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back to article Charges against London tube tourist snapper thrown out

Westminster Magistrates have dismissed charges of breaching the Public Order Act brought against a Greek tourist for taking photographs on the London Underground. Had the case gone differently, we would have been forced to revisit our long-cherished assumption that the law does not restrict the right to photograph in the UK. On …

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As usual, nothing achieved...

As with many things, whilst it's always convenient to blame cops and politicians, often easily-influenced and hysterical members of the public also cause as many problems. And so now we live in a culture where people fear being photographed despite the fact there's suveillance everywhere.

And I'm not talking the fat ugly miserybag in your company's finance department who refuses to have her photo taken for her work ID card. No, I'm talking your "Oh no, he must be a paediatrician [sic]!" flustered parents, regardless of the fact that the kid probably wasn't the sole 'subject' of the image.

The only time I took photos on an underground train, the Paris Metro, the only person who interfered was a guy who insisted he should be in one of them, and stood grinning madly in front of me while I took it. Upon checking the picture on the LCD, he seemed happy enough and went and sat back down!

People in this disappointing country of ours need to lighten the f'ck up, and stop believing that everything is so dangerous and out to get them. I thought this was why we had dramatic sitcoms, so that those with boring lives could live 'by proxy' through the make-believe existences of others. Perhaps Corrie or EastEnders should introduce more terror-related storylines to keep these drama-mongers content while the rest of us just get on with our own lives.

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Anonymous Coward

Think of the children

I'd like to meet the balloon who complained to Police. Honestly, in this country we've turned into a bunch of selfish, over protective, paranoid self righteous muppets. OMG, he might be taking photos of my children!!!! Pathetic.

Organisations like LU are typical, over reacting, jobsworthy idiots. Yes, a terrorist threat remains but that doesn't mean we lose all sight of common sense.

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Stop

Heh

Morden day devolving Britain. What a sad sad place she is becomming.

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So why was he arrested?

Once again, the police overreacted. A mere complaint is enough to get somebody arrested. When will the police use their brains (if they have any)?

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Unhappy

I feel ashamed

to be associated by nationality with these fascist idiots.

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Paris Hilton

# witty title goes here

"When we spoke to London Underground (LU) last year, they were adamant that people needed permission to take photographs on the Underground, and without a (paid-for) official permit, they were not allowed to do so."

So, are they going to stop every single tourist, taking pictures of themselves 'riding the tube' and force them to delete them, or pay for an official permit? Twats!

Oh, and the 'parent' who complained to the police? Mouthbreathers like him shouldn't be allowed to breed

Paris, because she knows about riding the tube

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Unhappy

This makes me sad.....

I am sad for the failures it highlights .....

1. The parents, who failed to use their common sense.

2. The transport police, who failed to use their common sense

Fortunately for us, the judge had some and threw it out. But I wonder what the total cost will be?

I am also sad for the consequences of this farce, namely.....

- the death of common sense and civil liberties

- the fear, uncertainty and doubt it brees in our minds

- the damage will do to tourism as word gets out that this is how we welcome foreigners to our shores.

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I'm in favour of a photography ban on the Tube

If it can be enforced against people like the bunch of Spanish tourists blocking the entrance to the Victoria line at 8.45am the other day, taking photos of each other.

Or perhaps we should issue commuter licences (you'd have to sit an examination that covers things like letting people off the train first, and looking for AND FOLLOWING the "keep left/right" signs) and ban non-holders from the Tube at rush hour.

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"Disorderly Behaviour"

How delightfully vague and "peacekeeping".

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RE: So why was he arrested?

Because the officers involved were moronic power-crazed thugs. A simple "please don't take pictures of children in public, unless their parents ask you to"* (or similar) would have sufficed -- but the kinds of people who become police officers nowadays prefer to bully people as much as possible.

*While I don't see how passengers on the underground are afforded any "expectation of privacy", or however it's worded in law, I'll give the benefit of the doubt to the parents and assume the guy was pointing the camera a little freely -- purely as devil's advocate.

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Paris Hilton

other peoples children ...

speaking as someone who earns some of my living from selling photographs, if he took pictures of someone elses child, without seeking at the very least a nod of consent, it's hardly surprising that he got into trouble.

He's either impossibly naive, or stupid.

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Paris Hilton

@ "# witty title goes here" 11:37

Surely "Paris, because I'd like to ride her tube" was the way to go there. Or maybe you wouldn't. I know I would.

Dribble.

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Happy

@ AC

"Morden day devolving Britain. What a sad sad place she is becomming."

The standard of English in her schools isn't doing too well either, by the looks

:-)

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Anonymous Coward

Jobsworth disorder

I was passing through that very posh tube station near Westminster and taking tourist pics of the extremely impressive architecture when a voice came booming over the PA system that I should stop immediately. "Yes, you". Gulp! I meekly did as I was told by my overlords and masters and had a moan about it later - free country indeed!

