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back to article Photography rights: Snappers to descend on Scotland Yard

The individual right to take photographs is being threatened, and distrust of police and government motives in respect of photography is growing. On Monday, the issue will be defiantly, peacefully raised as a mass demonstration, supported by comedian Mark Thomas, converges on New Scotland Yard to assert the right of snappers to …

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Happy

Can the law be applied in mirror form then?

Imagine the scene. Joe Smith taking photos in public. Two officers of the law chance upon him...

Officer A : "Excuse me sir, but I find your behaviour suspicious. Taking photos of flowers is a likely terrorist act. What is your name / address / etc etc?"

Joe : "Officer, I am an ex member of the secret services(*). Officer B - please arrest this other officer under the terms of the Terrorism Act 2000 section 58A as amended by the Counter-Terrorism Act 2009"

Officer B : "Rightyho sir - happy to do my duty under Her Majesty's laws"

(* prove I ain't, copper)

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Welcome to the police state

Move along, nothing to see here

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If you've got nothing to hide...

then you've got nothing to worry about.

Just ask Jean Charles de Menezes.

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Paris Hilton

Hmm..

>The counter-argument from police and government is that these incidents are exceedingly rare:

Oh - that's ok then! How about they shouldn't be happening at all?

How soon before a precedence is assumed.

Of course it's not really the Police's fault, it's the silly laws that they have to enforce. What is needed in the first place is some consistency - if an area has been deemed a 'no photos' zone then have some signs up.

Otherwise stop interfering. If I was planning on committing a terrorist act then I would not be taking photos in public, a video camera hidden in a bag would be far more useful.

ttfn

PH - bag, video camera do I have to explain further?

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sliding down the slope

you start by demonising the activity (photographs of people in public places, must be for pervy reasons - what else could it be?)

then you issue guidelines (.. provided it doesn't cause a breach of the peace ...)

then you "embrace and extend" (no photos of official buildings, either)

then you legislate, quietly and stealthily (no, we just need the option ...)

then you enforce, heavily and inflexibly (camera == terrorist)

then you control the media

then you can act without fear of criticism or oversight

then your powers become unlimited

then you rewrite the history books

then everyone's happy (according to the news reports, on every channel, all the time)

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Coat

Iphoto

Allows my desktop computer to take a picture of my local Plod and search for his likeness in its database of photos. If they're GPS tagged I can then narrow down his field of operations. I can then track him down and read his biometric card details remotely and fake his movements. I've no idea why I'd want to do this but this is the world. Making data gathering a crime is ridiculous.

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At least it will stop them breeding

Don' t marriage certificates list occupation and are published?

So presumably the boys in blue can't get married anymore.

So there will be little boys in blue - but they really will be b*******

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Happy

Useful for avoiding parking fines

"The new law makes it an offence to elicit or attempt to elicit information about an individual who is or has been a member of Her Majesty’s forces..."

Does this mean that I can ignore parking fines issued by private "enforcement companies" because they will have committed an offence when they try to find out my address from DVLA?

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Black Helicopters

@Can the law be applied in mirror form then?

If you are in a job with a security clearance, you can't tell anyone without security clearance what it is.

You are supposed to say "involved in work of a confidential nature in the national interest" - this is also what you are supposed to put as occupation on things like visas if you are going abroad!

So you would have to say to office B 'arrest officer A for reasons I am not allowed to tell you' - which I think is probably part of the next police bill.

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"these incidents are exceedingly rare..."

... at the moment.

"Your papers!"

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riiiiiiiiiight

"come along sonny, you've been seen acting suss"

"certainly.. can i ask your name and number, officer?"

"are you a terrorist?? right"

*bash* *bash* *bash* *bash* *bash*

don't have to use section 5 of pace any more.. they have a better one..

for fuck sake

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Black Helicopters

Time for a moral backlash

To protect ourselves we must ostracise the military, intelligence services and police.

First item on evrey job application form and membership form for every club or society:

"If you are now, or have ever been a member of the military, intelligence services or police do not complete this form."

Most clubs and societies ask for a home address so that they can send out newsletters, diary dates and so on. I imagine it's easier to attack these prople at or near home rather than at work. So a home address will be useful for a terrorist.

"But," I hear you say, "the form doesn't ask them to reveal whether they fit this category." Quite right. The law doesn't require you to know that you are asking for information about a member of the military, intelligence services or police. The law merely requires you to have asked about someone who is a member of this set.

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We need to rename the Police

...to the Nu Labour Boys. Take away their night sticks and give them billy clubs.

Public accountability? Ha!

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There you have it.

Transformation from "Police" to "Secret Police" in one easy lesson.

