It may seem like an impossible task, but one local TD is calling for a ban on smartphones recording private conversations.
Longford/Westmeath TD James Bannon (FG) is seeking legislation that would ban people using smartphones to record conversations without consent.
“The ease with which it [a smartphone] facilitates covert recording is far in advance of any heretofore device available over the counter.
“At its most innocent it is maybe just a bit of a laugh but can be far more sinister,” he said.
“The more alert and vigilant would be cognisant of the tell-tale give away of the averted gaze as the ‘recorder’ continually looks down and appears to be talking to a fixed point, with a lack of eye contact. Nonetheless taking action against such activity is difficult for an individual.”
He said people consider recording a conversation without consent between individuals at meetings or in the work place illegal, but smartphones seem to have made this acceptable.
He added: “What we must not forget is the power of bias and emphasis that is by default given to the ‘recorder’. Just as the TV interviewer can control and manipulate the questions and tone to present a picture favourable to their desired image, so too can the tone of a recorded conversation be geared to present a desired perception.
“Every effort must be brought to bear to increase legislative protection against such activity. As technology advances so too must safeguards,” he said.
The annual digital subscription of the Westmeath Examiner is 60% cheaper than an annual postal subscription. Click here to subscribe-it's a great gift.