Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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The Right to Bear Cameras

Thanks to Charles Mohapel and to Cheryl for passing this on to me.

Photographer Hassled for Taking Photos on Public Property

While I have never been told, "You're not allowed to take photos here," I know of numerous stories of people (mostly railroad related) being told by various authorities from private security to city police officers being hassled or even arrested for engaging in completely lawful activity. Or at least we think it's lawful. Since 9/11, police have apparently trotted out "it's against the law to shoot photos of any transportation facility," but are unable to cite such laws when pressed. Maybe it's one of the "secret laws" that seem to have proliferated in the wake of the establishment of the Department of Fatherland Security.

I'm glad there are people out there willing to take on Security Culture still. I've taken photos of trains, streetcars, etc., but have never been told it's not allowed. Now, railroads have the right to enforce their property rights. I've walked along the access roads paralleling railroads, and anyone from the railroad could order me off those privately-owned roads at any time. But as long as I'm on public property, as far as I know, nobody can (yet) prohibit me from taking photos of passing trains.

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