Government claims to uphold the right of good upstanding Englishmen with cameras to snap whenever and wherever they please took a knock last week, with the publication of a letter from the Home Office setting out when these rights might be curtailed. Vernon Coaker, the Minister for Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing …
Same old, same old...
Rights? What do you mean rights?
No, you have permissions we grant you and can take away whenever we, your ruling elite, feel like it.
I'm feeling more and more like a serf every day. Pump up the tax a bit more and I'm basically indentured labour anyway.
Oen law for us....
"...photographers accompanying demonstrations go out of their way to ‘wind up’ individual police offices by aggressive use of their cameras....."
However it is fine for the Police to photograph and store images of protesters, even when not commiting any offence....
which surely leads to the risk of escalating and problems.....ooops forgot...One law etc etc
You only have rights until they're inconvenient to those in power.
Just ask the Jews in Nazi Germany, or the Japanese in WW2 America, or them folks in Gitmo bay, where were their rights when they needed them? Yoink, nowhere - coz you ain't really got any rights. You got the right to shut the hell up and do what the biggest number of guys with the most number of guns god damn well tells you to do.
Why Be Charitable?
This is a Zanu Labour drone we're talking about here, of course there is an ulterior motive!
aggressive use of their cameras???
I can think of a few agressive uses of a camera, but none that actually involve taking photos. How is it possible to intimidate a poilice officer by taking photo's of them
This should be so simple, allow photo's to be taken, but put the restrictions on commerical publication like the rest of the civilised world. If you want an exemption, such as paparazzi, to sell/publish a picture without the persons permission then you have to apply for some sort of permit or licence.
@ Captain Jamie
"Zanu Labour drone"
Re: aggressive use of their cameras???
It basically means taking the tactics that they (Forward Intelligence Teams) use against you and turning them round on the police. Namely following people around and filming/photographing them continuously, noting down any names or distinguishing features and then handing out spotter cards at the next demo.
>Aggressive use of their cameras?
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
The only protection we have against totalitarianism is the ability to hold up the police and other governmental organisations to scrutiny by the masses. We need to know when they're being brutal, over bearing or oppressive. We need to know when they are on the take, covering up or framing people. We need to know when they are incompetant, selfish, or even just being a little bit human and making mistakes. It doesn't matter what it is, the police need to be watched.
The right to monitor the police in the execution of their duties, under any circumstances, should be high on the list of fundamental human rights.
Simply put, the police need to be watched, and should never have any right to stop us watching them.
"some photographers accompanying demonstrations go out of their way to ‘wind up’ individual police offices by aggressive use of their cameras."
At a demo against the planned wholesale surveillance law (!) in Munich, Germany, a FOAF was asked if he would like to be arrested after taking photos (http://wiki.vorratsdatenspeicherung.de/Demonstration_in_M%C3%BCnchen_am_20._Oktober_2006 - the link has the wrong year, it was 2008) of the plain-clothes cops eyeballing the protesters from the sidelines. No sense of irony.
What about spaces that are not public?
A couple of weeks ago I was challenged by a security guard for taking photos of a large plastic hippo sculpture in a retail park. The flouro jacketed killjoy muttered something about Mumbai.
This was apparently private land, but does it qualify as a public space?
little bit of your 'freedom' taken away by the NuLabouria Stazi.
RE: Re: aggressive use of their cameras???
Please go ahead, you'll get in no end of trouble, but then I suspect you're the kind of waster with plenty of time on your hands. Believe me, the Police have more than enough serious crime to deal with wihtout morons like you, do you think the coppers actually want to be out on demos arresting well-meaning-but-incureably-stupid people like you? They have much better ways to spend their time, namely investigating and preventing crimes that affect the public, rather than wasting time on you and whatever pet griveance you and your trendy mates have decided to support this week. If you want to make a real difference why don't you volunteer to be a Special Constable and seeing what it is like, but then I doubt you'd have the mental capabilities to get in.
From the article you cite:
The sheriff said: "I'm going to impose a fine to remind him chivalry is not dead and when somebody is in distress you leave them to it."
