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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  1. Anonymous Coward
    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)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Welcome to the police state

    Move along, nothing to see here

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    If you've got nothing to hide...

    then you've got nothing to worry about.

    Just ask Jean Charles de Menezes.

  4. Paul Murphy
    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?

  5. Pete Silver badge

    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)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  7. Martin Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    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*******

  8. Anonymous Coward
    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?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  10. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    "these incidents are exceedingly rare..."

    ... at the moment.

    "Your papers!"

  11. Anony mouse

    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

  12. Dennis
    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.

  13. Jonathan

    We need to rename the Police

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

    Public accountability? Ha!

  14. Steen Hive
    Thumb Down

    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.

  15. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    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"

  16. Michael Fremlins
    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.

  17. Dennis
    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.

  18. Maty

    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.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  20. John Bayly
    Thumb Up

    @Anonymous Coward (First post)

    You sir, are a genius.

  21. Peter Hawkins
    Thumb Down

    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

  22. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    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.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  24. Nicholas Ettel
    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!

  25. Mike Moyle Silver badge
    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...

  26. Dave

    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.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    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?

  28. Stewart Haywood

    @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.

  29. Roger Heathcote
    Stop

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

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

  30. Slartybardfast
    Thumb Up

    On Monday

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

  31. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  32. Nebulo
    Thumb Down

    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.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    War on tourism

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

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    enough

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

    as it used to say on the Mark Thomas website

  35. James Pickett

    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?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    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"?

  37. Captain DaFt
    Alert

    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".

  38. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Stop

    Allo Allo Allo...

    (click)

    What's all this then?

    (wallop!)

    No go about your normal life citizen.

  39. Aaron Gilliland
    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.

  40. Magani
    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.

  41. Alfazed
    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

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    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...

  43. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  44. peter

    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.

  45. elderlybloke
    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.

  46. David Kairns

    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.

  47. andy
    Thumb Up

    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?

  48. Danny Silver badge

    Madness, absolute madness

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

  49. Paul Gomme

    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

  50. Russell

    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?!

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An Excuse

    While people taking photos being hassled by the police is still relatively rare, this law will make it more common. More people will be charged & it will give the police an excuse to pick their lives apart in the hope they will find something more serious (e.g. visits to dodgy websites, etc.). This is just part of the snowball that is rapidly becoming a snowboulder of authoritarian laws that seem to be passed every year with increasing severity. The recent furore about the Dutch MP being banned from these shores should be a wake-up call to everyone interested in living in a democratic country. Free speech doesn't exist in this country. And neither does freedom.

  52. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Alert

    Nail 'em up now!!!

    I work near Piccadilly in London, a quick wander around the area will show hundred of tourists happily snapping away at Buck House in full view of the plod! Then you walk over to Clarence House, more of them there terrorists, with plod still doing nothing!!! FInally you come around St Jame's Palace and there are armed military AND Police grunts, yet more terror-tourists snapping without a care in the world! I have even seen Plod grunts posing with tourists in the photos, in front of said places!

    This is simply not good enough and want our beloved Home Sec that wondeful Mr Smith to come over from her office and witness this blatant disregard for the laws she valiantly fights to put in place for our protection!

  53. Richard L
    Black Helicopters

    So I Can't Ask my Family

    "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, a member of any of the intelligence services or a constable, "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"."

    WTF, so potentially asking either my dad (former copper) or my 92 year old grandfather (former WW2 squaddie) where there planning to go on his holidays is illegal?

    Or asking anybody over the age of 16 about "something of a kind likely to be useful to a terrorist" ,without checking whether they'd been in the forces or police, is fraught with the danger of being charged.

    Stupid stupid stupid

  54. TMS9900
    Flame

    Well...

    ...this is what you get for voting in a communist government. You all wanted it, because you voted for it. Twice.

    So fuck you all. STFU and reap what you sowed.

    Tossers.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Well

    3 times, and I didn't vote for them, so STFU dick.

