reuters
. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.