No public pool would be complete without obnoxious swimmers and equally as obnoxious lifeguards blowing on their whistles all day long. A new irritant that has come into play in the last few years is the poolside selfie, and while most are self-gratifying and harmless, a public pool in the town of Offenbach is the latest among many German pools instituting a ban on all cameras, including phones.
The ban on cameras may ruin the status update from the pool, but owner Matthias Wörner of the Erste Offenbacher Schwimmclub told DW that it was a necessary step to combat pedophilia and body shaming. “We can’t rule out that while someone claims to be taking a picture of their own child, they might have their lens on another child. Imagine someone who might carry a little too much weight – they wouldn’t want their picture to make the rounds around the internet.”
Offenbach isn’t alone on banning pool photography in Germany. Numerous pools across the country are requiring visitors to place a specially designed sticker over their phone’s cameras if they don’t want to give up the phone entirely.
Under German law it is illegal to photograph or video someone without their permission, but it is a difficult law to enforce with the technology available. It is then up to individual pools to be on the lookout, and most pools do have rules in their code of conduct that explicitly forbids taking photos. Berlin is currently the only major city in Germany without such a ban, but public pools are said to be finalizing their rules to put a ban in place.