This was pre-9/11, so there was less of a war-on-terror cover all mindset at the time. No kids in the pics either - the station was virtually deserted.

Anon cos they're probably still looking for me :-)

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Anonymous Coward

so

So has the idiot parents who believe peadophiles are everywhere been arrested for wasting police time? Oh noes it's a man with teh camera MUST BE PEADOPHILLIAZORZ! MUST KILL HIM WITH FIRES AND RIGHTOUS FURY.

And the police been discplined for being f---ing stupid? And not going "err so he took a photo of a station, you acted like a dick but he was receptive anyway and now you want him nicked? Are you retarded?" But no the police also went ZOMFG CAMERA FOREIGN CHILD EITHER PEDLOPILE OR TRRISTOR! MUST SAVE WORLDZORUS!

stupid media, stupid government, stupid society, stupid stupid stupid.

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NCRS

"it is this refusal to delineate a clear dividing line that gives police the power to intervene pretty much as it suits them."

NO. As you will soon discover if you start reading the police blogs, the police cannot intervene "as it suits them" - they almost always HAVE to intervene when any idiot makes a stupid complaint. Their discretion was removed by NCRS in the wake of the Stephen Lawrence fiasco.

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Um, isn't this a case of wrongful arrest?

Just wondering ..

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Why, just this saturday...

... was taking some shots outside the Wheel for "Shoot London" (http://www.shootexperience.com) when security came over. Admittedly one of our crew was wearing a bathing cap, goggles and no shirt, but they did say "you need permission to take photographs on private property".

To be fair, when we politely explained we weren't professionals and pointed out the ridiculous nature of our props, they were happy to leave us be. However the fact a good chunk of the Southbank was private property had escaped me until now, and unless you're a town planner I expect you're not going to know in advance.

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Gates Horns

I blame Microsoft.

Obviously they are using Word 97, and it replaced the word "tourist" with the word "terrorist".

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Anonymous Coward

Jedi mind tricks

I was in London a few months ago and was taking pictures of a disused escalator in the tube. I was stopped by a tube guard who told me I needed a permit to take photo's and asked me to delete them off my camera. Fair enough I thought, I didn't know but now i do.

Anyway I interrupted him mid-lecture and asked the best way to get to West Brom and he totally forgot what he was doing and while showing me which lines to get I put my camera in the bag and then headed off.

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Anonymous Coward

Anyone remember ...

... the broohaha in UK press, (television, radio, newspapers, magazines, ... ) should a UK passport holder taking snaps next to a military airport (say, in Greece for example) about 20 years or so ago were arrested for their troubles?

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Black Helicopters

CCTV ?

and did this complainant consider that not only was his daughter photographed by this tourist, but indeed she, and everyone else, was being filmed and watched by other unknown persons. and said footage retained for future viewing pleasure. it's called cctv.

so it's ok for our untrustworthy 'authorities' to photograph and film as they please, but not ok for anyone else? hmmm. no surprises there then!

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Anonymous Coward

Potential pedophile

Clearly people should not be allowed to LOOK at children, as they must be planning how to photograph them, which might be used for nefarious purposes.

Such people have no justification for looking at kids, as they are not their parents. The only solution is a full-face covering for children. While we're at it, we better licence anyone who becomes a parent; Who knows what goes on at home behind CLOSED doors.

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Compare and contrast with...

...this

http://www.travisruse.com/

An amazing award winning photo blog taken exclusively on the New York subway. Wouldn't get that here.

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Flame

Calm down, calm down.

I think the criticism and abuse of the parents should stop unless people can provide greater details of the incident including the photos concerned. Until then you're jumping on a wanky comment bandwagon. Was he taking a snapshot with a crappy compact from a fair distance or was he close by with a 24MP SLR and a whacking great lens?

I can't possibly comment on the actions of the parents as I haven't seen the photographs. I would certainly say that it would have been a touch naive to have taken an image which _may_ have involved a fair sized component being of a child and thought that it wouldn't cause an issue, if that was the case here.

It says he was in good spirits and just started taking photos of people. To me, no matter what the law says, that's invasive and inviting a public order offence.

I regularly take photos in public places and definitely avoid other people's kids being in the shot to an obvious extent (e.g. 100m away on a wide angle lens would be just background traffic). I would never include one as a large component without having the courtesy to ask the parent/guardian first (and I'm fortunate enough to be able to use my own so don't need to). Asking first is polite and avoids confrontation. This also goes for adults and is advice offered by just about every photography article relating to photographing people in public I have ever read.

That the photo was deleted is wholly irrelevant. That's just a way of fooling photographer stopping coppers until you get home and undelete it.

Flames? There's just too many hair triggered crap writing fools on here these days.

