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New iPod Nano Raises Privacy Concerns for Health Clubs

OVERLAND PARK, KS — Although the new iPod Nano released last month features a built-in pedometer designed for gym goers, the addition of a video camera to the music-based device is causing privacy concerns at some fitness facilities.

Life Time Fitness, Chanhassen, MN, says the new iPod Nano will be included on the list of recording devices banned in the locker rooms of its 84 fitness facilities across 19 states.

“In keeping with Life Time's policy that restricts the use of recording devices in the locker rooms, the new Nano will be included in that category because of the potential for compromising photos or video footage,” says Kent Wipf, public relations manager for Life Time. “The new Nano's use for music listening is acceptable in the workout area but shooting videos with it while exercising is prohibited.”

Wipf says that Life Time staff members will monitor iPod use in workout areas, as they do with other devices that could compromise privacy. They also will ask members to report any violations.

Although the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) does not have requirements in place specific to iPods with video capabilities, it did outline a set of best cell phone practices for member clubs, says Kara Thompson, IHRSA public relations coordinator.

Several fitness chains, including Club One, 24 Hour Fitness and The Sports Club Co., prohibit the use of camera phones on their premises, according to the IHRSA report “Cell Phones in Health Clubs: An IHRSA Best Practice.”

Both Wisconsin and Hawaii enacted laws to protect member privacy, according to IHRSA. In addition, a proposed federal bill, The Camera Phone Predator Alert Act, submitted by Rep. Peter King of New York, would require mobile phones with digital cameras to emit an audible sound whenever a photo is taken. After its introduction earlier this year, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

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