Author Topic: Good news, I hope!  (Read 5240 times)

Offline Stutroup

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Good news, I hope!
« on: July 17, 2010, 12:57 »
As it stands, several states have laws in place which make it illegal to photograph of video tape on-duty police officers.  In some places, the law doesn't matter to the police, and people have been arrested on charges of (basically) illegal wire tapping.  It seems at least one person at the federal level doesn't like this.

http://carlosmiller.com/2010/07/16/breaking-news-congressman-introduces-bill-to-protect-citizens-who-videotape-cops/

Offline ethercat

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Re: Good news, I hope!
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2010, 09:12 »
When it is illegal to photograph or videotape police officers in public places, yet surveillance cameras in public places are ubiquitous, particularly in urban areas, a special class of protected person is created.  I believe this is contrary to the ideals this country was founded upon.

Although this statement does not apply to most police, certainly enough police officers have engaged in bad behavior, thus showing themselves to need watching.  How do you determine in advance which ones need watching?  You can't.

There is also the issue of plainclothes officers and detectives.  How would a photographer determine that the person in plainclothes that they videotape is actually a police officer, and therefore protected from being photographed?

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Offline SocialTransparency

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Re: Good news, I hope!
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2010, 10:26 »
 To many variables come into play here!





 




Offline ethercat

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Re: Good news, I hope!
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2010, 21:59 »
C'mon, those guys gotta have a sugar pick-me-up in the afternoon too; don't you?

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Offline SocialTransparency

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Re: Good news, I hope!
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2010, 08:31 »
Growing Number of Prosecutions for Videotaping the Police

http://abcnews.go.com/US/TheLaw/videotaping-cops-arrest/story?id=11179076

Offline Stutroup

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Re: Good news, I hope!
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2010, 22:43 »
There is also the issue of plainclothes officers and detectives.  How would a photographer determine that the person in plainclothes that they videotape is actually a police officer, and therefore protected from being photographed?

If I had to guess, the language could be altered slightly in the sense of the officer was doing something in an official capacity; say making an arrest, going into the precinct, etc., in those areas.

There have also supposedly been some cases of police arresting photographers/videographers in public areas (sidewalks, parks, etc.) under some charges, and ultimately, in front of the judge, said they know photography is legal but they didn't like the look of the individual and wished there were more restrictions. Granted, this has been a fairly rare case and in every instance I've heard (I haven't been able to confirm it online) the judge has thrown out the charges.

On a side note: It is very important to be aware of what really does constitute a public area for photography.  For example, a certain known pot stirrer has a thread about how he was threatened with arrest for video taping on "public" property, and in the video it becomes clear early on that he is trying inside a shopping mall.

Growing Number of Prosecutions for Videotaping the Police

http://abcnews.go.com/US/TheLaw/videotaping-cops-arrest/story?id=11179076

See, and that's the kind of thing that will ultimately being GOOD from the forced accountability that officers may be recorded by any means any time they are making stops or anything.

A pair of cops pulled my sister over a long time ago for running a yellow light. It was late. They both pulled their guns, and said she ran a yellow light so they thought she might be running drugs.  She reported them and they faced discipline (supposedly), but to this day she's very nervous around police.  It's the very few bad officers who give the rest a bad name.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 22:58 by Stutroup »

Offline Stutroup

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Re: Good news, I hope!
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2010, 22:40 »
Some more indirect, yet delisciously more broad analysis on what's going on:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/how-to/computer-security/taking-photos-in-public-places-is-not-a-crime?click=main_sr
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Today, most people walk around with a camera of some sort in their possession. Point-and-shoots, DSLRs and tiny video cams--not to mention cellphones--have become ubiquitous. And yet it seems that in many public locations, security officials are touchier than ever about letting people actually use those cameras. Our guardians of public safety often have the idea that shooting pictures in public places might be a precursor to some sort of terrorism. It's an understandable concern, but misguided. I believe there is a good case to be made that having lots of cameras in the hands of citizens makes us more, rather than less, safe.

Here's how bad it has gotten: Not long ago, an Amtrak representative did an interview with local TV station Fox 5 in Washington, D.C.'s Union Station to explain that you don't need a permit to take pictures there--only to be approached by a security guard who ordered them to stop filming without a permit.

Legally, it's pretty much always okay to take photos in a public place as long as you're not physically interfering with traffic or police operations. As Bert Krages, an attorney who specializes in photography-related legal problems and wrote Legal Handbook for Photographers, says, "The general rule is that if something is in a public place, you're entitled to photograph it." What's more, though national-security laws are often invoked when quashing photographers, Krages explains that "the Patriot Act does not restrict photography; neither does the Homeland Security Act." But this doesn't stop people from interfering with photographers, even in settings that don't seem much like national-security zones.