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Pirate

The police slipped up

Presumably the idea was the usual one of: He's foreign, he won't want the expense and hassle of coming back to face trial, so he'll accept a caution for the non-existent crime. Ching! Another cleared-up crime on our statistics (and an innocent person with a record for life, but why should the plod give a damn about that?).

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Rob
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Black Helicopters

Baffling

"It was photographing people. Specifically here a young girl. So, the natural over reaction of the parents is the "scary peado" thing...and him being polite? That's "grooming". Daft, but there you are."

The thing that annoys me the most is that the parents son't even consider the fact that the operator of the CCTV could be a secret pedo and taking stills home to upload onto the web, if he has no previous convictions then the CRB check will come up clean. No a-typical numpty paranoia from the UK public yet again.

On a seperate note @Dark Ian

"And I'm not talking the fat ugly miserybag in your company's finance department who refuses to have her photo taken for her work ID card."

We obviously work at the same place, meet me for a cig/coffee we can put the world to rights in a swift 10mins ;)

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Flame

Just shows: The UK is a Police State

On one hand I have the greatest respect for a lot of the COPs, but when an idiot like that goes completely overboard and these £$£$*&*£$ are way to arrogant (or maybe stupid) to admit, that they have, then I just wonder if some form of anarchy, at times just be very delightful and soothing!!!

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Planes, Trains and...

Reminds me of another case (or two) where some plane spotters were arrested and held (for a bit longer than a day) for taking apparently innocent photos. Maybe we were just getting our own back :)

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Joke

@ Calm down, calm down

You are a paedophile, taking pictures of children, what makes it worse is that you use your own children. People like you make me sick, you should be castrated

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Black Helicopters

Move along citizen...

...there's nothing to see here...

THX1138

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Snow

When it was snowing and I couldn't get in, I took pictures of kids having a snowball fight, or parents building snowmen with their kids. Those are nice family/youth at play pictures, they captured the mood at the time. If you don't want you kids in any photos, do the MJ trick and cover them in a blanket

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Black Helicopters

Different cultures, different points of view

The guy is from Greece. They aren't as anally uptight about such things there as in the UK, and assuming the guy was a tourist, how was he supposed to know about the LU rules on no-photography, or the British public's "OMG Someone is taking photos" mentality.

And as for deliberatly taking a photo of a girl. Maybe she was doing something interesting, and he thought it would make a good picture? Or maybe it was her particular pose at that moment in time? If he had to ask for permission before taking the photo, then the moment would be lost.

Sure, there needs to be security, but absolutely nowhere else around the world have I seen such overreactions to pissy little nothings than in the UK.

Thank god I don't live there anymore.

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Unhappy

Re: Jobsworth Disorder ...

... and from the article...

"When we spoke to London Underground (LU) last year, they were adamant that people needed permission to take photographs on the Underground, and without a (paid-for) official permit, they were not allowed to do so.

They were very reluctant to be drawn on where the distinction lay between professional filming and ordinary tourist activity - intimating even that it might be unlawful to take photos of illegal activity occurring, such as an assault on LU staff - and it is this refusal to delineate a clear dividing line that gives police the power to intervene pretty much as it suits them."

This attitude by London Underground staff appears to be seriously at odds with their published information. Maybe we should all quote the following when stopped by LU jobsworths for taking pictures for personal use:

From:

https://custserv.tfl.gov.uk/icss_csip/GetDetailInformation.do?entityNum=00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000003939&kbname=SDB&newTabtext=Tube

"Do I need permission to film or take photographs on the tube?

If you are just passing through, you shouldn't have a problem taking personal snaps, souvenir shots etc, although you must NOT use flash or lights on any of our platforms.

However, if you want to spend more than 10-15 minutes at any one station videoing or taking photos, or if they are for professional use, you MUST have a permit."

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Regulations...?

Hmmmm... they don't really make much of an effort to tell people about the ban on photography. Searching the TfL site for mentions of Photography only appears to return photography displays, information for professional/student filming permits and one passenger-orientated document "Tube Safety" http://www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/5295.aspx stating "Don't use flash photography.". I believe this exact wording is replicated on many tube platforms too (obviously with VERY good reason). I would say that there is an inherent granting of permission there for non-flash photography. This missive is immediately preceeded by "do not drink" so must have been updated in the last year since Batty Boris brought that one in.

If you go to the filming permits section it does state that a permit is required but you have to bury in for that, and could easily interpret it as referring to planned shoots only.

Remember citizens, you must know all laws at all locations at all times, or you will be taken away for some state intervention time. The authorities not publicising the existence of the law is not a defence.

But I do agree with photographing children being a bit daft, as I am thoroughly paranoid in all situations about a child even being in view when taking photos. Oh, holidays at the beach can be SO much fun with me... "let's take a photo... no, not that way, or that way, or..."

