“Are Cameras the New Guns?”

From paperghost via Adrian,

GizmodoAre Cameras the New Guns?

In response to a flood of Facebook and YouTube videos that depict police abuse, a new trend in law enforcement is gaining popularity. In at least three states, it is now illegal to record any on-duty police officer.

Even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists.

The legal justification for arresting the “shooter” rests on existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws, with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway. Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested. Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where “no expectation of privacy exists” (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.

From that article I discovered there’s a Web site called Photography is Not a Crime.

Also from paperghost, the same story is playing out in the UK:

BBCIs It a Crime to Take Pictures?

From today, anyone taking a photograph of a police officer could be deemed to have committed a criminal offence. That is because of a new law – Section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act – which has come into force.

It permits the arrest of anyone found “eliciting, publishing or communicating information” relating to members of the armed forces, intelligence services and police officers, which is “likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”.

That means anyone taking a picture of one of those people could face a fine or a prison sentence of up to 10 years, if a link to terrorism is proved.

I can imagine a sci-fi story where the protagonist has to obtain an unregistered camera or pirated camera ROMs.

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2 Responses to “Are Cameras the New Guns?”

  1. homebru says:

    That’s gonna play heck with all of the tourists photographing the changing of the guards over to the palace.

  2. Chris Range says:

    James Covington told me about this and at first I didn’t believe him. An odd case or two is what I would have expected, not this. Very strange.