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Photographers Face Ejection Over Lenses

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the control-freaks-dining-out dept.

Censorship 743

destinyland writes "Zooomr CEO Thomas Hawk was ejected from a San Francisco art museum because the security guard apparently thought his expensive camera could be used to spy on female employees. Another photographer notes that 'many people consider a professional-looking camera a threat,' and the state of California has even passed a law against telephoto lenses being used to intrude on celebrities' private lives. Hawk is routinely confronting security guards who argue that photographing their buildings represents a 'security threat.' Ironically, four weeks ago while attending Microsoft's Pro Photo Summit, he was told he couldn't even photograph the lobby of a Hyatt Hotel."

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743 comments

Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (5, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613763)

Hawk is routinely confronting security guards who argue that photographing their buildings represents a 'security threat.'

A few months ago I was in the Prudential Center Mall and Copley Place in Boston. I was just looking around after attending Red Hat Summit. I saw a store that I knew my wife would love to have a picture of and took a picture of the front of it with my cell phone. A security guard came over and told me that I couldn't take pictures inside the mall. At first I thought that she was wrong about that, but decided not to challenge it since I already had taken the picture I wanted and didn't want to do anything that would jepordize missing my flight later that day. So I walked away and went over and asked another security guard about the policy on taking pictures and she also stated that you can't take pictures inside shopping malls. I went back to a computer and looked it up and found that they were wrong. If they asked me to leave, I'd have to leave or else face trespassing charges, but they can't stop me from taking pictures in what is considered a public place. They are just using something similar to the chilling effect to try to stop me because I'm guessing the owners of the shopping mall don't want people taking pictures. For the record, I know shopping malls are privately owned, but they let you walk in and out freely without needing a key.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24613815)

Have similar things happen to me while trying to get picture even outside of few building in and around NYC.

Have also seen security guards running after somebody whenever they notice them taking pictures of the buildings.

I am all the more concerned about this because on top of carrying a dSLR, I am also an immigrant and my skin color differs from the locals. That's one of the mains reasons I never got into public photography.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24613871)

get picture even outside of few building in and around NYC........I am also an immigrant and my skin color differs from the locals.

Called you on your BS. NYC - immigrant and skin color - in NYC???? Geez are you purple? Otherwise you blend right in!! Sheesh!

On second thought, in NYC, even if you were purple, you'll blend in so...BS

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (4, Funny)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614137)

*shrug*

Maybe they are Swedish?

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (0)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614455)

As a Swede myself I have to say: Does not compute.

Anyway lame how people are so scared of everything and nothing. Someone I know was taking a picture at the airport wherever they was that time and someone removed the images for them .. I hope they atleast didn't removed all other images to.

Still suck, 10 years ago no one would care if you took a picture at an airport, and I don't really see how it matters, it's not like it's restricted area or top secret anyway.

Camera + speakerbag with DJ Vadim - The terrorist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD2gAjFtZ1A [youtube.com]

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (5, Interesting)

suso (153703) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613879)

I am all the more concerned about this because on top of carrying a dSLR, I am also an immigrant and my skin color differs from the locals. That's one of the mains reasons I never got into public photography.

I'm so sorry about that. One shouldn't have to sacrifice their dreams for this shit.

Maybe there should be flash mobs of people going into public areas and taking a bunch of pictures to raise awareness about the change in policy due to 9/11.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (5, Funny)

celardore (844933) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614069)

A flash photography mob no less.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (4, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614097)

raise awareness about the change in policy due to 9/11.

Indeed. Back when I was young I was heavily into photography, and often carried an SLR with a 135mm lens. Back then nobody cared. Ironically, these days they don't want you photographing, yet there are Big Brother cameras (including government cameras) everywhere.

It's too late to change awareness; the terrorists have won.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (5, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614173)

The law is clear, in a public place, you are free to photograph anything you want, even other people without their permission. While most police officers are aware of that law, security guards usually are not, and so it is likely that they will give you a hard time about photographing the public facade of a building. Also keep in mind that the law is not clear on photographs where the subject of the picture is on private property but the photographer was standing on public ground.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (0)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614267)

peeping tom much?

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (1, Funny)

AxB_teeth (156656) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613861)

> they can't stop me from taking pictures in what is considered a
> public place ... For the record, I know shopping malls are
> privately owned...

One of these things is not like the other.

*Businesses* allow *customers* access to *their* property on *their* terms. Don't agree? Try pitching a tent in the food court.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (1)

Tenrosei (1305283) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614223)

Try pitching a tent in the food court.

(insert joke regarding facile)

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (2, Informative)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614273)

Yes, that's quite true. But from a privacy standpoint (specifically regarding photography), malls are considered public places. If they have a problem with photographers, they're certainly entitled to ask you to leave (and you'd be trespassing if you don't comply) but that's about the extent of it.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614487)

Which is why they can ask you to leave, and you have to. But they do not have the right to make you delete any pictures you may have taken.

