Monday, May 23, 2005

Is photography becoming illegal in the United States?

Could taking an picture like this be considered "suspicious activity"?

If you pull out a camera on a New Jersey train, you will have company - law enforcement company. If you size up a shot on the New York subway, you'll probably be questioned by security and told to keep the lens cap tightly on. Even if you plan to snap some innocuous bank building from a public sidewalk, you might find guards telling you it's not allowed.

Ms. Calzada offers the example of a small-town photojournalist in Victoria, Texas, who was taking shots of potholes for a newspaper story last year when a police officer drove by several times. Finally, the officer stopped and questioned him and, even after running an ID check, bluntly declared the photographer's actions suspicious and intimated he'd be keeping an eye on him, the photographer recalls.

The USA Patriot Act, with its broad definition of "suspicious activity," has cracked the door wider to individual interpretation.

[Thanks to Maria for the tip]


>>>>>> Anonymous Andrew Waks said...

These broad rulings within laws are starting to become frighteningly common, and as long as the government is completely, or even 2/3, controlled by the Republicans, they're going to keep being abused. While even the founding fathers used some broad terms (reasonable cause), people have been undeniably careful in following this. While the Patriot Act may be a good idea in theory, it's clauses like this one that allow the Republicans to take their power and twist and turn it to fit whatever whim or fantasy they may wish for.

Rock on.

5/25/2005 7:27 PM  

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