So chivalry is defined as _not_ kicking people in the head when they're down. Just let them die in peace.
Also, ""The lady concerned was entitled to her privacy and not to have a passing stranger take a photograph," said the sheriff. ". Maybe she shouldn't have puked her partially digested beer on his feet then.
All in all, this letter confirms that police officers (and probably any rent-a-cop) can prevent you from taking pics for no actual reason other than you looking a bit funny. They apparently still can't legally steal you camera and/or destroy your pics though.
"This may be on the grounds of national.....
....security or .there may be situations in which the taking of photographs may cause or lead to public order situations or inflame an already tense situation or raise security considerations."
Or when photos show evidence of police brutality or the shooting of innocent un-armed civilians.
It's probably wise...
It's probably wise for governments (and those otherwise hopelessly outnumbered) to note what happens when many people believe that the police do not act in their interest (as in Greece).
the gals are not well...
As far as I was told, it is pretty hard NOT to take a picture of drinks moving in the wrong direction when pressing the trigger in public Edinburgh after sunset. On the other hand, it is not nice to upset a damsel in distress this way, not at all. Being arrested for said activity is way over the top nonetheless.
Oh, and the rest... what rights DO out British comrades have then, other than to comply with whatever they are being told when the issue arises? It's all a wee bit wishi washi if you ask me.
so who's going to tell the tourists?
Can you imagine what would happen if guides like Fodor's started putting warnings in their books along the lines of "remember, if you take photographs in London, you could be arrested for any one of a number of offences" and then a gentle reminder that the police can detain anyone for up to 28 days without the need to charge them.
Apart from being a stark warning to the millions of visitors to the UK, it would be an extreme, if well deserved, embarrassment to the govt and would have everyone in the tourism trade screaming. Given the mangnanamous and caring image that the govt will be promoting for the olympics, something like this would act as a reality check of the worst kind, for every foreigner who was planning to come over for that event.
The other side.
Got to say though, that if my girlfriend was drunk and throwing up in the street, I wouldn't want some random bloke coming up and filming her with a camera. And for those who are thinking "my girlfriend would never get drunk and throw up in the street", it doesn't really matter. Even if she's absolutely fine and just sitting in the park, would it not bother her if some random bloke comes up and starts videoing her? Isn't it quite possible that the police were right to stop that person from filming the poor girl?
Paris, because sometimes you choose to have personal things recorded and sometimes you don't. The operative word is choice.
If the police have done nothing wrong.....
They have nothing to be afraid of.
If the police have the power to determine when and where photos can be taken, it's an absolute certainty they will abuse the privilege when it suits them. Maybe they should be required to issue photographers with an official notification so the reasons can be recorded and reviewed later.
As for the "lady" in Edinburgh, if she doesn't mind spewing on the footpath why should she worry about recording the event for posterity. She should post the photo on her Facebook as a reminder of a great night out.
Little green helper, wiping the vomit off the 'lady's" coat.
If you do not wish to be caught on camera or video, you should go to the privacy of your own home, where there are laws protecting you from being filmed without your permission. If you are a sat in a public place you should expect to be filmed or photographed, because people with imaging devices have a right to use them, and you waive the right to privacy by going somewhere public.
If you don't want people to see you vomit, don't do it in the middle of the street.
I was taking photos at an underpass last night (Sidcup bypass actually) just testing long exposures on my new camera. You guessed it. Van pulls up "What you doing?" What the fuck does it look like I am doing? Waiting on a bomb?
I did not say that of course. I stayed polite and gave my details for them to check then went on my way.
Where do paparazzi figure in this?
Paparazzi photograph people in unchivalrous fashion all the time. It's how they work. The angry faces and raised fists of the celebs are sometimes triggered by unprintable abuse directed at them by the paps. Anything that gets the shots is good. I'm not passing judgement on the paps - we have a legal system for that. So how many paps have been through the legal system just for doing business as usual?
