Photography is Not a Crime, It's a First Amendment Right

Discussion in 'Digital Point & Shoot Camera' started by Neil Jones, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. Neil Jones

    Bob Larter Guest

    True, but unlikely to be an issue with a FAT32[0] memory card, as the
    file system would be very unlikely to be fragmented. The exception would
    be if the user was in the habit of deleting individual photos in-camera,
    but not many people do that.

    [0] The most common format for 1GB+ memory cards.
    Bob Larter, Mar 30, 2009
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  2. Neil Jones

    tony cooper Guest

    Dunno. I related it as I was told. I do know that the incident took
    place in one of the "projects" in the area. I don't think the task
    force officers would particularly like photos of them circulating in
    the area. I would doubt that the incident had any legs past that day.
    Just another day there.
    tony cooper, Mar 30, 2009
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  3. Neil Jones

    Chris H Guest

    No it's a matter of Law
    Depends on jurisdiction but in most democracies the cop was wrong.

    Again in most democracies the bystander does have the right to take
    photographs in a public place.
    That would be in Germany. "If it is not Permitted it is forbidden" most
    democracies work on "It is permitted unless it is Forbidden"
    The officer was not being interfered with and at the point of arresting
    the perp he had clearly identified himself as a cop.
    Free speech most certainly does apply in most democracies,. It does not
    in Police States and dictatorships like China, N.Korea etc
    Quite likely. However that does not have any bearing on taking the
    I agree. It still does not make it right for the cop to delete the

    I have taken photos in a similar circumstance and was asked by the
    police not to used the ones that clearly identified them if the photos
    were for publication.
    Chris H, Mar 30, 2009
  4. Neil Jones

    Martin Brown Guest

    Rules vary significantly in other countries. In Belgium there is a
    perceived right to privacy even on the public street. I crossed the line
    photographing someone moving house. They were upset but not when I
    explained that I wasn't press and it wouldn't be published. I wasn't
    interested in who they were, but in the insane Heath Robinson semi crane
    contraption with a ricketty platform leaning up against a 4 story
    building with one window removed and all their worldy goods precariously
    balanced on it. I later discovered this was a common way to move house.

    I had a close run in with the Greek police when I photographed a
    "Keystone cops" moment. An arriving police car at the back of a queue
    outside Athens police station failed to use the brakes and concertinad
    about 4 other police cars waiting outside. Big bang and then lots of
    angry policemen running down the steps to inspect the damage. I was just
    far enough away to vanish into the crowds afterwards.

    The weirdest one I remember was when some German "plant collectors"
    (smugglers) tried to use domestic German law to prevent their pictures
    being published internationally after a jail sentence in Mexico. The
    reason given was that it would interfere with their human rights to earn
    a livelihood as professional plant smugglers.

    I had an incident of my own in Germany after photographing a copyright
    infringement at an exhibition with the perpetrator shown with the
    offending material but without his permission. He claimed this was an
    infringement of his right to privacy and wanted the film. He didn't get it.

    I suspect even in US law there are plenty of places where the private
    ownership of land creates a zone where you can visit freely but
    photography is not permitted by the owner. Shopping malls, large stores
    and supermarkets often fall into this category in Europe.

    It is largely academic these days with high megapixel mobile phones and
    very small compact cameras. If you want to take pictures or video in a
    no photography zone it is easy enough to do so without being noticed.

    There is one guy, a film-maker now going by the moniker of eyeborg with
    a prosthetic eye miniature video camera.

    Martin Brown
    Martin Brown, Mar 30, 2009
  5. Neil Jones

    Martin Brown Guest

    No. Snapping the card in two would be destruction of property. And I
    suspect that if the images were of use to the police then they could
    quite legitimately have been confiscated as evidence.

    The UK is threatening to make photographing policemen illegal, but so
    far they have not done so. Although the untrained el cheapo jobsworths
    they put out as "community support officers" sometimes think such a law
    exists. Abuses of section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act are likely to

    Deleting just the offending ones and then taking a few dozen random
    shots would probably irreversibly trash the media containing the images
    he wanted to destroy. Delete all images is far too easily undone on most
    cameras. People hit the wrong buttons too often.
    Deleting all the images in the camera is nowhere near adequate if there
    was an actual security risk to undercover personnel. The cop should have
    asked for the media to use in evidence and issued a receipt for it.
    (at least that is what I would expect a UK police officer to do)

    Martin Brown
    Martin Brown, Mar 30, 2009
  6. Neil Jones

    Chris H Guest

    The request was honoured. I adjusted the faces in the photos The clear
    goggles went dark etc. and the newspaper not realising I had done this
    then put blackout patches across the whole face!