Hasn't everyone copped yet what the miners and tree-huggers knew a long time ago - that they are the enemy? The "bobby on the beat" myth is old - now we are dealing with a politicised and armed militia who can - and have - gotten away with murder.

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Hmm

"they affect a negligible fraction of the populace"

OK, so I can go out an kill one guy... coz that affects "a negligible fraction of the populace"

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Go

More offences...

Soon it will be illegal to even think in a "wrong" way.

People should do exactly what the police have done - ignore the law and snap away as often as possible.

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Stop

We're all doomed

You can just picture it. I'm leaving a sports club; there's someone I've never seen before in the car park. I say: "Wow, that's a flash car. Is it yours?".

"Right, sonny, you're nicked."

I've just asked a question that links a person to a car. And we all know that a car is an obvious target for attack.

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Don't think we should be bashing the police

They are going to do whatever makes their jobs and lives easier - that's human nature, and however awfully the cops actually DO it, its still a tough job.

However lets put the boot into a government that can't or won't pass laws with proper parameters, and instead basically say 'X is an offence - yes, technically everyone is guilty of it, but we will enforce the law with discretion.'

Most current terrorism and sex offences legislation falls into this category. Given sufficient incentive, every male in the UK reading this can probably be charged under one heading or the other.

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Anonymous Coward

crazy

F**k me! There isn't a week go by where there in't a Stalinist law introduced or some IT database system proposed which infringes on our right to privacy, in the name of terrorism and seemingly nearly always with Wacky Jacky at the head of it.

Quite frankly, the last few years I am amazed at how quickly we are going down the road of a surveillance state of Orwellian nightmares.

This law will be abused, just like the stop and search regs.

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@Anonymous Coward (First post)

You sir, are a genius.

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Snapping plod on double yellows outside the chippy...

"In line with the model used in related laws, the offence itself is "strict liability": it is the gathering of information that will be deemed to be the offence, and a defence that the person had a "reasonable excuse for their action" is only allowed after the offence has been charged."

So let me get this right. If I photograph an officer committing an offence, I can only use this information once I've been charged as part of my own defence.

WTF

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Black Helicopters

Anyone surprised ?

It's amazing how the police behave when they spot there are photographers and videographers around and everything they do is captured for posterity, or as independent evidence. They will quickly correct and backtrack when they've over stated a law or are called on their assertions and quite often a threat of arrest can turn to a saving-face, "don't do it again, sunshine".

Not surprising they want to ban such things.

Recall the de Menezes murd^W killing, and how the police lied about the CCTV not working ? Because it showed their claims regarding de Menezes and their actions as bullshit perhaps ?

No, we cannot have the police under any scrutiny. We'd be much better off letting them do whatever they want, believeing all they claim., preventing evidence and records being gathered which could prove contrary to what they claim in court etc.

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Happy

Mehh

Lets just have an armed revolt and give these muppets something to worry about.

@Maty

Yep its certainly easier to go and pick on someone taking a picture than trying to tackle the real criminals.

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Go

Negligible fraction of the populace

"The counter-argument from police and government is that these incidents are exceedingly rare: people continue to take hundreds of millions of photos every year, and while these encounters, when they happen, are clearly intimidating to the individuals concerned, they affect a negligible fraction of the populace."

The most recent statistics show that the murder rate (per capita) in the UK is only 0.0140633 per 1,000 people. That's a negligible fraction of the populace under any definition. So, by their logic, laws agains murder are obviously not necessary.

Time to go on a killing spree!

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Coat

Let's do the math...

"The counter-argument from police and government is that these incidents are exceedingly rare: people continue to take hundreds of millions of photos every year, and while these encounters, when they happen, are clearly intimidating to the individuals concerned, they affect a negligible fraction of the populace."

Hmmm.... combined population of England and Wales -- 53 million-some-odd...

Combined uniformed police forces of England and Wales -- 143 thousand-some-very-odd...

"The counter-argument from photographers is that these incidents are exceedingly rare: people continue to take hundreds of millions of photos every year, and while these encounters, when they happen, are clearly intimidating to the police officers concerned, they affect a negligible fraction of the populace."

... Only fair, really...

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Iceland?

No, not the retail chain, the country. Ask them what they think about appropriate use of UK terrorism laws. That should have been a wake-up call for all sleeping Britons who are capable of rational thought.

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Black Helicopters

A great fillip for tourism

You can just see them bussing the tourists in their thousands from Buckingham Palace, to the local nick, finger printing them and adding them to the DNA database. How long before the UK population is a minority on the system?

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@Don't think we should be bashing the police

I agree.

I think that the NUJ are ideally situated to make things clear to the government. They could addopt the attitude that for "security reasons" they will not be publishing the identity, location or day to day activities of any government minister (possibly even any MP, but that might be asking a bit much of them). The only true way to hurt a politician is to not mention their name or their activities.

