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iVoyeurism: iPods and iPhones at the Gym

What Are Gyms Doing?

iPhone and iPod in the Gym with risk of voyeurism and associated liability

iPhones and iPod Nanos in the gym are a common sight

Apple continues to innovate in ways that we never dreamed of just a few years ago.  With the recent launch of it’s iPod Nano with video capability and the sustained popularity iPhone models, we continue to see the death of the standalone music player.  But while as an iPhone owner I love being able to easily switch between listening to music and chatting with my friends on the same device, there comes a huge liability.

Bathrooms, Gyms, and other Non-Camera Areas

Many iPod and iPhone users (including myself) love being able to take music with them anywhere they go–including to the gym.  I’ve even spotted audiophiles plugged into their devices while standing at a urinal.  You and I would probably think nothing of it.

But imagine if you saw someone walking around a gym, bathroom, or child’s playground with a camera or camcorder.  Would you do a double take?  Avoid the person?  Confront the person?  Report them?

The reality is that as time goes on, more and more handheld devices like phones and music players will incorporate cameras and camcorders.  So while you may naively assume that the guy at the back of the gym is rocking out, he might also be taking pictures or video of the people in front of him.  What about when he takes that device into the bathroom, dressing room, or showers?

It’s not a new concern, but it’s one that gyms in particular will need to tackle as the threat of iVoyeurism continues to grow.

What is Being Done?

In short, not much.  Self-regulation and reporting suspicious behavior are the best ways to keep these areas safe for everyone.

Many gyms have for years banned cameras and camcorders for obvious reasons.  Some have gone on to ban camera phones like the iPhone.  But with the iPod line of Apple music players being ubiquitous among gym-goers and the new iPod Nano’s tiny size (less than 4″ x 2″) the hardest part becomes policing.

Some gyms–such as Life Time Fitness–have banned the iPod Nano from use within locker rooms.  It will still be allowed in the gym workout areas.

But let’s face it, while we certainly don’t want pictures or videos of us changing in locker rooms to show up online, who wants a video of them sweating like a pig on an elliptical on the web either?  Not me.

What do you think should be done to combat this problem?



One thought on “iVoyeurism: iPods and iPhones at the Gym

  1. I’d never thought of that before, and is a bit creepy to think about. Great article.

    Posted by Scott | September 23, 2009, 6:37 pm

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