Some People Find Alternative Uses For Camera Phones - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

12/14/04 - Lufkin

Some People Find Alternative Uses For Camera Phones

by Stuart Burson

Cell phone cameras are becoming more popular all the time, and the technology keeps getting better. You can now take pictures with a camera phone and send those photos to friends and family in just seconds. But these camera phones are sometimes being used in ways that can get you in trouble with the law.

From text messaging to antennas that light up to phones that fit in your ear, cell phone technology has come a long way. But there's one feature cell phones now have that everyone wants.

"The majority of people who want phones now want camera phones, which is the major plus point of a phone. Some dealers are offering camera phones for free. For less than $50, you can get a camera phone," says Sam Jagirdar with R & S Communications.

Instant photos of your family and friends are now just a click away on your cell phone, but this convenient feature is also causing some problems. For instance, students at several schools have been caught using camera phones to take pictures of tests to share with classmates.

Lots of health clubs around the county are now banning camera phones because the phones are being used to take pictures of people undressing in their locker rooms. Recent laws in Texas have been created with the new technology in mind, making it a state jail felony if anyone takes a picture of someone without their knowledge for a person's sexual gratification.

"It's a lot easier to photograph or make an electronic recording of a person. It's easier now than it was this time last year and, in the last 10 years, it has become extremely easier. It was difficult at one time," says Greg Sowell with the Nacogdoches Police Department.

It may be easier, but if you're caught, you could face up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. There is also a big positive side to using camera phones. Law enforcement agencies all over the country are reporting incidents where someone with a camera phone has helped catch a criminal by taking pictures of a crime in progress.

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