Cell phone pic

The northern prefecture of Iwate has Japanese netizens furious over a recent proposal by police there to criminalize pointing a cell phone towards someone if it is suspected the would be photographer is trying to get an upskirt pic.

Police say that they want to “expand” their approach to catching perverts sneaking naughty photos, but critics say this proposed legislation will turn any man with a cell phone into a potential criminal, regardless of whether their finger goes anywhere near the shutter button.

Currently under Iwate law, taking photos of someone’s underwear without their knowledge is only illegal if law enforcement have proof that a picture is taken. In the day and age of easily deletable digital pictures, police say that it is too easy for these panty paparazzi to erase the evidence. Moreover, with smartphone apps that can silence the shutter sound (a big no-no in Japan), they complain too many people are getting away with upskirt photography. So police want to be able to prosecute someone for proof that they intended to take a picture, even if there is no physical evidence. 

Netizens were quick to criticize the proposed law, which will come up for vote in the prefectural assembly next March. Otherwise innocent people would be unfairly arrested for just having a smartphone and perhaps staring too long in someone’s direction, they said. Worried about their freedom to brandish a camera phone freely without judgement, netizens said they would think twice about any upcoming travel plans to the northern prefecture if the law is passed.

I don’t want to get arrested, so I’ll be avoiding Iwate from now on.

Well, I didn’t really want to go there anyway.

People of Iwate, be sure to complain to your police department when tourism drops! 

According to a story by the Yomiuri Shimbun, the police will be taking public opinion until December 6 and then they will draft the final legislation based on what they hear from the people. Netizens have plenty to tell the Iwate authorities and hoped they would think twice before the prefecture becomes infamous for having the most upskirt pic convictions nationwide.

I totally understand why, but all this will do is arrest innocent people.

How will they prove it? Will it just be the word of the accuser against the accused? Sounds dubious.

From far enough away, doesn’t any picture taken have the possibility of being pointed towards someone’s underwear. Where will the line be drawn?

Are the police justified in their call to crackdown on covert photography? Or are the netizens right and will this law create “criminals” whose only crime is pointing a smartphone in the wrong direction? Let us know if you think there is a better way to combat this epidemic of upskirt photos!

Source: Yomiuri, Hamster Sokuhou (Japanese)
Image: Wikipedia