If a mall decides to have a naked shopper rule (to cut down on shoplifting), they may as you to take your clothes off or leave, but they cannot force you to strip down.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (5, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613887)

Security guards on private property only have you the power to leave and, if you refuse, escort you from the premises. So, if they fuck with you, that's what you should say... "are you asking me to leave?".. as soon as they say no, you just say oh ok, thanks for the advice on your corporate policy. And hey, getting ejected from some random private property because you refuse to conform with their corporate policy is hardly something to be shameful about.

policy (5, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614403)

I'm not a security guard.

But do try to see it from their point of view.

Often they are told by their bosses that "this is the policy, enforce it". It's not like they have the luxury of saying "hey I think this policy is stupid".

So if they don't tell you to stop, they could lose their jobs.

If they tell you to stop, and things go the wrong way, they could also lose their jobs (see one of the cases involving Mr CEO photographer[1]).

It's not like most of them can afford the _time_ and money to seek legal redress if they get sacked just for being put in a stupid situation that's completely their fault.

If the security guard is really being an asshole, then maybe he deserves it.

But if the security guard is NOT being an asshole about it, maybe you should take it up with the people setting the policy, not the guard. Do you absolutely have to take that picture?

Sure you have the right to swing your fist about, as long as it is what the courts may view as a reasonable distance from others. But that doesn't necessarily mean you _have_ to keep swinging it about, when someone requests you to stop for whatever reason.

When someone wield a gun and a uniform and makes you do something, yes sometimes that can be bullying.

BUT don't forget, you can wield the law and be a bully as well.

If my friend asks me to stop taking pictures of him even in public places, I'd probably stop. Perhaps the guard is not your friend, but why not be friendly?

You can be 100% in the right all the time and have no friends.

[1] Seems a security guard showed Mr CEO Photographer the finger and lost his job for it. I'm not aware of the full story, and yes maybe the guard was out of line, but I dunno, security guards losing their jobs for showing someone a finger? Heck, real cops don't seem to lose their jobs for doing worse.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24613929)

Just print out a real looking press badge, and put it in a plastic protector on a lanyard an put that around your neck. They'll let you take all the pictures you want. People like that are suckers for anything looks like authority. They'll only harass people that they think have none.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (2, Interesting)

Ariven (256118) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614161)

Actually at one mall here in AZ that I have worked for, having a press badge would get you evicted even faster than just taking pictures (Though taking pictures was enough)...

They had issues with people taking pictures due to a stabbing that had occured some time prior, as well as not wanting to make it easier for insurance or lawyer related photography...

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (4, Informative)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613953)

Shopping malls aren't public places. They can absolutely kick you out for any reason they feel necessary. They can't demand that you hand over your film or prevent you from publishing the pictures that you've taken, but they can demand that you not take pictures or kick you out.

Sorry, you are dead wrong here. Review this summary of photographer's rights [kantor.com] .

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (2, Informative)

suso (153703) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614109)

Shopping malls aren't public places. They can absolutely kick you out for any reason they feel necessary. They can't demand that you hand over your film or prevent you from publishing the pictures that you've taken, but they can demand that you not take pictures or kick you out.

Sorry, you are dead wrong here. Review this summary of photographer's rights [kantor.com] .

Did you read the statement I made at the end of my comment? Read it again. But when it comes down to it, I bet if you did a survey, the majority of people would say that they think that a shopping mall is public property because it gives that impression. From what I read in the photographer's rights document that I read, it came down to being able to get into the facility without a key, special permission or some credential.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (1, Insightful)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614151)

Since when does the opinion of most laypeople determine the law?

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (2, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614303)

From what I read in the photographer's rights document that I read, it came down to being able to get into the facility without a key, special permission or some credential.

Not having to use a key or credential does not make it public property.

Assuming you have a yard, if I went to your house, walked through your yard, and started taking pictures through the windows of your house, is it okay because I'm on public property? After all, you don't have your yard secured by a key or other credential. If you're having a party and it looks like a public place, does that make a difference?

The other posters are right. The mall is private property, you have no "right" to be there, and they can ask you to leave at any time. I agree that it's pretty sucky to ask you to do so because you're taking pictures, but there's no law against them being sucky. (There is a law, however, against you staying there after they've asked you to leave. It's called trespassing.)

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614471)

I would think that asking for permission before trampling on other people's property is the standard, thus it's private, not public. You don't have to ask for any kind of permission to go inside a shopping center.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (5, Informative)

Bandman (86149) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614265)

From the first paragraph of the document you quoted, in bold,

  there are no laws prohibiting the taking of photographs on public or private property. If you can be there, you can take pictures there: streets, malls, parking lots, office buildings. You do not need permission to do so, even on private property.