Tennessee law student Morgan Manning has compiled a list of incidents in which individuals were wrongly stopped. Cases like that of Seattle photographer Bogdan Mohora, who was arrested for taking pictures of police arresting a man and had his camera confiscated. Or NASA employee Walter Miller, who was stopped for photographing an art exhibit near the Indianapolis City-County Building and told that "homeland security" forbade photos of the facility. More recently, a CBS news crew was turned back from shooting the oil-fouled gulf coastline by two U.S. Coast Guard officers who said they were enforcing "BP's rules."

Unfortunately, Manning notes, although such hassling is generally illegal, it's hard for the average citizen to get redress in court--how do you calculate the value of deleted snapshots or photos never taken in the first place?

As the examples above demonstrate, it's a problem that stems as much from cluelessness at the bottom of the chain of command as from heavy-handedness at the top. The officers who crack down on photographers no doubt believe they are protecting public safety. But evidence that photography might be useful to terrorists is slim. According to security expert Bruce Schneier, head of security technology for British Telecom, terrorists don't typically photograph targets in advance. "Look at the 9/11 attacks, the Moscow and London subway bombings, the Fort Hood shooting--no photos," he says. "I'm not seeing a whole lot of plots that hinge on photography." On his blog, Schneier advises: "If you're harassed, it's almost certainly a law enforcement official, public or private, acting way beyond his authority."

Not surprisingly, police tend to be particularly sensitive about being photographed themselves. And many of the cases cited by Manning involve officers discouraging citizens from filming them while they go about their duties. Though one can understand their skittishness, the fact is, our ability to document the actions of public officials is an important freedom, one that can serve as a check against abuses.

Police and prosecutors in Maryland have been taking a particularly hard line. In one case, motorcycle rider Anthony Graber left his helmet cam on while he was pulled over by a state trooper. A grand jury indicted him on several violations of the state's wiretapping laws. If convicted on all charges, Graber could face up to 16 years in prison. In alleging that the GoPro video camera on Graber's helmet constituted a "surreptitious" wiretapping device, prosecutors are making the claim that a person recording his own arrest is violating the police officer's right to privacy.

This is the sort of thing you might be tempted simply to toss in the crazy file. But, in fact, this is one of the comparatively few issues that could merit a new federal civil rights law. Under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, Congress is empowered to pass laws protecting civil rights against infringement by state and local officials, and that seems to be what's happening here. A clear federal law would limit cases, like Maryland's, in which local officials use their power to harass those who might keep an eye on them. Passing such a law would make us all safer.

Even in potential terrorism cases, the presence of lots of ordinary folks carrying cameras actually enhances public security. In the hours after the failed Times Square car-bomb attempt, officials searching for clues didn't just look at their own security-camera footage, they also sought out home movies shot by tourists.

So what should you do if you're taking photos and a security guard or police officer approaches you and tells you to stop? First, be polite. Security people have tough jobs and probably mean well. Ask them what legal authority they have to make you stop. (If you're in a public place, like a street, a park, etc., they have none; if you're in a private place, such as a shopping mall, they may have a basis for banning pictures.) Krages advises those hassled by security guards to threaten to call law enforcement. If it's an actual police officer who's telling you to stop shooting, ask to speak to a superior. And remember--you never have a legal duty to delete pictures you've taken.

More importantly, we need better education among security guards and law enforcement. In Britain, the country's police chiefs' association is attempting to educate officers about the rights of photographers. So far, nothing like that has happened in the U.S., but it should. Trying to block photography in public places is not only heavy-handed and wrong but, thanks to technology, basically useless. With the proliferation of cameras in just about every device we carry, digital photography has become too ubiquitous to stop. Let's have a truce in the war on photography and set our sights on the real bad guys. Who, it seems, don't carry cameras anyway.

Popular Mechanics contributing editor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, author of An Army of Davids (Nelson Current, 2006), teaches law at the University of Tennessee and blogs at Instapundit.

Offline ethercat

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Re: Good news, I hope!
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2010, 17:22 »
There have also supposedly been some cases of police arresting photographers/videographers in public areas (sidewalks, parks, etc.) under some charges, and ultimately, in front of the judge, said they know photography is legal but they didn't like the look of the individual and wished there were more restrictions.

See, this needs to stop.  Neither police nor judges are supposed to make the law, especially on the spot.  They are supposed to enforce the law as it is already written.  If a new law needs to be written, that doesn't isn't supposed to happen on the street or in the courtroom.

