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A disturbing trend

Recently I wrote about people being harassed by police officers for taking photographs in public. Now, through perusing my referrer logs, I just happened to stumble across this account of an attorney who endured a similar indignity here in New Jersey. Check it out.


And I believe there's a law in NJ forbidding people from taking photos of the Turnpike! And it's such a 'pretty' road.....


JMK will be here any second to explain how police have every right to question, detain, cavity search, and waterboard "suspicious" people.

If you are innocent, what's the problem?

The NYPD has, since 9/11 enforced various photo bans around NYC. You can't take photos of various bridges, reservois, public buildings, in the subways, etc.

Officials claim that without such an all-encompassing ban, they would not have the right to question and detain "Arab &/or Muslim men from doing the same thing"...."and then all hell could break loose."

Most of these bans have been in place in NYC since the aftermath of 9/11...I don't know about the bans in NJ. They are local, rather than national matters.

Here are some articles on the subject;

Ban on Subway Photography Prompts Underground Protest


"At a protest by photographers, you see things like a guy taking pictures of a guy taking pictures of a few more guys taking pictures of one another.

There was such a protest yesterday, but it might take hundreds of pages to describe it, given all the pictures that were taken, each one worth at least a thousand words.

The photographers - about 100 of them - gathered to express their outrage at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's proposed ban on taking pictures in the subway system. Meeting at Grand Central Terminal, they rode the trains for upward of an hour, shutters clicking, flashes popping, in a filmed rebuke to the idea that photography is somehow a national security threat.

"The point is really to make everyday people wake up and realize that photographers are not terrorists," said Joe Anastasio, who organized the event. "In the last few years, photographers near anything vaguely important have been getting harassed."

Mr. Anastasio went on to tell the story of a friend who took his wife's picture near the Whitestone Bridge, only to be called in for questioning by the police. He told another of a man caught snapping pictures at a Metro-North station who was interrogated for nearly two hours by authorities at the scene.

"The paranoia," he said, "has gone a little too far."

The transit authority's proposal, posted on its Web site, says the agency is planning to adopt "a general prohibition against photography and videotaping in the system." The agency is soliciting public comment on the ban and plans to vote on the proposal in the next few months.

"It's a security measure," said a spokeswoman for the agency, Deirdre Parker. "It was suggested by the N.Y.P.D."


For subway riders, it turns out that rule was in place long before 9/11.

The text of the notification is as follows: ...in light recent national and international events that have underscored the need for heightened security measures throughout the transit system, a reinstatement of a prohibition that existed until the early 1990's against photography, filming, and video recording in transit facilities and on transit conveyances without prior authorization except for members of the press.... Consideration was given to restricting photography, etc. of sensitive areas only. However it was felt that a less restrictive approach would not yield the necessary security enhancements and given the nature of the activities in question enforcement of a rule which required law enforcement personnel to make a judgement of the precise subject matter being photographed would be highly problematic. -- NYS Register, November 24, 2004, pp. 15-16.

Text of the new rule: 1050.9.c. No photograph, film or video recording shall be made or taken on or in any conveyance or facility by any person, except members of the press holding valid press identification cards issued by the New York City Police Department or by others duly authorized in writing to engage in such activity by the authority. All photographic activity must be conducted in accordance with the provisions of this Part.

The 45 day comment period closes January 8th. Submit comments to David Goldenberg, New York City Transit Authority, 130 Livingston Street, Room 1207, Brooklyn NY 11201, 718-694-5454.

In the New York Times on May 21, 2004 NYCT spokesman Charles F. Seaton was quick to point out that press card holders are exempt, and "commercial enterprises" with "legitimate needs" would be allowed to take pictures with permission obtained in advance. But that's the same as the CURRENT policy for press and commercial enterprises. Given that the MTA charges for commercial photo and film shoots, they want to make it clear that they are not going to sacrifice a revenue stream in the name of enhanced security. We can all see what that means: "Individuals don't have big business to support them. We can hassle them with impunity!"

A secondary reason for such a ban which is mentioned frequently is that they are trying to prevent documentation of real security risks, shoddy working conditions, safety hazards, lazy workers, and other more serious rules violations. This may be a minor side effect but one must consider possible hidden agendas.

AND it's not only places like NY and for reasons like 9/11 that photos are restricted in some areas;

Missouri ban on farm photos


Mo. House OKs Ban on Barn Photos

May 16, 2002 By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- "Taking aim at animal rights activists and undercover reporters, the Missouri House has passed a measure that would make it a crime to take pictures of animals in barns without an owner's permission.

The ban would apply to still or motion pictures of farm animals in barns or other areas where they are housed. Photographers could be sentenced to up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

The animal photography measure was added to a larger agriculture bill. It now goes back to the Senate, which on Monday night had added a similar provision to a House-passed bill.

Rep. Ken Legan, who sponsored the House amendment, said he doesn't approve of photographers on a mission to expose the supposed evils of farming. His amendment also would apply to animal-breeding facilities or any place that houses animals for agricultural, business or research purposes.

“They'd like to come in and take pictures and say how bad it is when in actuality (the animals) have never had it so good,'' Legan said.

Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company


For Barely's edification, since ALL these bans are enacted locally, they are not a national matter, nor something nitwits can blame on the current administration.

In short, at least in NYC, feel free to take it up with the NYPD. I'm certain they'd be more than willing to explain their reasoning.

LOL! Told you.

As usual Barely you're wrong. As the post you apparently didn't read attests;

Local muicipalities are charged with protecting the public space within those locales.

Ergo, there has been no federal law restricting taking photos in public.

In NYC the NYPD has asked for and gotten restrictions on taking photos in many areas without permits (written permission) and the MTA has reinstituted their policy against taking photos in the subway.

Those local municipalities have the right, by law, to restrict photos of bridges, highways, reservoirs, train hubs and other areas deemed "sensitive."

There's nothing new about that, nor anything there that you can use to attack the current administration with.

Sure JMK, why don't you unleash another 50,000 word torrent of incoherent babble to try and explain away our changing nation. Habeas corpus is not longer a guarentee after 500 years, and now you can't take innocent pictures if the government says so.

Get back to practicing your goose step, your time might be near!

So its ok for them to install cameras on every street corner but we cant take pictures??

Great point Toad. Doesn't the public at least half-assedly "own" these public spaces? Photograhing crap on the street is a great pasttime of mine and this shit is bugging me too. Uppity rent-a-cops etc...I understand there is a serious need to monitor suspicious activity, but cameras on every corner is obviously too far!

Apparently Barely you fail to understand that Municipalities are empowered to enact such restrictions as part of their duties in providing protection for the public.

Of course, none of that was instituted by the federal government and the local courts COULD toss such bans out.

It hasn't happened in NYC, up to this point...but it could.

Sorry, JMK, everybody knows that this is wrong. It started with Bush. You lose again.

Again, ALL such bans have been enacted by local Municipalities.

The current administration hever passed, nor even endorsed such a ban.

It is highly unlikely that the courts in NY are going to overturn the MTA's and the city's bans on photographing items they deem "sensitive."

The question before the court isn't "Is it morally right," it's "Do local Municipalities have the right to enact such bans in the name of public safety?"

They are two very different questions.

The first, whether such bans are "right" or "wrong" is unanswerable.

Police say it's morally right and necessary, while amateur photogs say it's wrong."

Thankfully, the courts merely have to decide whether local governments have the authority to enact such bans in the name of public safety.

I don't see the courts ruling that they don't have that authority.

And don't plan on taking any pix of animals in barns in Missouri, either. As noted in my post above, they've passed a law banning that in response to "animal rights" terrorists.

I am against both "animal rights" terrorists and "you want to be safe, don't you?" traitors.

The government is not our keeper. We are not supposed to be oppressed by our government for our own good.

I'm afraid most Americans don't even get it anymore.

Nonsense! No Americans are "oppressed by their government."

I want to "free the police to do their jobs."

The NYPD had a great recruitment ad a while back with a tag line, "I'm the NYPD and YOU are my job."

It was dropped because it offended a lot of people - I suppose a lot of criminal sympathizing people.

I once opposed "more intrusive police procedures," like random raodway DUI checks, "stop & frisks" in various "high crime" nabes, thousands of new street corner cameras and "Buy & Busts," but then I saw Bill Bratton work his magic on the streets of NYC, cutting the murder rate, which had toppped 2,000 under Liberal David Dinkins, to under 500! They work to well for me to oppose and besides, I honestly forget why I had opposed them.

Yeah, I'll admit that - I forgot why I ever opposed such things.

The Giuliani administration didn't "stamp on anyone's rights," they constantly assured New Yorker's they didn't, they merely made it easier for cops to "do their jobs" and easier for them to gain access to the evidence they need to make criminal cases prosecutable.

You DON'T have a "right" to either do, or sell drugs in NYC.

You DON'T have a "right" to carry unregistered firearms in NYC.

You DON'T have a "right" to drink and drive in NYC.

You DON'T have a "right" to assault, rape and/or murder others in NYC...and Bill Bratton's more intrusive police techniques made all those things infinitely harder to get away with.

It was inevitable that his innovative appraoch to crime would be carried to the national level, no matter who got elected.

If those opposed to these things had a case to make, I'm quite certain that someone...anyone (?) would've made it by now.

How come no one can???

Could it be that maybe they've forgotten why they opposed these things too?

Our founding fathers did not trust authority the way you do. They wanted checks and balances, and oversight.

Bush has pushed through legislation that de-criminalizes his refusal to allow checks on his power, removes oversight, and allows him to completely strip American citizens of all rights with two words: enemy combatant.

He doesn't have to prove this. You don't get a day in court.

You trust Bush, and all future Presidents, not to abuse this power.

I don't.

America's Founders DID indeed trust the courts and the police to do their jobs...as they enshrined their excellent work with the phrase "to insure domestic security."

Wow, desperate.

Just take your loss gracefully, you should be used to them by now.

Again, America's Founders did indeed trust in police powers and did so by enshrining those powers as one of the few "legitimate functions of government" - "to insure domestic tranquility," minting and coining money and the military were the other most prominentfunctions.

CAN police powers be abused?


Are they?

In this country, the answer is RARELY.

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