    In another occasion I was asked to delete the pictures. This was in
    Belgium where I was (for fun) photographing an Art Deco building close
    to the back of a building that was a concrete monstrosity, no windows, a
    couple of doors and a roller shutter.

    A couple of Police officers arrived including a very pretty female
    officer (all with large guns) They asked to see my photos and wanted any
    with them in deleted. They then said could not take photos for the next
    10 minutes.

    In the next 10 minutes a bullion shipment arrived and wen into the
    National Bank. At least I think it was a bullion shipment. Several
    armoured security vans and a couple of military armoured cars. It was
    all very fast and very slick.

    For their own security they did not want detailed photos of them or the
    delivery. That I can understand.
    Chris H, Mar 30, 2009
  7. Neil Jones

    Guest Guest

    erasing photos is destruction of property, particularly *unrelated*
    photos. it's the same if it had been film and the camera back opened,
    exposing it to light.
    if they could be used as evidence, the cop would not have reformatted
    the card it so clearly it was not of any use to them whatsoever.
    Guest, Mar 30, 2009
  8. Neil Jones

    Chris H Guest

    As is deleting the picture so I am told be legal people. At least in the
    Yes but not deleted. In fact they should request copies. Without a
    court order you can refuse.
    They were doing it before the changes on the 16th Feb 2009
    However the cop can not do that (at least in the UK) as that would be
    destruction of property.
    Since when has the average UK cop been that sensible?
    They can ask for copies. Most people would be OK about this but you do
    not have to give them without a court order.
    Chris H, Mar 30, 2009
  9. And often what are thought of as public parks. In some old cities
    there are also sometimes anomalous bits of streets which belong to the
    owner of the adjacent property, due to nobody ever having bothered to
    shift ownership to the public authority. The owner is often some
    public service organisation such as railways, post office, local
    authority, power, etc.. Those create useful little spots where the
    police can't move you on unless the property owner specifically
    requests them to do so, so are often used as the gathering places for
    political demonstrations.
    The silly thing is that the police and other "security" forces often
    ignore people photographing the scene with compact cameras and mobile
    phones, and pounce on the person with a conspicuous big black camera
    with knobs on. They seem to think that people who want to take
    photographs for illegal purposes would of course be very likely to use
    the most conspicuous kind of camera in a conspicuous fashion, and be
    most unlikely to use an insconspicuous camera unobtrusively.

    Of course they don't think that! Even policemen aren't as stupid as

    No, what they think is that the user of a big black camera with knobs
    on is more likely to be associated with the press, and so more likely
    to publish an embarrassing photograph. But since there are no laws to
    prevent the embarrassment of officialdom they just use any convenient
    legislation such as anti-terrorist.
    Chris Malcolm, Mar 30, 2009
  10. Neil Jones

    Chris H Guest

    On the other hand the owner of these "public" places such as shopping
    malls, churches, parks etc can restrict photography (and almost anything
    else) .
    This happens often
    This seems to be a universal trend.
    Really they should be monitoring all people in Internet cafes who use
    Google Earth etc Remote monitoring from an anonymous computer... Do
    Internet cafes have CCTV? Most Libraries don't
    Poor naive fool :)
    I am sorry that is just plain wrong. Our officers work to the highest
    standards and never do anything wrong, suspect or not in the public
    interest. (That is apart from those that got caught being misunderstood
    by the press, public and a judge.)
    That is an unfair and cynical attack on our wonderful police force that
    is based entirely on facts and [photographic/video] evidence

    In a recent Jobs-worth /petty-offical attack on a transporter voiding
    trains the statement of the railway company as to the behaviour of the
    transporter was completely at odds with the video evidence :) The
    local newspaper and TV companies put up the statement and the video side
    by side ion their web sites :)))))
    Chris H, Mar 30, 2009
  11. Neil Jones

    Guest Guest

    I have been on both sides of that issue in Ohio.