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Stop

I think it's time we voted in...

...a more liberal, freedom loving government - like Al Quaida, or Burma's military Junta.

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On Monday

I'm going to try my hardest to be there, with my camera of course...

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Anonymous Coward

Snappathon

I'm sorry to say I won't be in London at the Snappathon: I'd love to be there.

> The new law makes it an offence to elicit or attempt to elicit information about an individual who is or has been a member of Her Majesty’s forces

Please tell me this means an end to perenially 'engaging' stories concerning members of the Royal family.

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OK then

You go and take pics of the coppers with this discreet wireless linked "security" camera.

I'll go lurk in an unthreatening part of the crowd with the receiver and the portable pvr.

And my lawyer here will look after the memory sticks.

Oh, and pass those V for Vendetta Guy Fawkws masks round. We'll be needing them soon.

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Anonymous Coward

War on tourism

So if I go on holiday in the UK I cant take pics ???

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Anonymous Coward

enough

'if your not pissed off, your not paying attention'

as it used to say on the Mark Thomas website

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FFS

"The counter-argument from police and government is that these incidents are exceedingly rare"

So is shooting innocent Brazilian electricians, but it's not a very effective excuse.

BTW, how will local authority CCTVs avoid filming Her Majesty's finest when they are on duty?

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I'm Scared, I Admit It

Okay, I admit it. This government is scaring me enough to deter me from protesting.

Now that I'm admitting this, it is now public that this is part of the reason why there aren't more people protesting, why there aren't more protests.

For months now I've wanted to take action - peaceful, certainly non-terrorist action - but I fear what the potential consequences might be. Even if there are no immediate consequences, I fear that if I take the initiative, there might be consequences in the future. That's why I haven't taken the initiative, why I haven't wanted to be the one who organises a demonstration, or whatever.

Following the London bombings on 7th July 2005, I was proud to be British. Our spontaneous, collective reply, "We're Not Afraid", showed how the terrorists, despite killing dozens of people, had simply failed to terrorise us. I'm still not afraid of the terrorists, but I am afraid of our own government and the State.

Some say, "nothing to hide, nothing to fear." Some say that only those who have done something wrong, committed a crime, or who intend to pursue terrorism, need worry. But that just turns fear itself into grounds for suspicion. And so I don't want it to be known that I'm fearful of this growing police state, because of how that fear can be misconstrued.

But here I am, an "Anonymous Coward", stating that I am afraid.

Despite my fear, I have, just occasionally, supported public protests by turning up to watch - and take photos. Photos of the protests, that is. This is a way I can help to give the protesters a supporting audience. But, when the police are present, the photos I take can end up including photos of the police and what they're doing. So this new law will have a real affect on my ability to support protests in this way.

Who else, like me, is deterred from protesting, from taking action? Who else would rather keep their heads down, "just in case"?

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Call me cynical

"which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or publishes or communicates any such information".

Shouldn't that more accurately be:

"which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person exposing or recording an act of official malfeasance , or publishes or communicates any such information".

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Stop

Allo Allo Allo...

(click)

What's all this then?

(wallop!)

No go about your normal life citizen.

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Happy

Roddy Doyle

Am I the only one who thought of a bunch of infant Irish bastards parachuting onto Scotland Yard and swearing a lot?

I'll be seeing Colm Meaney in my dreams for weeks.

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Coat

Gobsmacked, just gobsmacked

"As with all such powers, the government claim is that they will only be used where necessary."

Muahahahahahahahahah. Note to El Reg: Please advise best coffee stain removing cleaner for my keyboard.

"...and a defence that the person had a "reasonable excuse for their action" is only allowed after the offence has been charged."

Huh? The sound you heard was my jaw hitting the floor. Surely this ranks up there with 'extreme rendition' as a way of legally raping a person's rights? Let me get this right:-

* You may have a perfectly proper and innocent reason for snapping away at something.

* PC Plod/Plodette takes it into his/her mind that you're a threat to society and collars you.

* Instead of sorting it out on the spot by telling him/her the reason, you are whisked off down to the station "to help the police with their enquiries"

* There, you are charged with <whatever> and ONLY THEN, can you tell them that you're taking shots as per the contest in DigitalPhotoDaily magazine that they can find online at <URL>.

* By this time, all your details are in the system including, presumably, your DNA, fingerprints, mug shot, underwear size, Facebook password and sexual preference.

This costs the rozzers (and hence, you, the tax payer) a lot of time, effort and coin of the realm as well as putting the alleged perpin the record books.

What other acts stop any defence until AFTER you're charged?

When photgraphy is criminalised, only criminals will take photos.

Mine's the one with the very tiny Minox in the pocket and the note from my Mum allowing me to use it.