Though maybe back home this guy's countrymen respect children, and don't feel they have to run a mile if one comes within 50 metres of them for fear of being beaten to death by the Sun/Daily Hate-tards!

<shakes head in shame as realises exact depths this world is sinking to>

nK

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Black Helicopters

Sorry luv

Really. What would have cleared up this whole mess if the guy had just told the lady "Sorry love. Even if I was a peodo then I would hardly be taking pictures of your ugly children"

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Alert

what was the child doing/wearing...

.... in a public place that might interest a kiddie fiddler?

did the photog look shifty? did he have his hand down his trousers while selecting the shots? or were they harmless group compositions or general scenery?

as the father on a 9yo girl (and have to fight her desire to dress like Hannah Montanna every time we're in public) it's something that concerns me, but living on both AU and the US she's often had her photo taken by tourists as part of group of kids and I've never felt the need to involve the forces of law and order

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Unhappy

Seems to me

Very much like the complainant wasn't in fact the childs father, but rather an interfering busybody. When the police/CPO checked the evidence before the hearing, and detected his lie, they were faced with a possibly perjury or perverting the course of justice prosecution. Better to just let the matter drop.

Luckily Stavros Wassisnamiou will now be DNA fingerprinted.

God save us.

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Street View

So, if a big corp takes photos in an easily identifiable location, and makes almost no effort to hide your identity, that is okay, but for a private individual to record what is going on around him, in a way where the individuals are never, ever going to be identified is potentially illegal?

Totally mad.

With a few minor exceptions, taking a photo of something that I can quite legally see with my own eyes should not be criminal of itself.

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Anonymous Coward

Another tourist

But it seems he got off lightly.

http://lopiensoloescribo.blogspot.com/2009/05/terrorista-por-una-foto.html

Run it through google tranlsate if you don't understand it

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Anonymous Coward

No hope for human kind?

I had a plan to visit UK this summer, taking photos being part of it. After reading this, I'll leave my camera at home. It simply doesn't worth the trouble.

This kind of reaction, with all due respect, starts looking like sickness.

An if you're wandering, yes, I do have a child, and I am aware of the tragic events in UK. But I still have hope for the humankind....

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Anonymous Coward

Smile - you're on candic cctv

So in the UK taking a picture of someone in a public place is enough to get you arrested? A place where there is no presumption of privacy? Some parents need to retroactively neutered, perhaps several generations ago. And to those defending the parents, unless you know what the story is , don't. It is quite simple. Either they over-reacted to a picture being taken, they under-reacted in dealing with a potential pedophile, or they are [fill in the blank - xenophobic comes to mind].

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Coat

CCTV perv operators?

As Barry, one of my service engineer contacts, told me of a visit to a London Borough Council's CCTV control room: "one of the operators had spotted a rather well endowed young girl, probably about 14-15 and followed her movements using multiple cameras for several minutes as she and her friend walked along the High Road, zooming tight in to appraise her assets several times, even pointing her out to one of the other operators. My opertunity to watch him however was cut short when the shift manger realised I was watching just what was going on and insisted I continue with the repair job elseware, saying under the DPA only authorised CRB checked people should be in the control room". So official acknowlegement of CRB means OK to be a grubby-mit or local grubby-mit peeping tom then!

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Unhappy

Why I photographic inanimate objects

I love photography, but shooting people is just too icky. First off, if you shoot a person or small group you really ought to ask, but I'm on the shy side. Secondly, if you intend to use the photo in some commercial setting, you need to ask for/negotiate/get a "model release". Too much hassle.

That said, the inclusion of people in photographs makes them that much more engaging to those who view photographs: people. Landscapes are pretty, but people draw you in.

I just don't want the aggravation that comes with 'candid' shots of people, so I live with shooting rocks, trees and buildings, and hope the local gendarmerie are looking for terrorists somewhere else.

Of course, you can get hassled for shooting somebodies building too, so really rocks are about all you have left that are at all safe.

sigh

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Jobs Horns

Easy solution

Make all children wear burkas. They're designed to prevent men looking at whoever's underneath them. Do you see?

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The answer is in front of you, people

> “Police have a duty to act on any complaint where a person’s actions cause harassment, alarm or distress to others.”

The answer is in front of you, people -- any time some loony parent starts on you, or some jobsworth saying "you can't take photos here, delete them!", just find the nearest police officer and report them for harrassing you.

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He's lucky

He got out alive.

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Stop

OMG! I broke the Law

I am posting this anonymously because I broke the law by taking pictures of the LU trains and Memorial station, because I thought it was neat how it curved.

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Anonymous Coward

Difference between Greece and UK

In Greece there are signs on airport perimeter fences, walls of military establishments, etc., making it clear that photography is forbidden. I don't recall seeing any such in or around any tube station in London.

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