I don't know how much more obvious it could be

well sort of. (1, Informative)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614373)

There is no specific law against photography on private property, but the property owner can revoke your "invitation" to be on that property, turning you into a trespasser which then makes your presences on that property illegal.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (1)

imaque (1341185) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614451)

Right. As long as there's no reasonable expectation of privacy, you can photograph anything you want. At least here in the US of A.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (1)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614379)

Hey call your shots before linking to a damn PDF.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (5, Insightful)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614033)

As far as I understand in USA, a mall is private property, so the owners can informally prohibit picture taking inside the mall but cannot if you're taking pictures from a public place adjacent to the mall. Had you refused the guard and ignored his request for you to leave, you'd be trespassing and he could detain you for trespass, but not photography. There is no law saying you cannot shoot photos inside a public building, but they can certainly ask you to leave if they don't like it. I don't believe he can confiscate your camera. That would be theft and threats of such is typical of badge bullies who twist the law hoping to invoke fear in you.

There are two types of law. The law on the books. And, whatever the guy with the gun says is the law. The security guy follows the latter so even though he may be violating your rights, it's best to comply and sue later.

http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614353)

There are two types of law. The law on the books. And, whatever the guy with the gun says is the law. The security guy follows the latter so even though he may be violating your rights, it's best to comply and sue later.

Seldom do mall or store security guards carry guns. If you are assaulted by one who attempts to commit theft, defend yourself, then press criminal charges and sue. (Quick self-defense tip: the repeated and vigorous application of the heels of the palms to the noses and chins of thieves has proven of value in the past.)

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (1)

m3j00 (606453) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614125)

Their property, their rules. Don't like it, leave.

Re:Freedom to take pictures in public spaces (3, Funny)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614469)

Man, the same thing happened to me the other day.

I was on a public beach in South Florida, just looking around after attending a showing of "Pineapple Express" at Aventura Mall. I saw a girl that I knew I would love to have a picture of and took a picture of her with my Canon 40D DSLR. Her boyfriend came over and told me to bugger off. At first I thought he was wrong, but decided to challenge him since I'd already taken the picture and I didn't want to get my ass kicked. So I ran away with my Boots of Escaping. Later that day I checked my computer and found other pictures so it didn't matter.

(I kid, I kid)

America's really getting stupid (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613767)

Is this all fallout from 9/11? If so, did OBL ever think in his wildest dreams he'd be able to fuck us up this seriously?

Re:America's really getting stupid (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24613831)

Who is OBL?

Re:America's really getting stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24613857)

Osama Bin Laden?

Re:America's really getting stupid (5, Funny)

tgd (2822) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614027)

I think he's running for president?

*waves bye to karma*

Re:America's really getting stupid (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24614067)

"Our Beloved Leader"

Re:America's really getting stupid (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613853)

it took you this long to figure that out ?

that's something I find hard to believe, I probably will be 'wooshed' for this...

Re:America's really getting stupid (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613855)

Yes, that part of it is just US paranoia. The rest of the world just has OMG paranoia if there happen to be any minors nearby.

Re:America's really getting stupid (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24613989)

You should see how batshit insane the US gets where there are minors involved.

My uncle nearly had his daughter taken from him - and himself thrown in jail - because he took pictures during a beach vacation.

Re:America's really getting stupid (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613969)

Pretty soon we'll suddenly find ourselves in court for admiring artifacts and art or stepping onto the premises of a museum or other site.

Re:America's really getting stupid (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614001)

Is this all fallout from 9/11? If so, did OBL ever think in his wildest dreams he'd be able to fuck us up this seriously?

The other screwy thing about all this is that someone with criminal intent is more likely to use a cheap point and shoot. I mean why go out and spend a fortune on an SLR, which is highly noticeable, when there are some small point and shoots which will get the job done. Heck some of them even handle low lighting conditions surprisingly well.

I can remember trying to a picture inside our newly establish library building, in Montreal, and was told not to take photos. I just get the feeling that security guards are highly paranoid about this sort of thing and don't want be the ones to get the blame if it does lead to something. I would be curious to know if anyone has put a list together citing laws in different countries/locations on what rules are really in place.

Re:America's really getting stupid (4, Funny)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614087)

I mean why go out and spend a fortune on an SLR,

If you're a criminal in the first place, there are other ways to get an SLR than spending a fortune.

Re:America's really getting stupid (2, Informative)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614055)

No, it is not fall out from 9/11. This has been the case for years and years. I was working for a video company back in the 80's. We had kiosks on food stores. I went in to take pictures of our kiosk and spent a rather fun 30 minutes placating some really freaked out managers.

Re:America's really getting stupid (5, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614305)

As has been observed, "terrorism" and "pedophilia" are the root passwords to the Constitution.

If having a good camera makes you a terrorist... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24613789)

Then only terrorists will have nice photos.

Next up on the banned tech list? (2, Insightful)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613793)

The evil telephoto lens. . . .

Re:Next up on the banned tech list? (3, Insightful)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613817)

No problem. All you need is a standard lens, a really high resolution scanning back, and the crop tool.

Re:Next up on the banned tech list? (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613837)

I should also have added a few teleconverters to the list

like they can't get the info (5, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613801)

I was stopped on Christmas Holiday day in Chicago's downtown Ogilvie Transportation Center, the terminal where half the commuter trains come and go. I was firmly admonished to cease and desist taking pictures of my girlfriend in fromt of a Christmas Display in front of one of the stored at the center. I joked that the camera had no film (get it, digital, ha-ha), but the security officer was not amused and said he would have to take my camera and arrest me if I took any more pictures. WTH?