Some more indirect, yet delisciously more broad analysis on what's going on:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/how-to/computer-security/taking-photos-in-public-places-is-not-a-crime?click=main_sr
Quote
Legally, it's pretty much always okay to take photos in a public place as long as you're not physically interfering with traffic or police operations. As Bert Krages, an attorney who specializes in photography-related legal problems and wrote Legal Handbook for Photographers, says, "The general rule is that if something is in a public place, you're entitled to photograph it." What's more, though national-security laws are often invoked when quashing photographers, Krages explains that "the Patriot Act does not restrict photography; neither does the Homeland Security Act." But this doesn't stop people from interfering with photographers, even in settings that don't seem much like national-security zones.

You know what we need?  A digital camera that will, instead of saving the photo to a device within the camera, automatically upload the photo to an untouchable server.  So that once the picture is taken, it can't be deleted from the camera.

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Quote
So what should you do if you're taking photos and a security guard or police officer approaches you and tells you to stop? First, be polite. Security people have tough jobs and probably mean well. Ask them what legal authority they have to make you stop. (If you're in a public place, like a street, a park, etc., they have none; if you're in a private place, such as a shopping mall, they may have a basis for banning pictures.) Krages advises those hassled by security guards to threaten to call law enforcement. If it's an actual police officer who's telling you to stop shooting, ask to speak to a superior. And remember--you never have a legal duty to delete pictures you've taken.

In certain cases, we have to weigh not exercising our rights against the possible outcome if we do exercise them.  It shouldn't be that way.
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Offline Stutroup

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Re: Good news, I hope!
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2010, 20:29 »
In certain cases, we have to weigh not exercising our rights against the possible outcome if we do exercise them.  It shouldn't be that way.

I agree that it shouldn't be that way, at all.  Unfortunately, there are videos of (London) police saying they don't need laws to make people stop taking photographs or video. Under the Patriot Act in the U.S., there are loop holes which basically mean no reason must be given to make an arrest.  Basically, someone can just disappear if an officer believes the person is being suspicious.  Someone I know has seen a ten-year-old child arrested in Washington, D.C. for taking photographs of the wrong thing.

In many of these cases, however, there is little to no accountability held against the officer for having made a false arrest.  Usually the citizen loses time (spent in jail, having to go to an arraignment, a hearing, etc.), money (lost hours at work, a missed flight home, lost sales if potential prints were deleted -- which is also illegal, camera equipment if it was "accidentally" smashed in the arrest, etc.), reputation (being publicly carted away on false charges), dignity, the physical ability to take more video/photographs (smashed stuff), and on down the list, which easily adds up to thousands of dollars, and even more if the individual decides to attempt to sue the department to be reimbursed for any of it ...

... while the officer who made the arrest will face minimum discipline for abuse of power. "Hey, uhm, it's not illegal to take pictures there." or possibly a little desk work; a slap on the wrist for possibly setting back a professional months of hard work.

I'm certainly not saying this is a constant occurrence.  And it is by no means something I'd expect from any officer; I know it's very few who would do that.  But it happens enough to be reported, in the news on in photographic communities online, almost daily.

On the (somewhat) other hand of things, I understand that some officers will be uneasy being photographed for the simple sake of protection: There are often factions who seek revenge against "That (____) cop who arrested me," and actively seek any way to find that retribution.  I would rather respect an officer who simply asks me not to photograph him.  That said, if an officer is abusing his power (such as pulling a gun on a reckless driver for no reason other than to be more forceful and intimidating), then all recordings of that incident submitted as media awareness and official complaint are welcomed.  In part, because Federal law states that the recording of any criminal act (implied for the sake of evidence) is legal.

And, of course, the intimidation of reporting an officer for making illegal demands/arrest is wall known:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1YvwTHKuQQ

Offline Lorelei

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Re: Good news, I hope!
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2010, 04:27 »
A digital camera that uploads to a server? Like a wifi-enabled laptop camera streaming video live? :)
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Offline ethercat

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Re: Good news, I hope!
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2010, 09:18 »
A digital camera that uploads to a server? Like a wifi-enabled laptop camera streaming video live? :)

Well, yes, but small, like a small digital camera.  A laptop, a netbook, even an IPad, is too cumbersome to have with you all the time.  And I wouldn't say to have it streaming or live necessarily, just stored somewhere private, so one could get to it if needed, and couldn't be forced to delete it, or have it deleted.  FTP would be a good protocol, I think.  Ideally, it could be one's choice of servers, not tied to a particular service.