  56. ShaggyDoggy

    You can't speak to anyone

    You can't speak to anyone, because they might be/have been a member of Her Majesty’s forces, a member of any of the intelligence services or a constable. Therefore any question you put to them would be illegal, including "are you or have you been a member of Her Majesty’s forces, a member of any of the intelligence services or a constable, because if so I can't ask you a question, including this one"

    Catch 22

  57. blue
    Black Helicopters

    Blatant Double-Standards Piss-taking

    Meanwhile ...

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7883181.stm

  58. david

    Shouldn't go after the police...

    ...because they apply the law without fear of favour.

    Sorry, fail.

    They are not going after all photographers they are using their discretion. If they weren't droids they would used their discretion and ignore the rubbish laws.

  59. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge
    Thumb Down

    Everything is illegal but...

    they only use the laws against the bad people. If you are doing nothing wrong then even if it's technically against the law you will be OK.

    Weeeellll, generally this is the case, BUTon occasion police do things which really are not right. The police we have now are not the same as in the past.

    Example, during this weeks floods, traffic was having problems navigating through the deep water where the river had flooded onto the road. What was needed was someone to control the traffic flow to make it easier for people to drive through. Ofcourse the (plastic) police were on the next street with a speed gun looking for speeders to nick.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    I've got an idea: pre-printed excuses!

    "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."

    While the "reasonable excuse" only counts "after the offence has been charged", I'm sure the police wouldn't mind knowing, in advance, what that excuse is likely to be.

    So, how about pre-printed excuses?

    When the police officer first intervenes, just say, "Here's the excuse I'll use in court if you try doing me for taking photos." Hand the officer the sheet of paper concisely stating the planned excuse. Then the police officer can see what the court will be told by your defence team if it ever goes to trial.

    Of course, plod might decide to ignore the pre-printed excuse. "Okay," you say, "have it your way, and leave yourself in the dark." Even if plod persists in keeping themself at a disadvantage, you've still got that evidence of your excuse for use in your defence during your trial. And when, during your interrogation down the local nick (or in Paddington Green police station, because you're a terror suspect), they ask you why you were taking photos, just refer them to the pre-printed excuse as your answer.

    But what should such a pre-printed excuse say? A lawyer's help in drafting it would probably be a good idea. But one idea, for use when photographing demonstrations and protests, is the following:-

    "My reasonable excuse for taking these photos is for use as evidence in the event of police officers abusing their powers against a lawful demonstration."

    And at the bottom of the pre-printed excuse, be sure to have something like the following, in big print and bold:-

    "IF THE POLICE AREN'T DOING ANYTHING WRONG, THEY HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE, AND NOTHING TO FEAR."

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Don't they realise

    1984 was supposed to be a warning, not a fucking "how to" manual

  62. Pete "oranges" B.
    Pirate

    The problem is enforcement...

    Soon you will see headlines to the effect:

    "Police Photographed In Brutal Camera Confiscation."

    And there's the rub. Even if you wanted to take cameras off the streets for your own sinister purposes, there will always be some kid with a camera phone and a youtube account watching while you do it. Let's face it, the last decade has turned cameras into even more of a cultural phenomena than ever before. The image of hundreds of people raising their phones up above the crowd to try and get a shot has become inexorably become linked with practically every major event to take place since the common pairing of those two devices.

    1888 cabled guys, they want their legislation back, STOP.

  63. danla

    I am a coward,

    but this has to be opposed. I will try to be there, as I work nearby, and I will simply stand and observe any uniformed public servant and try to memorise their features, badge number etc, and see what can be said about the gathering of information, without it descending into a logical farce..

    regards,

    A public service employee.

  64. Andus McCoatover

    To *really* reverse it..

    Consider for a moment.

    Assume I'm a Jew, demonstrating peacefully in London. Extreme muslims don't get on with Jews well.

    Copper snaps me.

    Loses camera/USB/SD card. Or, gets left on a train. Mate of Ob^Hsama bin Liner finds it.

    Now, I'm a possible target.

    Useful terrist* information?

    So, nick the police phtographer. Easy

    * Sorry - forgot Dubya's gone.