I understand why the the Home Office don't want to set anything in stone. I understand why police don't like to be photographed. I understand why the whole police chain of command would like the coppers on the ground to be able to say "stop photographing" as and when they feel necessary, and then have their actions backed retrospectively. I understand why police don't want to be confronted by street lawyers quoting the law at them.
But the police understand, as do we all, why people want to take things that aren't theirs, why people sometimes want to attack, hurt or kill people that have upset them, or indeed, how people can decide to drive themselves home after taking a skinful. They understand, even as they make the arrests. Which is why we set down laws: to stop us from doing things like that, which any of us might find attractive at some point.
Laws are difficult to get right. They are difficult to fine-tune. It is sometimes difficult to prevent them from catching things that they shouldn't touch, even with the best will in the world. Ultimately, they reflect our imperfect state of being (as described above), and that is the only reason for tolerating their existence.
So we have to make do with what we have - a law making body full of expert (*please* don't make me a liar here) legal officers who are supposed to come up with these precise definitions of what we should and shouldn't do. So, sirs, we'd like a precise definition of what we are allowed to do with our cameras in public places. This is what you're paid to do, by us. It's not as if we're suggesting that you go and arrest someone other than us - a "real criminal" - as the boys in blue are so often directed. Thanks. Any time in the next three months will do.
To really appreciate how incredibly odd this all is, you have to take a step back to a time when "terror" wasn't the Alpha and Omega it is now and people were yet to rumble NuLab's plans for pointlessly oppressive government.
I mean really; the police now seem to be perpetually obsessed with control of anything that their thick little brains deems to be off-colour, and the more anyone objects to their scrutiny or intervention the more our utterly brainless coppers seem to feel their suspicion is justified - rather a mirror of their National Socialist overlords like Sturmführer Coaker.
How the fuck can taking a picture in circumstances not otherwise obviously suspicious really, really be such a threat to this supposedly free country? My respect for police has never been great, but these days it is non-existent.
I never expected the famous "First they came for the Jews..." to require extending to cover various trades and leisure activitiies. What next? "Then they came for the flower arrangers but...".
The more things change......
"Rights are invariably abridged, as despotism increases".
Tacitus, attributed to Tiberius
Annals book III chapter 69
Perhaps you should be asking who in the police force is determining that resources are well spnt harassing photographers, rather than bitching about someone who is acting within the law 'wasting police time'.
You're a Neues Arbeit stooge, aren't you?
"The latter issue has arisen, as police claim that some photographers accompanying demonstrations go out of their way to ‘wind up’ individual police offices by aggressive use of their cameras."
Aggressive use of their cameras? what? taking lots of pictures of said plod? WTF i thought the police were supposed to be 'trained' to deal with awkward situations and not let it get to them, unless they fell out the ugly tree and hit every branch on that way down and so therefore die inside a little when someone takes a picture of them
what a bunch of spinless, soft skinned fairy boys! FFS they are the police!! get some balls and brush it off you aunts.
"As for the "lady" in Edinburgh, if she doesn't mind spewing on the footpath why should she worry about recording the event for posterity."
To be fair, I remember a story from either this past year or last year in which some yobs had used their cameraphones to video a lady who was dying of a seizure; they thought she was drunk and that she would make good YouTube material. (googles)
Ah, it was more extreme than that - the (singular) bloke peed on her:
As I understand it there would have been no grounds for prosecution if he had simply filmed her dying, which seems reasonable although very heartless.
I like ...
I like the fact the "sick" woman's privacy was respected byt he Court. I don' t like the way it was done though. Some sort of law to enforce the right to privacy of the average citizen might be in order.
As for those who criticise this government for threatening our freedom I have to strongly disagree. I welcome the smack of good firm govenment from our beloved leader who I would never ever, publicly criticise (you never know who's listening - or reading).
RE: the ill Scottish lady
Nice to know that in Scotland taking a photo of a person in a public place is unlawful, yet it appears that being drunk and dizzy is par for the course, or even something to be applauded.
Did they also fine the myriad of CCTV camera owners / operators that also may have caught the distressed young lady in her hour of vulnerability?