I understand security is an issue, and scary stuff has happened, but stopping people from enjoying their holidays this way doesn't improve or increase our security a whit. Nada, Zip! If someone wants the information about what a building looks like, it's certainly easy to do on the covert. But, it's probably not even necessary, as blueprints and photos exist on the internet for any target one might find interesting.

This, in some oblique way is a victory for terrorists, they've cowed us into being such pussies that we no longer can live day to day and enjoy things freely as we should be able. Annoying. Frustrating. Embarrassing.

Re:like they can't get the info (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613905)

But, it's probably not even necessary, as blueprints and photos exist on the internet for any target one might find interesting.

And there are ways to build 3D models [slashdot.org] you can walk through from those publicly available pictures.

Re:like they can't get the info (1)

TooTechy (191509) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613945)

I hit the same wall in Oakbrook Mall in the spring. I was taking a picture of the fountain through the mist being sprayed in the breeze. The security guard, very politely, asked me to desist for security purposes. WTF?

Re:like they can't get the info (5, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614277)

I hit the same wall in Oakbrook Mall in the spring. I was taking a picture of the fountain through the mist being sprayed in the breeze. The security guard, very politely, asked me to desist for security purposes. WTF?

Do you not realize what could happen if control of that fountain fell into the wrong hands?

Re:like they can't get the info (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613963)

Grow a spin. When Mr Security says "I'll take your camera" you say "just fucking try" and if they don't go off to get their superior then you call your lawyer. And that's the problem with authority, people are not willing to stand up to it so people overstepping their position become the norm and then the norm becomes unspeakable and then the unspeakable becomes unquestionable. So take your pictures and when they ask you to stop, say no.

Re:like they can't get the info (3, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614283)

"...then you call your lawyer."

Because everyone has a lawyer on retainer for just such a situation...

Re:like they can't get the info (-1, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614431)

Everyone over 30 has a family lawyer.. otherwise you're just a smuck.

Re:like they can't get the info (5, Interesting)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614297)

So take your pictures and when they ask you to stop, say no.

The problem is most people don't know what their rights are in such a situation and instead cease and desist, just to be safe. If in doubt I suppose you could ask the security guard why you should stop taking photos, but that is probably asking too much. In reality we need to find out what our rights are and use them to educate those who would make out lives difficult.

Maybe what we need is to organise a spontaneous crowd of photographers going from building to building taking photos. Such an event would certainly get noticed and maybe draw attention to the rights of photographers.

Call your lawyer??? (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614423)

No, call the police. When they take your camera, it is theft, or grand theft depending on the camera.

Re:like they can't get the info (1, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614089)

taking pictures of my girlfriend in

Must be a fake post. A slashdotter has a girlfriend?

Re:like they can't get the info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24614147)

Must be a fake post. A slashdotter has a girlfriend?

She's probably a female slashdotter, and lesbian.

Re:like they can't get the info (5, Interesting)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614155)

This is not victory for "terrorists" what are called as terrorists.

This is just a victory for real terrorist what is always the people who is leading the country and who are protecting their power by making these anti-terrorist bills. Those just gives them more power to do what ever they want and no one can stop them.

It is not about bombing, suicide bombigs or car bombs, those are not reasons or as usually, not even true who is doing them. It is always about the power and who is in control of country, it's like london metro bombings, it just "happend" to happend same time when there was going police trainings, on same stations, on same time and with exactly same scenarios.

Now the normal people is suffering of the terrorism, what the goverment is doing for people. It is the real terrorism and they use that to control us.

We cant take photos on holidays from our girl/boyfriends because you can be a terrorist, at least you are threat to national security.

We cant take photos of our childs to our family albums because it is tought you are taking them for childporn.

We cant speak freely and express our opinions of our goverments because it is same as supporting terrorism.

Soon you cant do anything in your own country if your leaders dont like it, they can just throw you to jail with anykind anti-terrorism bill.

Re:like they can't get the info (3, Interesting)

gsslay (807818) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614165)

If something is publicly visible, and yet sensitive enough to have people worried about it being photographed, I'd suggest that who ever owns it either starts hiding it from sight, changes what makes it so sensitive, or simply gets used to the idea.

We are not far from the time where it will be technologically possible to take as many photographs you wish, of whatever you can see, at what ever resolution you wish. And Mr Security drone will be none the wiser or be able to stop you.

Authorities need to face up to the fact that soon it will be a case if you can see it; you can film it. And they'll never know.

Re:like they can't get the info (5, Insightful)

Skagit (910458) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614433)

But, it's probably not even necessary, as blueprints and photos exist on the internet for any target one might find interesting.

You are absolutely correct.

