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Human, mother, wife, home educator, learner, photographer, writer, reader, mind reader, critic, defender, champion.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

I Am Not A Terrorist

I carry cards around with me in my camera bag clearly stating photographers' rights should any over-zealous CSOs or police officers stop me taking photos. As it is, I have only been stopped by CSOs once, and it wasn't really the kind of confrontation that I could really get my teeth into. It is also useful to have these cards when members of the public ask me what I'm doing. There seems to be an assumed right to privacy, even in a public place. If this were so, CCTV would be illegal. While CCTV has been invaluable in catching criminals, we mustn't be fooled into thinking that these cameras are only there for our safety. They are used to spy on our every move because we are not trusted by our government. People often say things like, if you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to fear. But there is proof everywhere to the contrary, not least in Monaxle's experience in Chatham High Street in July this year. This government is slowly eroding our human rights, including civil rights, and overturning the legal right of presumption of innocence (until proven guilty).

This is what is written on my cards:

Photographers' Rights

You are reminded that under UK law, there are no restrictions on taking photographs in a public place or on photography of individuals, whether they are adults or minors. There is no right to privacy in a public place, although photographers are of course subject to the usual libel laws in the same way as any other citizen and should observe them. Equipment or film may not be confiscated, or images deleted by any person or officer unless a warrant for such action is issued. Any attempt without a warrant is considered assault under UK law.

"Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither" - Ben Franklin

But it seems I will have to add:

The Terrorism Act

The Terrorism Act 2000 does not prohibit people from taking photographs or digital images in an area where an authority under section 44 is in place. Officers should not prevent people taking photographs unless they are in an area where photography is prevented by other legislation.

If officers reasonably suspect that photographs are being taken as part of hostile terrorist reconnaissance, a search under section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 or an arrest should be considered. Film and memory cards may be seized as part of the search, but officers do not have a legal power to delete images or destroy film. Although images may be viewed as part of a search, to preserve evidence when cameras or other devices are seized, officers should not normally attempt to examine them.

Cameras and other devices should be left in the state they were found and forwarded to appropriately trained staff for forensic examination. The person being searched should never be asked or allowed to turn the device on or off because of the danger of evidence being lost or damaged.

Looks like I'm going to need bigger cards.

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