    Standing on public easement (a side walk that was required by
    law for the property owner to install and maintain as well as to allow
    public access) photographing the automatic car wash (which had damaged
    several cars) I was told I could not photograph the car wash. My
    response was I would photograph the car wash or I would wait until the
    police were summoned and abide by their decision. The police informed
    the property owner I was legal, and in the end a settlement was made
    with the car owners.

    On the other hand I was a manager in a store in a mall. Yes,
    I could tell people with cameras they could not photograph inside the

    The difference was simple. The store or mall and sidewalk are
    all privately owned properly. The sidewalk access is controlled by
    the local government. The store or mall are privately owned property
    and the public is allowed access only with the permission of the
    owners. Same thing at public concerts where they may restrict cameras
    or beer etc.
    Guest, Mar 30, 2009
  12. Neil Jones

    Guest Guest

    Photography is a right, but it may be restricted under certain
    conditions. (US)
    Guest, Mar 30, 2009
  13. Neil Jones

    Guest Guest

    Exactly. The difference is between areas where the public may
    have access and publicly owned property.
    Guest, Mar 30, 2009
  14. Neil Jones

    J. Clarke Guest

    Forgive my American-ness but what does "transporter voiding trains" mean?
    The image that American usage brings up is a large truck (in the sense of a
    lorry--I don't know if "truck" has another meaning in the UK) holding a
    paper punch punching holes in the train, and I'm pretty sure that can't be
    J. Clarke, Mar 30, 2009
  15. Neil Jones

    Chris H Guest

    Sorry "train spotter voiding trains"
    a train geek who collects train serial numbers and photographs them
    Chris H, Mar 30, 2009
  16. Neil Jones

    ray Guest

    There is no constitutional grant of "freedom of expression" - it is
    specifically spelled out as "freedom of speech". The framers of the
    constitution were intelligetn enough to know the difference between
    "expression" and "speech" - if they had intended the former, they would
    have explicitly said so.
    The oft cited example of limitation of freedom of speech is - crying
    "fire" in a crowded theater.
    ray, Mar 30, 2009
  17. Neil Jones

    Chris H Guest

    There is too little information to make a judgement.
    What is the age of consent in that location?
    Was the sex in public or private?
    Was the house the home of either girl?
    Was consent given for the picture
    Who published it?
    Was the publication intentional?

    Photographing a 10 year old girl in the bath may be pedophilia or it may
    not depending on context.
    Chris H, Mar 30, 2009
  18. Neil Jones

    Martin Brown Guest

    Only if he actually succeeded in deleting the images... which delete all
    seldom does. Unlike with film deliberately exposed to light you could
    recover deleted digital images. Film is a lot more fragile in this respect.

    Martin Brown
    Martin Brown, Mar 30, 2009
  19. Neil Jones

    tony cooper Guest

    This was an error on my part in constructing the paragraph. I did not
    think that taking the photograph was obstructing the officer. I was
    thinking along the line of what laws are spelled out, and interference
    is one that is.
    You're making assumptions. If you can, I can. I would doubt that
    many in the immediate area, if using drugs, could pass along a
    description of their own mother. They could pass along a photograph.

    It seems you are using "drug dealer" to describe some kind of kingpin
    distributor. Most "dealers" that are arrested are users who sell in
    order to supply their own needs.

    There's no need to label my responses as "rubbish". Just state your
    case and avoid the personal ad hominums. This isn't D-Mac vs Annika.
    tony cooper, Mar 30, 2009
  20. I'm not going to address the issue of whether the cop's actions
    were legal or not. I have my own opinion, but my wife's the first
    amendment scholar in the family; I'm not.

    What I will say is that _if_ this is a true account, the cop's
    on-side reformatting of the card was _stupid_, and a guilty perp
    might well walk on that basis.

    The cop in question destroyed evidence at the crime scene. The
    perp's lawyer could (and should) claim that a) the lost photos
    could have contained exculpatory evidence, b) that any and
    all concerns of the police could have been addressed by holding
    the SD card as evidence, and c) taking such preemptive action
    is evidence of the officer's state of mind with regard to their
    own potential wrongdoing.
    Michael Benveniste, Mar 30, 2009
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