Our project manager was doing a site visit to the George Washington Bridge in New York City. The Port Authority people told him he couldn't take any pictures of the bridge, for security reasons. Never mind that dozens of highway contractors, painting contractors, steel contractors, scaffold contractors and scads of engineering firms, architectural firms, government agencies of all forms and engineering schools have structural drawings in whole or part. Never mind one MILLION hits on Google images. Never mind the Historic American Buildings Survey in the Library of Congress http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/habs_haer/index.html [loc.gov] has wonderful high-definition scans of large and medium format film photos. This one is my favorite. You can check the rivet patterns: http://memory.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/ny/ny1200/ny1264/photos/119063pv.jpg [loc.gov]

It has nothing to do with security. It has everything to do with control. Problem is, when I point out the idiocy of the situation, the contradictory rules and the artificial restrictions this security places on good practice, they tell my boss I'm harassing the (Port Authority|ConEd|MTA) employees. I feel it is my duty as a professional engineer to point out the incredibly poor results (both in construction and in intention) of these rules that a layman may not be able or interested to do. It doesn't help that the (PA|CE|MTA) usually guys start with a nasty attytood, no construction background and no project preparation.

Amusing (-1, Troll)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613847)

This type of thing is relatively amusing to me.

1. How dare they stop us from taking photographs of public places! Censorship!
2. How dare they take pictures of us in public places! Privacy, Police State!

Choose one.

Re:Amusing (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613921)

1. How dare [private citizens] stop [private citizens] from taking photographs of public places [without any interest in the private citizens that happen incidentally to be in the shot]! Censorship!
2. How dare [the State] take pictures of [private citizens] in public places [for the express purpose of recording and monitoring the acts of those citizens]! Privacy, Police State!

There, fixed that for you. If we're going to debate (I know we're not, but...) let's at least get our terms of reference straight from the start.

Re:Amusing (2, Informative)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613971)

Choose one.

No.

You sound like a textbook on logic explaining what a false dichotomy is; there's a big difference between the government monitoring citizens without their consent and people taking personal photos in public places, and there's most definitely a lot of gray area between them.

Re:Amusing (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24613977)

Believe it or not, this is not hypocracy. We limit the powers and abilities of the government in the Constitution of the United States. This is something that apprarently you and many others have forgotten. As a private citizen, I can tell people what they can and cannot publish on my press, I can tell people on my property that they are not allowed to have handguns in my home, I can take and endorse an official "household religion", and I can deny people the right to peacibly assembly on my front lawn.

The government cannot do any of the above.

Re:Amusing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24614197)

^well said^ IMO.
I new I shouldn't have wasted that mod point.

Re:Amusing (1, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614081)

Who modded this troll? Wake the fuck up alright?

There's a whole bunch of kicking and screaming going on over Google Street Map right now because they dare actually do the work and make an actual product that has scared a few people into realizing that maybe the idea of "public space" wasn't exactly what they thought it was. "When you're in public you can be photographed in public, get over it" is my opinion but some have the idea that Google has shown that the law of "you can photograph anything that is 'in public'" is flawed and , in-fact, there's an expectation of privacy that goes beyond the 4th amendment (in the US) and reeks of something we can only call "cultural values".. and Google threatens to erode those values.. Boo Hoo.

So no, this isn't a freakin' troll, it's a pertinent point on the current battle that is going on between those who want more freedom or those who want more privacy or those who just want to be able to find the restaurant they're looking for in the 20 minutes they've got to arrange their trip.
   

Inside, outside, different places (4, Informative)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613883)

(The following text applies, I believe, in the USA, Australia, the UK and maybe other places, check with your local lawyer, I'm not one.)

Unfortunately, inside privately owned buildings they (being the owners, managers or agents) can prevent you from taking photos (or, ask you to leave). (If they ask you to delete your photos, you tell them to fuck off, or just pretend to. But if it looks like someone is going to beat the shit out of you... maybe safer just to delete the photos.)

However, outside, on public property, they can't do shit, and you tell them that.

Most of the time, you just need a smaller camera. It won't take as nice photos (perhaps), but it is much less obvious, and beats not being able to take photos at all.

By the way, the often used "security threat" or "terrorism" bullshit, is just bullshit. If a terrorist wants to take a photo, they don't need a big obvious camera, they just use a small one. More to the point though, tourists (terrorists?) take photos of public buildings everyday, unless you are willing to fuck with your tourist revenue...

For comments around public photography and laws around photography in the UK:
http://www.sirimo.co.uk/ukpr.php [sirimo.co.uk]
http://www.chapterthirteen.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=64&Itemid=56 [chapterthirteen.com]
For the USA:
http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm [krages.com]
http://www.photosecrets.com/law.html [photosecrets.com]
Lots of links for different countries:
http://www.photolawnews.com/ [photolawnews.com]
There are also guides for Australia I believe, and other countries.

Freedom of panorama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24613965)

Another issue is that the US does not have freedom of panorama, meaning if you catch any copyrighted work in your photo, your photo is considered a copyright violation if you publish it without permission. They probably take issue with professional photographers taking high res, sweeping photos of their facilities and then possibly making money from them.

