November 20, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 46  

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Cameras on cellphones cause privacy concerns

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

Ian Howes and Dave Picard/Gazette
LOCKER ROOM PEEPING JUST GOT A WHOLE LOT EASIER. Gyms everywhere may crack down on cell phones now that many of them come with their own little cameras.

Technology has great advantages, but some really annoying drawbacks too.

Cellphones with cameras can take and send images to friends over the Internet, but they can also violate your privacy. For this reason, gyms such as the YMCA have banned such phones from change rooms — they will instead be keeping them at the front desk.

“We don’t have a policy on this yet — we hadn’t heard of the issue until [recently],” said Jeff Renaud, media relations officer for Sports and Recreation Services, in reference to Campus Recreation at Western.

Renaud noted the issue will be raised to make employees aware and for now it will be dealt with in a case-by-case manner.

“We are in the midst of developing a plan now,” said Mark Vockentanz, general manager of The Athletic Club, adding it will be difficult to find a way of monitoring cellphones with cameras.

“This is definitely a concern of ours; we want to ensure privacy for our members,” Vockentanz said. Leaving personal property at the front desk is not an option because of the high volume of customers every day, he added.

“I don’t know how you could regulate that,” said Greg Rusciolelli, a fourth-year honours psychology student, after noting he thought banning camera cellphones from locker rooms was reasonable. “You’d think no one would have a problem [with leaving their cellphone at a front desk], but then again, you’d also think people wouldn’t steal.”

“This just shows how far we’ve come. Technology is invading privacy a lot — it’s everywhere,” said Tobi Greenberg, a fourth-year psychology student, adding some personal electronic devices like Palm Pilots have cameras in them as well.

“In change rooms and washrooms, health clubs have a responsibility to ensure the privacy of their patrons — I would support [a policy banning camera/cellphones from these areas] simply because privacy at that sort of facility is important,” said Adrienne Kennedy, University Students’ Council VP-campus issues.



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