Camera paranoia

October 10, 2011 | By | 5 Replies More

I’ve previously started several threads about the modern fact that state law enforcement prefers that we stop taking photos out in public (even though the state now has more cameras than ever watching us). Law enforcement gets all the more paranoid if you take photos of them out in public, as though citizens don’t have the right to documents how the police, our public servants, are doing their jobs. I’m going to use this post as a place to collect incidents from the United States and from around the world demonstrating governmental intolerance of citizen photography.

Here is a recent example:

A Facebook campaign is calling for people to boycott a shopping centre after claims a man was questioned by police for taking photographs of his own four-year-old daughter.



Category: Photography Paranoia

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 (5)

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  1. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Some people have discovered that the digital camera elements used in many security cameras can be blinded by an array of infrared LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) sewed into a baseball cap.

    I think it would be fun to go a step further by fitting small holographic lenses to the LEDs that would project the laughing man logo from the “Ghost in the Shell:Stand Alone Complex” anime series(often abbreviated as “GitS:SAC”) with lots of references to the works of J.D. Salinger. If you have ever scene an episode of the series featuring the laughing man, you would realize how appropriate this is.

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    Speaking of camera paranoia…here’s a story about a guy who was taking pictures of Amtrak trains in hopes of winning Amtrak’s own photo contest, but in the process was arrested, cuffed and held by Amtrak police on a charge of criminal trespass (in a *public* train station):

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    This man was shot by the police with a rubber bullet in Oakland. His crime was videotaping a line of police officers.

  4. Niklaus Pfirsg says:

    Pat Paulsen once pointed out that the constitution guarantees freedom of speech. It says nothing about freedom of being heard. You can say whatever you like, as long as no one is listening.
    He was mocking the censors, but I sometimes think they did not get the joke.

    BTW, you can buy a largish wristwatch with a built-in digital camcorder. One of the less expensive ones is about $40 and records about 20 minutes of video. More expensive ones include night vision, and as much as 18 hours recording time.

  5. Erich Vieth says:

    “Journalists have been increasingly targeted at Occupy protests, especially during police operations to evict occupations. The eviction of Occupy Wall Street featured a number of egregious incidents, where NYPD not only did not allow the press to cover the eviction but arrested reporters and photographers for being on the scene. In fact, the day was the worst day for members of the press since Occupy Wall Street began.’

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