Re:Freedom of panorama (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614049)

meaning if you catch any copyrighted work in your photo,

1. Copyright sky.

2. Profit !!!!

(Note the complete lack of "???")

The Photographer's Right (4, Informative)

Fez (468752) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613891)

I need to stuff a copy of The Photographer's Right [krages.com] in my camera bag in case something like this ever happens...

Re:The Photographer's Right (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24614149)

http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=647075&cid=24613883 [slashdot.org]

(Mods are a bunch of pussy sucking perverts. Girls have cooties and you know it. Stick to dicks, they taste better anyway. Plus, if all the boys stick to boys, then there'll be more girls for the girls. Which I'm in favour of.)

Re:The Photographer's Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24614425)

Shut the fuck up you braindead moronic piece of shit. If I wanted your opinion I would come around and beat it out of you.

Have you ever actually sucked a pussy? Nah, of course not, well I tell you, they are good! Better then eating cock that's for sure.

So yeah, don't talk or I *will* burn down your house with you in it.

Re:The Photographer's Right (1)

Kostya (1146) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614339)

Great link (I downloaded it myself). But it doesn't help you at all with malls:

In any case, when a property
owner tells you not to take photographs
while on the premises, you are
legally obligated to honor the request.

Which covers malls. Actually "Reverend" Billy's What Would Jesus Buy [wwjbmovie.com] covers this problem (whether it is balanced or not, I leave to the reader). In a society where all public gathering places are private property, how do we still have the right to free assembly? The answer: we don't—at least not on mall premises. Not even in the parking lot.

The problem is also arising that "public places" in America are increasingly commercialized or managed by commercial entities. Can you assemble in a public transit station? Can you take pictures? I'd bet the answer is at first glance, "no," as some private entity can argue that you are on their property and subject to their whims.

Sure, you should have the right to control what is done on your private property. But when the line between your property being privately owned and being used by the public as a "commons" is blurred, I wish the US would start erring on the side of public rights.

Re:The Photographer's Right (1)

chaim79 (898507) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614407)

While that would work for many situations, when on private property (which a hotel or mall is considered) you have to abide by their request for not photographing anything. In either case they do not have the right to confiscate your film/camera but they can ask you not to take photographs or ask you to leave.

(see the end of "The General Rule" paragraph, and the section titled "They have no right to confiscate your film" in the link you provided)

Thanks, by the way, for that link, I'll have to print out a copy to keep on hand JIC.

There goes my plans (4, Insightful)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#24613943)

represents a 'security threat.'... he was told he couldn't even photograph the lobby of a Hyatt Hotel."

Goddamnit, that totally fucks up my plans. Without those pictures, how the hell am I supposed to draft my plan to bomb the Hyatt Hotel? Knowing what the lobby looked like from one fixed angle based off photos from some random dude was totally vital to my ability to plant the bomb properly. Now how in the world could I possibly ever get hold of such pictures? [google.ca]

Photographer's Right (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24613957)

Someone has taken the time to compile the rights of a photographer in various places. There's a pamphlet size pdf file you can get from http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm

You dont need dSLR (5, Interesting)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614017)

I'm professional photographer and it is more dificult actually take photographs on public places when you are using dSLR camera, because normal humans believe that photos goes right away to news papers etc.

But these days you can buy compact cameras what are actually better than dSLR on normal use, like camera what shutter speed is 40'000/1 and you can take 60 FPS on 6Mpix. Or you can have camera what has 28-420mm (35mm) objective with 10-12Mpix.

You dont get dSLR inside to music concert if you dont have press card, because guards takes your camera away because you cant take photos without permission of the show. But they dont stop you taking inside these ultra-compact cameras what has bigger zoom on them, what would mean that you need to carry a huge zoom lens if using dSLR.

This is now actually gone too far away, it is harder to take even document photos on streets without someone coming to yell to you that they dont like to be in photos. And it was hard enough ten years ago to tell some people that I dont need to remove photos if I take them on public places and they are not in embarrassed situation. Now it is almost impossible to tell someone that I HAVE rights to take photos on public place, and I can remove them if I want to please them, but if they come to yell to me, I'm bretty sure that I do opposite thing and I dont remove them.

I never shoot people in embarrassed situation, but when people just sees the dSLR, reaction for it is more like someone would say "We must support communistic party" in U.S on the 4th july.
But I can take photos easily without problems when using pocket or compact camera what has bigger zoom and more megapixels than my dSRL.

Selective enforcement? (1)

Maudib (223520) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614023)

Google can drive up a private driveway and take a picture, but the public can't photograph inside a public museum? If google is going to go about playing big brother, the least they could do is work on establishing precedent for the rest of us.

Private vs. Public (1)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614061)

I agree about the stupidity and unreasonableness of not allowing photographs for some vague security concern or not allowing photos to be shot out in the street but on the other hand what people find comfortable or uncomfortable often has little to do with the ultimate effect. People have preferences for totally random reasons and these include not wanting to have perfectly harmless spiders in their rooms to feeling uncomfortable being photographed or by extension in the presence of visible photographic equipment (automated recordings for security are parsed differently).