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Black Helicopters

Porky pies

Back in the 1980's it was realised by 'official' demonstration organisers, that independant documenters were being required more and more during peaceful public demonstrations, in order to record the escalating number of incidents of dubious and down right illegal police activities. Many incidents included unprovoked assaults on members of the public, wrongful arrests (tourists and shoppers) and many acts of provocation and use of excessive force were photographed and which were directly responsible for breaches of the peace.

It was noticed during the miners strike and on my attempts to visit to Stonehenge, that police officers were regularly dressed in plain blue boiler suits which did not display the officers police number. Consequently it was also discovered that non police (soldiers) were also dressed in the same uniform attire and were being used as front line troops alongside the police.

With the appearance of independent documenters capable of recording such activity for the benefit of the courts, it was possible to provide evidence of these abuses of police power and to identify the perpetrators after the event.

Obviously, cameramen and women soon became strategic targets for the police at demonstrations etc. I don't see how this startegy has changed except that now, as ever, the Go vermin' are playing catch up by legalising what was once considered to be the police abusing their powers and over stepping the law.

Snap !

ALF

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Have We Been Had?

Hang on, wasn't the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 the one that was going to have 42 days in it?

I'm suddenly wondering if the whole 42 days thing was a cunning ruse to draw attention away from the rest of the Act (or Bill as it then was). Looks like it worked.

I'll have to read it, and see what other scary things it contains...

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Paris Hilton

Isn't This Already Illegal? Terrorism Act 2000?

From the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008:-

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2008/ukpga_20080028_en_9#pt7-pb3-l1g76

"(1) A person commits an offence who—

(a) elicits or attempts to elicit information about an individual who is or has been—

(i) a member of Her Majesty’s forces,

(ii) a member of any of the intelligence services, or

(iii) a constable,

which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or

(b) publishes or communicates any such information."

So to commit this offence, the "information" has to be "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

From the Terrorism Act 2000:-

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/ukpga_20000011_en_6#pt6-pb1-l1g58

"(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he collects or makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or

(b) he possesses a document or record containing information of that kind."

So to commit this offence, the "information" has to be "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

Note that this existing law is more general than the new law, so includes the kind of information the new law is about anyway. But doesn't that mean that an offence under the new law would already be an offence under the existing law? Well, apart from differences in what is done with the information ("collects or makes a record" compared with "elicits or attempts to elicit", for example), it looks like this new law is pretty redundant.

Is this yet another example of the government making something that's already illegal, even more illegal?

What's the point of it? What have I missed? Was there other relevant legislation that amended the Terrorism Act 2000 which I also need to take into account, but haven't?

Paris - because I'm confused, too.

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Who trumps which law?

"The new law makes it an offence to elicit or attempt to elicit information about an individual who is or has been a member of Her Majesty’s forces."

So next time I am stopped by the Police and they ask me my name, address, destination, or even " Ooo do ou fink you are den...Lewis Amilton?", I can show him my Armed Forces ID card, refuse to answer and report him for breaking the law and being a terrorist suspect .

Even if they take me to court, my lawyers can string it out for years

Bloody Marvelous.

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Happy

Here in NZ

I have seen people sketching and painting buildings in my town.

Could be useful for planning burglary or bomb planting .

Next time I should tell the coppers, however as they are not paranoid like your lot, I think they might tell me to bugger off.

My experience , so far with police , is a happy one.

Found them most helpful .

It seems in the country alleged to be the cradle of citizens rights ,that you can't say the same.

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A While Back...

...discussing anything other than a full blown revolution began coming across as two chicken shit warm pieces of cheese debating proper refrigeration.

There NEVER WILL be any appeasing these steroid brain lard ass fuck-wit thugs. The war is ON. The enemy is the people "governed."

These photo rules are to cover up police high crimes -- **nothing else.**

Better knock off the panty waist lollygagging around and do some damn planning.

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We'll all have cameras soon

They can try but they wont be able to turn back the coming tide.

In just a few years we will ALL have cameras beaming everything we see straight t' web in order to play back some part of our lives at a later date, or share our lives with the world - twitter style -- completely live.

Are they prepared to ban all cameras in public?

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Madness, absolute madness

Scare the public into not bothering filming plod doing something questionable as they will be arrested and forced to plead innocence.

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Hope to see you all there...

Yes, I'm nervous about going. Yes, I expect to be stopped by the police and possibly arrested. But rights are like muscles: if you don't exercise them from time to time, they'll wither up and die.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=46271966027

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=47417324089

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Think of Sky 3!

This is going to decimate their output. Road Wars is going to have to be turned into a radio show.

As for these powers... I can't add anything that's not already been said. When will our apathetic generation hold the next Poll Tax riots?!

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