BANGOR, Maine (WABI) – A number of area gyms are experiencing a new problem.
Photos and videos taken in private spaces, such as locker rooms, end up in the public domain.
Although some of these recordings may have innocent intentions, they may have unintended consequences.
“People would come in and say people were filming in the locker room, or taking pictures, or Snapchatting, or FaceTiming. And then a person saw themselves in the background in the picture of someone putting their pants on It was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Melissa Smith, owner of Gold’s Gym.
Gold’s Gym is one of the facilities in the Bangor area that now displays signs in locker rooms warning members that photos and videos are prohibited.
“We don’t think members who take pictures in a locker room are doing it to maliciously grab someone in the background. I don’t even think it’s on their radar, so when we explained it that way , people said, oh, I guess I get that makes sense,” Smith said.
The question raises not only moral questions, but also legal ones.
Bangor Police Sgt. Wade Betters says Maine has laws in place to protect people in private environments, such as locker rooms or bathrooms.
“Someone can be in an undressed state, or partially naked, or fully naked, and you take a photo or video of yourself and that person is in the background, it would actually be illegal to broadcast and share this video about. Maine state law calls this a invasion of privacy, so it’s a criminal offense for which you could be convicted, arrested, fined, and even do a little jail time,” Betters said.
Content created at the gym can spread like wildfire on apps like TikTok.
While Gold’s wants these fun and inspirational messages to continue, they’re just asking members to keep their check-ins in public areas of the building.
“For us, it’s tough because we want people to take pictures of themselves and be proud of their accomplishments and show their progress and shout it out. Like, we want all of this, we love all of this, but it’s just a matter of making sure all members are comfortable and all members feel safe,” Smith said.
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