If people don't like big cameras in the lobby of their hotel since it makes them feel uncomfortable then the hotel should ban such cameras just like it eliminates spiders from the rooms. The hotel's job is to make it's guests feel comfortable and since it's a private establishment it's totally reasonable for them to ask you not to take pictures in the lobby. Of course you would probably rather stay at a hotel with a different policy but that's what's great about choice.

In short people who feel uncomfortable being photographed should be allowed to have hotels that cater to their preferences.

This reminds me of the former Soviet Union (5, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614099)

When I took the trans-Siberian in the 1970's, there was a long list of things (airports, train stations, bridges) that you weren't supposed to take pictures of. This was enforced (if spottily), too. I heard of people being arrested for photographing a bridge.

At the time, this was viewed (in the West) as evidence of the paranoia of a dictatorship and a closed society. Now, I guess it is a sign that the Soviet Union was in the vanguard of the development of civilization after all. Who knew ?

Re:This reminds me of the former Soviet Union (5, Insightful)

base3 (539820) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614227)

Yup, lots of things they told us about the U.S.S.R. as evidence of their totalitarian lack of freedom seem to be common place here in the U.S.A.: de facto internal passports for air and rail travel, obligation to produce papers on demand, cultivation of informants, mass surveillance, and (as you pointed out) restrictions on photography.

Rent-a-cop factor (1)

Nexus7 (2919) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614101)

I think one big factor in all this is the increased use of privatized "security" services. At the micro-level, these guards don't have the security of a good job, police training, police force and cultural backing, and good educational background. I'm not saying all cops are great (consider the Dem convention in Chicago), but for a given person, their mental state is better suited to making judgements, and better informed. At the macro-level, this is getting a little into conspiracy status, but it is in the interests of the security companies to foster an environment of unquestioning acceptance of authority, even if the reason to be asked to do something is not apparent. In the case of the police, they are ultimately accountable (to whatever extent the people choose to call them on it); but these companies have to rely on an atmosphere of acceptance.

Photographers Face Ejection Over Lenses... (-1, Flamebait)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614123)

...especially when taking a lot of pornographic close-up shots.

no photography policy (4, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614131)

The museum had a policy of no photographs. This is hardly uncommon: not only do many people find it annoying to stumble over photographers and deal with flashes while they're trying to look at art, but repeated exposure to light flashes can damage art.

Hawk was well aware of the policy. He choose to violate it, claiming to be some sort of "renegade photographer" whose rights to photograph are more important than those of others to enjoy the venue in peace, and more important than the

This is not a censorship issue. This is a guy being an ass in a museum and getting ejected.

There have been legitimate issues of people being unfairly or illegally harassed for taking photographs in public places. This isn't one of them.

Re:no photography policy (1)

darkstar949 (697933) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614481)

The only problem with this is that they tend to be spottily enforced - I was walking around a museum one time with my camera bag and a couple security guards made sure to remind me not to take pictures (this museum had a spotty "You can take pictures here, but not here" with exhibit areas you could take pictures of clearly marked) but a young woman walking around with a basic point and shot with the flash on didn't get bothered in the no picture areas.

I had to deal with some of this crap in the past (4, Insightful)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614167)

In Nigeria. The company I worked for used to hire a lot of fresh-out-of-school interns with no experience and train them up so they could then get better jobs outside (it was part of our CSR to do skills development). Sort of like an internship, but they earned a salary. While I was on a project there, one of the 'youngsters' as we called them was asked to come join me on the project to learn. He had never been on a plane before, or out of South Africa. So of course he took LOTS of pictures, including of the airport in Lagos - since these things were all new to him.

Next thing he knew, he gets arrested by airport police - his pictures of airplanes apparently constituted industrial espionage !

Now how you can be guilty of industrial espionage against a country for taking pictures of technology NOT DEVELOPED IN THAT COUNTRY, and on the market to the whole world for 30 years (try finding a plane younger than that in Nigeria) I don't know, but that was their excuse.
I got one of my local contacts to go bail him out, a bit of money changed hands (this WAS Nigeria after all) and he was released with the charges dropped.

I just never expected that the idiocies of corrupt guards (whether they are private security acting for corporate overlords or cops acting for the state is really rather irrelevant) being able to intimidate people out of basic rights (taking a picture is a form of art, that's expression = free speech) happening in the so-called DEVELOPED world. You EXPECT that kind of bullshit to happen in Nigeria, you don't expect it in the USA.
Mind you, these days that's not so true anymore, recent history has made me believe that the US's love affair with civil liberties is pure lip service.

Re:I had to deal with some of this crap in the pas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24614299)

In Nigeria.

Say no more!

Nothing to see here (2, Interesting)

pridkett (2666) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614199)

From my quick analysis beyond the article, it seems like there really isn't much to see here other than Thomas Hawk raising a stink about being kicked out of the museum. This has received fairly good coverage on sfist.com.