And I admit, such may exist and I just don't know about it - it's difficult to keep up with everything, and I tend not to shop for things unless I've decided I need something in particular.  The technology exists, with the exception of wifi service anywhere and anytime without having a particular provider.  I know there are IP cameras for surveillance, which will do the streaming to a secure web server, but long-lasting battery power is a problem, and they generally use your home or business internet connection to upload.  Of course, enough money will buy almost any solution, if physical limitations can be worked around (such as heavy batteries).  As an off-topic aside, I have heard about longer lasting fuel cell batteries being on the market: http://www.horizonfuelcell.com/store/minipak.htm
« Last Edit: July 23, 2010, 09:27 by ethercat »
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Offline Stutroup

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Re: Good news, I hope!
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2010, 11:25 »
Eye-Fi (http://www.eye.fi/) already basically does this, except it needs the laptop or whatever. I'm not sure if the transmitter-type card can be made to connect to a network and auto-upload to a server. But that would be effin' awesome!

There are also things like this, for those who wish to clear off cards but not take along a computer to do so :D http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/706775-REG/Wolverine_7616_PicPac_II_160GB_Digital.html

Offline ethercat

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Re: Good news, I hope!
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2010, 12:38 »
Eye-Fi (http://www.eye.fi/) already basically does this, except it needs the laptop or whatever. I'm not sure if the transmitter-type card can be made to connect to a network and auto-upload to a server. But that would be effin' awesome!

Looks really cool for most people's uses.  For the paranoid...   :-\  Something that concerns me is that you must have a registered account with the Eye-Fi company, and that is apparently where your login data for various wireless networks and photo-sharing accounts is stored.  I couldn't find any other  reason for having an Eye-Fi account spelled out anywhere specifically.  While this won't bother most people, privacy advocates would be concerned, and I am positive someone doing anything like what Julian Assange (of wikileaks) is doing would not use it.  My primary concern would be the potential for misuse of information.

I'd like to see something like it that would not connect back to the mothership, and something that would connect to any server you specify rather than a list of popular photo sharing websites.

Apparently, you only need the computer to configure the card (which makes sense, since the card doesn't have a keyboard  :P ), and to establish your account with Eye-Fi and set up your wireless networks.  This would, however, make it difficult to upload on the fly through any wireless that happened to be available, should you find yourself in a situation like we talk about above.

According to the site, if the card has power, it will try to upload whatever it has on it.  (Make sure your photo sharing site is set to private for uploads if you plan to upload stuff you don't want to make public.  I can see a lot of embarrassing situations coming out of this.   :D )

And if you plan on buying one used, better make sure the original owner has deleted his account with mothership - or it won't work for you (or rather, I guess, it will only work with the original owner's configured networks and photo sharing accounts):

http://support.eye.fi/support-resources/tips-tricks/accounts-multiple-cards/gifting-or-buying-a-used-eye-fi-card/
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Gifting or buying a used Eye-Fi card

Print

If you plan to give or sell a previously registered Eye-Fi Card you will have to delete the card from its associated account before it can be registered and used by another person. For instructions about deleting an Eye-Fi card from an Eye-Fi account refer to How do I add/delete an Eye-Fi Card to/from my account?.

If you plan to purchase a used Eye-Fi Card, it is imperative that you make sure that the previous user has deleted the Eye-Fi account associated with the Eye-Fi Card you plan to purchase. A previously registered Eye-Fi Card cannot be re-registered to a new user until the previous account has been deleted by the original owner/user of the card.

Important: Eye-Fi Customer Care cannot delete customer confidential information associated with an Eye-Fi Card or customer account

That bolded part alone gives me pause for concern, and may be illegal in certain European countries.

Quote
There are also things like this, for those who wish to clear off cards but not take along a computer to do so :D http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/706775-REG/Wolverine_7616_PicPac_II_160GB_Digital.html

The $120 cost of that item would buy a lot of cards, which would be easier to carry around and swap out when one gets full.  I don't think I could take 160 gb of photos without being around a computer at some point.  That's 26,000 photos for my 6 megapixel camera.   :P
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Offline Stutroup

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Re: Good news, I hope!
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2010, 17:31 »
The portable drive is a little bit of a niche market, so to speak.  But it comes in really handy with things like long trips, especially in nature, or photojournalists shooting in hotbed situations or areas of controversy (think G20 protests or in a war zone :P).  In one instance, it gives the freedom not to have the convenience of clearing off cards at the end of the day, without a laptop.  In the other, it gives the ability to instantly back up images onto another device (I'll admit I don't know whether it has the ability to leave the files on the card but I'll assume it does, and say it should).

It basically gives instant redundancy in the ability to NOT lose data.  Of course, this ability is greatly reduced if full cards are kept in the same pocket as the back-up device xD