Category: Photography Paranoia

On recording the police

| June 21, 2014 | Reply

If you choose to record the police you can reduce the risk of terrible legal consequences and video loss by understanding your state’s laws and carefully adhering to the following rules. This advice is published by The Free Thought Project.

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The right of citizens to record public events

| March 2, 2012 | Reply
The right of citizens to record public events

Many people have been arrested for recording public arrests, and many others have had their cameras confiscated, and that’s here in American where we have the First Amendment. At Gigaom, Matthew Ingram takes a look at this problem and concludes that the freedom of the press applies to everyone, even bloggers:

University of Pennsylvania law professor Seth Kreimer, who has written a research paper about the right of citizens to record public events under the First Amendment, told Reason magazine that rulings by three separate federal appeals courts have upheld that right. And one recent appeals court decision specifically referred to the fact that the ability to take photos, video and audio recordings with mobile devices has effectively made everyone a journalist — in practice, if not in name — and therefore deserving of protection.

Ingram’s article cites to another well-written article, this one by Rodney Balko, titled, “The War on Cameras.” Balko’s article discusses the right to privacy of police. Here’s an excerpt:

University of Pennsylvania law professor Seth Kreimer, author of a 2010 paper in the Pennsylvania Law Review about the right to record, says such legal vagueness is a problem. Citing decisions by three federal appeals courts, Kreimer says the First Amendment includes the right to record public events. “The First Amendment doesn’t allow for unbridled discretion” by police, he says, “and it’s particularly concerned with clear rules when free speech rights are at stake. Even if there is a privacy interest here, people have to know when they’re going to be subject to prosecution.”

Here’s the article by Seth Kreimer; it’s titled: “Pervasive Image Capture and the First Amendment: Memory, Discourse, and the Right to Record.”

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How to protect your cell phone and data when you’re protesting

| October 17, 2011 | Reply
How to protect your cell phone and data when you’re protesting

Electronic Frontier Foundation has offered a guide for using and protecting your cell phone and data while you are protesting. Here’s the introduction to this helpful article by Eva Galperin:

Protesters of all political persuasions are increasingly documenting their protests — and encounters with the police — using electronic devices like cameras and cell phones. The following tips apply to protesters in the United States who are concerned about protecting their electronic devices when questioned, detained, or arrested by police. These are general guidelines; individuals with specific concerns should talk to an attorney.

I’m a big fan of EFF. Here’s a bit of information from EFF’s About page:

From the Internet to the iPod, technologies are transforming our society and empowering us as speakers, citizens, creators, and consumers. When our freedoms in the networked world come under attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the first line of defense. EFF broke new ground when it was founded in 1990 — well before the Internet was on most people’s radar — and continues to confront cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights today. From the beginning, EFF has championed the public interest in every critical battle affecting digital rights.

Blending the expertise of lawyers, policy analysts, activists, and technologists, EFF achieves significant victories on behalf of consumers and the general public. EFF fights for freedom primarily in the courts, bringing and defending lawsuits even when that means taking on the US government or large corporations. By mobilizing more than 61,000 concerned citizens through our Action Center, EFF beats back bad legislation. In addition to advising policymakers, EFF educates the press and public.

EFF is a donor-funded nonprofit and depends on your support to continue successfully defending your digital rights. Litigation is particularly expensive; because two-thirds of our budget comes from individual donors, every contribution is critical to helping EFF fight — and win — more cases.

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Camera paranoia

| October 10, 2011 | 5 Replies
Camera paranoia

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.

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