In particular, in the first story [sfist.com] you'll see a comment from another visitor who witnessed the event [sfist.com] which points out that he was acting like a possible perv:

I was at the museum on Friday and saw this whole thing go down. Thomas Hawk's account of what happened is unabashedly one-sided. What he neglects to mention is that he was standing on a balcony with his camera pointed down, aiming directly into the shirt/cleavage of one of the female employees working at the museum. Simon Blint asked Thomas Hawk to stop taking photos in order to protect his staff from a creepy perv, not because he was using a dSLR or for whatever BS reason Thomas Hawk claims.

Of course, Mr. Hawk isn't just stopping with raising a minor internet stink, he's trying to get Simon Blint fired [sfist.com] .

I'm sorry folks, but if you think this is censorship, you're 100% wrong. This isn't censorship, this isn't about 9/11, this isn't about terrorism. It's about people doing malsocial actions that make the other visitors and staff of a museum feel uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable because of false terrorism threats, but uncomfortable because he's being kinda creepy.

Heh (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614205)

Looks like a great opportunity to sell those itty-bitty "spy" cameras. If that's what they want, that's what they'll get.

Liquid lenses will make most cameras compact (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614207)

In 15 years, all but the most expensive cameras will be smaller than your father's SLR with a 50mm lens.

Cell phone or other other small cameras will have the equivalent of 20-1000mm or better zoom with resolution at least as good as 35mm film. Cameras in jewelry and clothing won't be uncommon. People with poor eyesight and high-end security personnel will use cameras with cranial implants or direct-to-eyeball displays to augment or replace their eyes.

In 2023, will the only way to carry a camera into a building be to present a doctor's prescription that it's a medical necessity?

I for one do not welcome our future, er, I mean present-day camera-banning overlords.

Funny. . . . . (1)

buellisti (876927) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614261)

and I thought terrorists and pervs used cellphones. But, the two real reasons that museums don't permit cameras are: 1. Museums use images of exhibits for raising funds to finance the operation of the museum. 2. Flash photography damages the exhibits by exposing exhibits to excessive UV light.

Re:Funny. . . . . (2, Insightful)

Arimus (198136) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614475)

And if I use a nice fast (say f2.8) lens or a stabilized lens (such as the Cannon IS or Nikon VR ranges) I don't need to use flash ergo less damage than someone using a small compact camera.

If museums didn't get shirty with people using monopods as well as 'good' lenses then there would be even less need for flash.

 

It's odd going around with a SLR (3, Interesting)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614361)

I own a Canon EOS 5D and a few lenses, one of them is a fairly large 70-200mm f2.8L. I usually bring it to outdoor events that my younger family members might be in (sports, graduation, anything where I'll be far from what I'm trying to shoot) and I always feel like people think I'm a creep. They see the huge camera and think "I hope he's not taking pictures of MY kid!"

I think people have an idea from movies that the bad guys always have some huge fancy cameras and they need to take dozens of photos before they can do their evil deeds. I don't think they realize there already exist hundreds of photos of any potential targets online, and someone would be better off with a small concealable camera, or even a hidden video camera recording the area as you go around.

There's so much paranoia about cameras, and this isn't just because of 9/11. It's been illegal to photograph the Verrazano bridge from on the bridge or at the toll booths for years before 9/11. I've almost had a camera confiscated taking a photo at the toll booth of a man on a motorcycle waving his ezpass around trying to get it to read.

Go RTFA (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614413)

It's an interesting piece. The photographer in question is within his right to take the photographs he takes. He's also not very bright and a jerk. He's a very untalented photographer looking for attention by giving himself a brand ("illegal, underground photographer" as he repeats several times). Of course, the photographs he takes could be taken by anyone with no incident - he just likes to fight with people to get a response, and then make some bloggy headlines from it.

This resonates well with the college-aged blogger crowd that is inclined to feel outraged at authority for fun. For reference, I'm quite concerned with many of the real issues murkily reflected in this story, but as a grown up, I'm concerned with them in a grown up fashion. When I take photographs with my professional camera in places where that's not allowed, I take what I need or want to take, then move on. I don't yell in the faces of the guards and try to provoke a response. While that works for this photographer in terms of getting a response worthy of blog attention (which isn't very impressive if you ask me), it is rather ineffective at letting him take his photographs.

these guys are wimps (1)

linuxpng (314861) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614461)

if you want real trouble, put a view camera on a tripod in front of a bridge. At least security guards know what a dSLR is.

link [samreevesphoto.com] for those who have no idea what it is either.

Pyschology of being photographed (5, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#24614467)

I think there's something that's missed in all these discussions of photographers' rights: Why *do* people feel threatened by photography?

It seems that just about everyone feels anxious about being photographed by strangers: police, security guards, but even (most?) regular people.

Why? Is it a fear that somehow the photos can be used to cause actual harm? Is it the fear that a stranger photographing you can only be up to no good, even if you're not sure if/how he'd use the photos to harm you? Is it the fear that with so many laws on the books, just about anything you're doing is illegal, and photos can be used to help convict you?

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