And now there’s a war on photography too.

November 9, 2007 | By | 6 Replies More

I’m in Washington DC for a conference this week. During a break, I took some photos, though I was hesitant to take any photos that included security (and Washington DC security is everywhere). Based on a blog called War on Photography, my paranoia might have been justified.

The behavior reported in War on Photography reminds me of parts of China, where I travelled in 1999 and 2001.   There, police officers brazenly told people that they couldn’ take some sorts of photos, for instance photos of the protesting Fulang Gong.  Though we didn’t see this behavior ourselves, we heard this from our Chinese-based translators.

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Category: Civil Rights, photography

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (6)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    You can't get arrested for simply taking a photo out on the sidewalk, can you? Can you? http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2

  2. xiaogou says:

    Erich, my friend told me that if the naval personnel at the Arizona Memorial said that taking a picture of the missile tracking platform that was anchored in Pearl Harbor was forbidden and they could be arrested if they took a picture of it. How they would stop people from taking pictures of it I believe would be a major trick as it is anchored in the harbor and visible for several miles of it.

    A side note: A Japanese spy was gathering information on the movements of naval vessels from his observation post, the Natsunoya tea house over looking Pearl Harbor, before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    Another side note: In 1995 my friend’s younger sister was in Tianmen Square on the anniversary of the massacre. There were squads of Chinese soldiers marching goose step around the perimeter with submachine guns. She remarked in a loud voice, “Hey! Isn’t this where they murdered all those students?” The tour guide and my friend went pale; luckily the soldiers were not near them to hear that.

  3. xiaogou says:

    By the way, if you are American it is forbidden to feed the ducks in Beijing. Even if the man next to you is.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    I've decided to use this post to store other accounts where citizens have been accosted, arrest, reprimanded, etc. for the "crime" of taking photographs in public spaces. What's really ironic about these incidents is that the government is taking more photographs of US all the time. Surveillance is OK, but taking photographs of public spaces is getting risking.

    Here's today's sample: http://robmcgibbon.blogspot.com/2008/05/police-no

  5. Erich Vieth says:

    Another incident of police harassing an innocent person taking photos. http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=

  6. Erich Vieth says:

    Joseph Napolitano puts the spotlight at two cops who believe that it is a crime to videotape them while they are on duty.

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