With the mobile camera phone now being the `in thing` in Lanka like in many other countries and as a result of its growing popularity the police cautioned that anyone misusing the technology could be taken to task.
Police spokesman DIG Jayantha Wickramaratne says the public could go as far as filing civil action and claiming damages from a camera phone user if there is a violation of their privacy.
`Without the consent of the party a photograph or video cannot be taken. That is a violation of that person`s privacy. So they can protest against it and complain to the police or insist that the image or video be deleted immediately,` DIG Wickramaratne told the Daily Mirror.
With the advent of the camera phone there are concerns that some users violate the privacy of others, especially that of females, by taking their photographs in public places like on the streets or clubs without their knowledge and using them for mischievous purposes.
Due to their size and ease of use, camera phones can go unnoticed in places where conventional cameras are not allowed, such as locker rooms, courtrooms or museums.
When contacted by the Daily Mirror, a Singaporean-based official of the leading mobile phone manufacturer Nokia said how the mobile device is used and
for what purposes lies in the hands of the customer and cannot be controlled by the manufacturer.
However, the police spokesman noted that while it was wrong to use a camera phone for mischievous purposes, such devices could also be handy as evidence in solving crimes if an individual manages to capture a criminal act in progress.
`There are pros and cons when using a camera phone. It all depends on the purpose it is used for,` he said.
The camera phone now holds 85% of the world mobile phone market. According to reports, the use of camera phones has become so ubiquitous in Hong Kong that gyms have expressly prohibited the use of cell phones with inbuilt cameras in locker rooms.
Furthermore, various businesses and public authorities in Japan, Singapore and China have reportedly banned the use of these phones in places such as public swimming pools, schools and government buildings.
Saudi Arabia has taken a more radical approach, with the government banning the use of camera phones altogether.