As for anyone not wanting their girlfriend photographed whilst drunk / ill / out and about / whatever I am afraid that it is none of your business, it is solely the lady's choice and to get upset otherwise is sexist misogynism of a really bad kind. Do you also tell her what to wear and which friends she is allowed to have?
To anyone that might not want themselves to be photographed in such a manner then the answer is simple, either do not go into public places, or act with some decorum when in said place.
......and this just in: the road haulage industry has reported losses of £150 million over the last year due to criminals hijacking lorries on the road network.
Meanwhile, at the Home Office, head honcho Jacqui Smith is pushing ahead with her image suppression campaign and vigorously denying that police resources are being diverted from real crime.
To all Reg readers and commenters, a merry whatever turns you on.
While it is true that i don't dictate to my girlfriend, i am also protective of her. If she was being filmed while being raped, I should just sit back? It was her choice to be raped? F that. I don't dictate at all, but her well being is a responsibility I take very seriously. It may different in your relationships, I do not know, but I, for one, would be appalled and angry had that happened to my girlfriend.
Dictating to my girlfriend?
There's some serious selective reading and distortion going on here. If some bloke likes the look of my girlfriend, walks up and starts filming her from all angles so he can enjoy it later, damn right I will try and stop that. And if I did not doing anything to protect her from that behaviour, I doubt she'd deign to be my girlfriend much longer. "Dictate" - load of bollocks. Stop trying to torture the scenario into something else so that you can pretend it's never wrong to take a photo in a public place. And no, I don't think me telling my girlfriend she shouldn't go out in public would be considered acceptable back up from me by her, either.
There's no greater idiot than the one that chooses to be an idiot. If the argument doesn't support the conclusion you'd like, learn to modify your conclusion. Idiot.
Such an amazing response in defence of the Police can only spring from ignorance, or from carrying a warrant card.
Perhaps you can hold the next poor bas*tard's arms behind his back while our trusty boys in blue execute him.
You sir are clearly in need of help - please engage your brain before posting again.
(Anon - 'cos you scare me).
Not really news....
This has been on the cards for a while. Ever tried taking a photograph of a traffic car sitting on the hard shoulder at an on-ramp? There have been a number of cases where the police have arrested the photographer on the grounds of terrorist activity for doing just this.
There is indeed only 1 set of laws: it just doesn't apply to those state employees tasked with enforcing the law.
"This was apparently private land, but does it qualify as a public space?"
The law is quite clear on this issue. If you are on privately owned land then you should obtain permissions from the land owner to take photographs. They do have the right to stop you.
If the land is public, then you can take photographs, even if you are photographing someone's private house from a public road, the house owner can not stop you.
Photographing a traffic car
If anti terrorism laws are being used to arrest someone for taking a photo of a police car, then I would suggest this constitutes wrongful arrest. It is not illegal to take a photograph of a police car, and there is no way it could be considered a terrorist act or used in terrorist act later. ( A series of photographs of the House of Commons perhaps).
So I'd ask the Police to justify their actions and then submit a formal complaint for wrongful arrest.
@ David Hicks
Well, that's the difference between being a subject and a citizen, now isn't it?
Bad precedents all'round.
Why do the polizia insist that those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear, yet try to stifle attempts to photograph them? We pay their salaries, yes? If they're doing their jobs properly, they should not be afraid to be photographed doing so ... right?
The gent in Edinborough was more or less arrested and fined for being discourteous, not for causing any problems per se. While I don't agree with his decision to photograph the distressed damsel ((a) rude, (b) the chances of his being able to get a release from her in her "ill" state being quite slim), the punishment far far outweighs the purported crime: fine and a record for being an asshat? Creative revenue generation, I'll give them that.
If taking photographs of famous landmarks, public artwork, or other photo- worthy things is going to result in an interrogation (under the guise of "investigating suspected terrorist activity"), tourists may decide to vacation elsewhere.
I would like to draw contributors' attention to the words 'may' and 'might' in the article when referring to the use of this legislation.
