Fitness gym concerns about those camera cell phones

Tuesday, November 18th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

You can smile for the camera with the latest high-tech cell phones. But some health clubs and gyms around the country are frowning on the phone's new picture-taking ability.

As News on 6 reporter Steve Berg tells us, they're worried it might be used in a situation that's uncalled for. Rodney Jones with T-Mobile Wireless: "And if I'm holding the phone like this, you'd never really know that I'm looking at anything."

You'd have to know where to look to find the camera on a cell phone. And that's just it, many people don't know. Jones: "I'm sitting there looking at somebody, but some people would just think you have your phone open and either writing a message or looking at your call. But nobody would ever know that you're taking a picture."

Some health clubs have even banned cell phones, because of the possibility someone could sneak a picture of someone else getting dressed in a locker room.

Fitness Club patron Joe Baran: "I really never thought of it until you brought it up. Come to think of it, I probably would have a little concern of it." In the past, cell phone pictures were so fuzzy, there's really wasn't much cause for concern, but now that the pictures are so much sharper, it's put a new focus on the problem.

Actual reports of peeping picture takers are rare, mainly in other countries. And at the downtown Powerhouse at least, they have individual dressing areas, which eliminates the problem. But they say it bears watching.

Julie Key with Powerhouse Gym: "Now that I know more about it, I will obviously tell my staff, we'll have a meeting about it." While there are reports of people misusing the picture phones, there's a report of a child who chased off a possible kidnapper by taking his picture with a camera phone. Which just goes to show there's two sides to every new technology.

"Just like with anything though, there's a good way and a bad way, it all depends on the person."

We checked with most of the larger health clubs in town. So far, none of them has imposed a ban on cell phones.