  65. Andus McCoatover

    @Magani

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

    Spot on. Of course, by this time you're on the DNA register, for fuc*ks sake!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Cunning Plan, what??? B'stards!

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Well

    "...this is what you get for voting in a communist government. You all wanted it, because you voted for it."

    Well at the last general election (2005) only 61.3% of people bothered to vote and only 35.3% of them actually voted Labour (compared to 32.3% Tory and 22.1% Lib Dem).

    So only 21.6% of the set of all voters "wanted it" whereas 39.7% "wanted something else" and 38.7% failed to express an opinion.

    Please check your facts before running off at the keyboard all cross eyed and frothing.

    (and last time I checked the Labour party were more right wing than the Tories, hardly communist, although they have now started nationalising the banks which was part of their manifesto in the 80's when they were communists)

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Time to remind people ...

    ... the police are public servants whilst on duty. Unless there is a specific reason, such as working on a covert mission, they have no rights to anonymity. Certainly, if in uniform, they should have no rights to act without the observation of the general public. That is how control of the forces of government is maintained.

    Time to get a camera with a live link to a server somewhere else, I think, prior to leaving this stinking country forever.

    AC for obvious reasons.

  68. Michael Brennen
    Stop

    Yet another Govenment pilice for Police to enact.

    ON top of all the legislation and new laws introduced in Labour's tenure there is now another almost unenforcible piece of law that will please the anti terrorism spin doctors from the government and add more work for the police. I see police and pcos who have there photo taken all the time around London particularly on Westminster Bridge, are all the tourists going to be stopped from taking photos and arrested, I doubt it, when there is a crime scene are all the people who are clearly journalists going to be stopped and arrested, somehow I think the police resources would be busy dealing with the crime itself. I think that within reason the police would have questioned those they were suspicious of taking hostile photos of them under the TA2000 so its not necessary for the new piece of legislation

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lets say they ban photography at demonstrations/protests/riots etc.

    How long before teh Government sets up an approved agency to document these events on film to ensure that we only see their edited version that doesn't show police incompetence and brutality?

    Shall we call it the Ministry of Truth?

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How can you be skeptical about this?

    How many planes have been flown into the World Trade Centre since the Anti Photography act was passed? None. That's how many. It works. So if you're against it, you're obviously a terrorist.

    Officer, arrest these men. All of them.

    Where's that goddam helicopter?

  71. Svein Skogen
    Unhappy

    This will solve itself

    Since it is illicit to obtain identification information about these groups, they cannot:

    A) visit any area under CCTV surveillance, since this will identify them. This includes most shops, so it should be hard for them to obtain food.

    B) be admitted as patients at any medical facility. This requires them to be identified

    C) get any banking services, due to the identity again

    D) Travel by plane

    E) receive any public service or pension.

    etc.

    It will also be a crime for the press to give coverage of any politician that has civilian-dressed New Scotland Yard bodyguards (this includes the entire government). Good thing their opposition will get all the press coverage, isn't it?

    obtw, I just added UK to the same list as USA: Places I'm not likely to visit before their laws are made to be in compliance with the international declaration of human rights.

    //Svein

  72. Kieron McCann

    Maybe this is why they don't like photographers

    http://www.squiddle.net/index.php?showimage=164

    I took this last year at the anti-George Bush demonstration. With no provocation whatsoever the police decided to wade in to the crowd with steel truncheons and beat the hell out of people who were doing nothing more than exercising their right to protest. I posted this last year but given the law change I guess that now makes me a criminal.

    There is something seriously wrong with a country when the police are given virtually unlimited power and nobody appears to have the ability to hold them to account.

  73. Catkins
    Linux

    Protest

    Well, I attended the protest. About 300 people in all, a good mix of amateurs and professionals, TV and print media. The Guardian and Associated Newspapers had journalists interviewing protestors, so there's a good chance I'll be misquoted in the Daily Mail tomorrow.

    I now have a nice 'I'm a photgrapher, not a terrorist' sticker as well

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    positive spin

    to take a positive view can someone point out to the relevant authorities how useful Google StreetView would be to a potential terrorist

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