There is also, as in most exchanges with the 'Old Bill', an attitude test to pass. If Joe Public passes it he goes about his business unhindered. If he fails then someone will probably spoil his day. Clearly said 'Old Bill' can also fail the test, as is the case in far too many encounters in the capital. 'The Filth' are human too and can have a bad day the same as any geek etc. If you're sat in front of a monitor you can be as big and brave as you like, ranting and raving as you please but a Copper's workplace is a bit different.
Pray tell, Register readers, when are you likely to fall foul of Plod when taking a photo. Shove it in his face and you'll probably regret it but play nicely and you get to walk away.
In todays news...
The man filmed Police doing a search of some kind with his camera phone - the officers then detained him, threatened him with arrest under terrorist laws, forcibly took his camera phone (without his consent), searched it and deleted the footage from his phone.
@In today's news. A.C AT 0100HRS 29/12/08
This 'offence' took place in Austarlia, yes?
Bad enough that the original article was putting English and Scottish law in the same mix and confusing the less intelligent but now Oz law as well.
.... slowly becoming communism.
Let me be the first to welcome our communist overlords!
Don't be fooled.
Just a little word of warning for all those 'NuLab' haters here.
On what evidence do you think that any other government, and by that I mean the Tories as they're the only ones that would get power, would be any less despotic than the current one? The only reason that the current gov are getting all the stick is because the steps they are taking are big ones and they way they are doing it is obvious to anyone with half a brain.
Don't be naive. Every government of whatever persuasion would love to do what Labour are doing. You can be sure that they would just try to do it with less fuss.
It is the nature of the beast and a sign of the times (I'm beginning to sound like a apocalypse conspiracist! :-/ ). As the flow of information through society increases the ability for any government to maintain control of that information (and hence minimise the effect that information has on the citizen) decreases. Ergo the need for greater and more extensive surveillance and control methods.
The addition of a religion (or at least hostile elements of) to serve as a focus for increasing the fear levels and thinly covering the increasingly tight grip of the state on its' people is just a plus.
True freedom has never really existed. True freedom in a society is anarchy and nobody really wants that. However, what little freedom we did have is now being squeezed to death by the imperative that:
'You are a free person able to think and act on your own volition (except where we arbitrarily deem otherwise). We would ask you to sign here to agree to this but your consent has been implied by your existence.'
Black helicopters, what else?
English and Scottish Law
Oh no it wasn't!
Confusing English and Scottish Law, that is. Having endured my baptism of fire at the hands of various stroppy Scottish readers, I do take care to check that legal references distinguish the similar but increasingly divergent legal frameworks North and South of the border. That's important for discussing issues such as obscenity and (extreme) porn.
It is equally important when it comes to issues such as photography and Breach of the Peace. The key point here is that North of the border, B of the P tends to get used very widely by Police as a catch-all for clamping down on behaviour they disapprove of. So widely, in fact, that specific campaigns exist to try to get this approach reformed.
Down South, we also have B of the P as a Common Law offence but historically have tended to restrict its use as other much more targeted laws were brought in to deal with specific offences. Earlier this year (2008) I spoke to one police officer who detailed an attempt by a UK copper to use B of the P against a photographer - which ended with the police apologising for over-stepping the mark.
It is therefore significant that Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker should remind the police nationally of the law and specifically mention B of the P. Yes: it has always been present as a theoretical charge. In practice, though, not in England.
What I was speculating, perhaps tangentially, in this story was whether there is now an appetite, south of the border, for using B of the P legislation in a more Scottish fashion.
Oh. And "behind you!".
Paris... cause I imagine most of us would like to find her behind us at times of stress.
Anyone who buys a camera is a moron. If they think it's a magic device which puts them above the law, well that would be consistent with their mental problems.
@ Sean - I'm so glad people like you exist.
Otherwise who would we have to do the shitty jobs?
I'll give you a UK translation, with UK law may or might means "will".
I'm sorry for offending your probably vegetarian sensibilities. I realise any opinion at variance with yours is of course wrong, because you are right. Hopefully one day I'll learn and then think correctly as you do.
Until then keep taking those pictures because it's important that you do, it's a very important job and you're a very important person because you're doing an important job.
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