So the Brits have a new law, do they...

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by stsinner, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. stsinner

    stsinner TPF Noob!

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    I saw it talked about on here a little bit ago, but today I read that it's now the law... Bummer:

    Think twice before photographing Brit bobbies

    Photographers say new law can be used at whim of police officers, military


    [​IMG]updated 4:03 p.m. ET, Mon., Feb. 16, 2009

    LONDON - Tourists better think twice now before snapping pictures of the iconic British bobby.
    A new British anti-terrorism law went into effect Monday that could effectively bar photographers from taking pictures of police or military personnel — a move that prompted some 200 photographers to protest outside of Scotland Yard's headquarters.
    Although the measure aims to prevent terrorists from taking reconnaissance shots, photographers say it could be misused at a whim to stop any pictures from being taken — especially images involving police abuse and demonstrations.

    "This law makes it much more difficult to photograph any kind of public demonstration or riot," said Marc Vallee, a protester and photographer. "The police are already suspicious of photographers and this just gives them more ammunition to stop us at our work."
    Britain has come under fire in recent years for several measures that civil liberties groups say erode people's freedoms. In 2005, another law prohibited demonstrations around Parliament.
    The new act makes it a crime to "elicit, publish or communicate information" about British police or military personnel.
    Officials defend policy
    Britain's Home Office said in a statement that the law is designed to protect police officers on counterterrorism operations. In many cases, officers could allow photographers to keep taking pictures. In other cases, they could ask them to stop or threaten them with arrest.
    It is legal to take photographs in any public space, but photographers complain they have been harassed by police while taking photographs near airports, government buildings or train tracks under the Terrorism Act 2000, which gives police the right to stop, search and question anyone taking photographs.
    "We've seen more and more limits being placed in this country on photographers and this new legislation will make things even more difficult for them," said Padraig Reidy of Index on Censorship, a group that monitors civil liberties.
    Freelance photographer Jess Hurd said she was stopped by police when photographing a December wedding of Irish Travelers. Part of the story was about how the Travelers — who often roam from site to site — face harassment from police.
    "The police stopped me and ordered me to stop filming them, saying I could be carrying out hostile reconnaissance," Hurd said. "I had no idea what they were talking about until I realized we were vaguely in the vicinity of City Airport."
    Photographers who refuse to stop taking pictures after a warning face arrest, up to 10 years in prison or unspecified fines.
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    So another question: Have you ever seen or heard of a terrorist taking a reconnaissance shot outside of the series 24?
    Or another: Has there ever been an attack on British soil that wasn't a suicide attack? I.e has a terrorist ever NEEDED to know where police are so they could maybe get away?
     
  3. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Exactly. This law is a license for police to go on fishing expeditions.
     
  4. stsinner

    stsinner TPF Noob!

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    I agree, and the bad part is that it seems to be subjective-whatever the cops want to keep you from taking pictures of, it seems they have the leeway to do that. Or they seem to have the choice to look the other way.. I guess it depends on their mood.
     
  5. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Simply more bully boy tactics, nothing to do with terrorism just another way to exert control over a pretty subservient population, we'll go out and fight anybody in this country but stand against the chinless wonders and public schoolboy politicians and all you hear is silence. I already remarked on this assault on our freedom in an earlier thread, as you say, the dickheads have made it law so its camera smashing time for our dippy police force now, and, believe me, they are morons. H
     
  6. JohnMF

    JohnMF TPF Noob!

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    here's some further reading BBC NEWS | UK | Ministers 'using fear of terror' if anyone's interested

    the IRA spring to mind, they would employ plenty of surveillance tactics and would target individual police officers as well as well the police in general (in-between all the indiscriminate bombings). I'm pretty certain, that in some cases, photographs would have been involved in the process at some point, photographs of targets etc.

    Having said that, I do not agree with these new laws and find it all very scary and quite sad that this is happening in my country
     
  7. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The first attempt to take down the WTC was done using fertiliser. Clearly the solution should have been to ban all nurseries and farms from selling fertiliser.

    Or better yet if you want to stop subway bombings, then just don't let the people on the subway.

    But then looking at the pornography law that the brits passed the other day banning the owning of images and videos of extreme yet consentual behaviour between two adults I wouldn't be surprised if they do take the above recommendations into consideration.
     
  8. fwellers

    fwellers TPF Noob!

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    extreme yet consensual. And do tell, what might they consider extreme ? we need to keep govt workers a whole lot more busy so they don't have time to try and legislate personal morality.
     
  9. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    Terrorist do scout out sites to carry out their acts. They don't necessarily do it to plan an escape. They've done it in the past to evaluate likely targets, to document them for future discussions. They may want to circumvent security to get their bomber inside as well.

    So yes, terrorists do use cameras and they do conduct surveillance. They're picked up in Iraq all the time with camera equipment scouting sites.

    Now, does that mean we need to ban cameras or photographers? No. The act of taking pictures doesn't constitute a crime, regardless of the intent. Heck, Google Maps can be used to plan a terrorist attack. And if they are dingy enough to believe banning cameras or photography will thwart terrorist activities, then your police have bigger problems (like being horribly inept).

    Do they honestly believe if a terrorist shows up to scout a location and sees a "no cameras allowed" sign they'll simply abandon their aspirations and go find something else to do? Hardly.

    They'll either conceal their activities or find other ways of accomplishing their task. Even if they outright banned camera ownership tomorrow it wouldn't stop terrorists from doing what they do.

    I've never understood the "lets ban everything" mentality.

    A great American once said,
    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, 1759
     
  10. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    Yeah... I agree.

    But a man with a note pad and a pen can be just as dangerous as one armed with a camera. What will they ban next, pen and paper?
     
  11. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    All the news coming out of the UK makes movies like V for Vendetta seem surprisingly plausible-- at what point will the British people say enough is enough? Or do laws like this one have the general support of the populace?

    edit: am I reading this correctly that it is now illegal to publish any information about the British police? Or is that something of a misunderstanding? If I've got it correct, that is terrifying. And I thought the Patriot Act was bad.
     
  12. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Additionally, terrorists don't need super-high-resolution, noiseless photos that a DSLR will provide. Hidden cameras are cheap and accessible these days (eg.: Camera Sunglasses).
     

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