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Old July 22nd, 2004, 04:56 PM   #1
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Questioning of Photo Student Challenged

You may want to read this article if you take pictures or shoot video.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...her_questioned
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Old July 22nd, 2004, 05:22 PM   #2
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Wow! Thanks for posting this.

I know this forum is not the place for political discussion, so I'll confine myself to saying that all of us, not just videographers and photographers, should take stories like this one very, very seriously.
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Old July 22nd, 2004, 05:45 PM   #3
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Doesn't it state "the land of the free" in your national anthem?
Sigh...
Although Canada doesn't have secret police, err... Homeland Security, things here aren't much better either. Some of you might have read a post of mine about nearly getting kicked off the subway system in Toronto for taking a picture.... At least I know my rights and would have told them to talk to my lawyer, unlike that poor guy in the story.
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Old July 22nd, 2004, 05:51 PM   #4
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I heard that.
It seems that the terrorist have in fact changed the way we live here in America.
Pre 9-11, this would have not been an issue.
Ever since I bought my AT 897, I've been wanting for a longtime to capture the audio of a train speeding by, but I always worried that something like this might happen to me.
I felt this way ever since I read Adrian Douglas' post in September '03.
Compare the similarities in these stories
here http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...merica+article

What should photographers and the like do? Wear a sign that reads I'm not a terrorist. Or please don't arrest me, I'm a student!

Sorry if that was too political, but if we just sit back and allow this to continue, where will we be in the next 10-20 years?
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Old July 22nd, 2004, 05:56 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Bernard Diaz : Sorry if that was too political, but if we just sit back and allow this to continue, where will we be in the next 10-20 years? -->>>

Alive and not blown up by a terrorist.
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Old July 22nd, 2004, 06:01 PM   #6
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Old July 22nd, 2004, 06:14 PM   #7
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<<<--Alive and not blown up by a terrorist.-->>>

Where there is a will there is a way. If it's going to happen it's going to happen. There are hundreds of available photographs of buildings bridges etc. on the internet, libraries etc.
Does anyone really think that a terrorist would take the time to set up a tripod and take a fancy shot of a building or bridge etc...?
I think that that they would tri to be a bit more inconspicuous.
If it was me, I would have shown my ID, but the student here didn't want to. Is he wrong?

Lets use a little bit of common sense.
PS
I have the upmost respect to law enforcement officials.
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Old July 22nd, 2004, 06:32 PM   #8
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I've already sent Bernard a private email with an apology, but thought I should make it right here also.

I shouldn't have popped off so quickly in reply to his post. I'm just overly sensitive on this topic due to a personal situation. Clouded my judgement, shouldn't have lashed out.
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Old July 22nd, 2004, 09:13 PM   #9
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This is old news actually. iirc, the hijackers DID take pictures of the WTC from several different angles.

Nevertheless, I don't see how this sort of action prevents such things. It could be an overreaction to what happened but it's sad.

BTW, the problem occured by photographing a national landmark, I believe, and this is still just a sensitive area. Homeland Security is not a "secret police". They work around national landmarks in conjunction with the regular police.
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Old July 22nd, 2004, 10:32 PM   #10
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As you might imagine, this has been a hot topic on the big photography forums, too. The mix of reactions there has been fairly identical to here, just on a larger scale.

Here in Chicago, we recently had a similar incident where a "suspicious student" photographer near my home was detained and his film was inspected. The incident was not blasted across the press as the Seattle incident was.

My feelings are mixed and personal. On the one hand, as an active photographer I certainly would not want to be constantly hassled while shooting in public places. I very often shoot city scenes and prominent buildings and have avoided trouble thus far. Although I admit to often being a bit self-conscious and sometimes approach the ever-present police directly to say hello and make sure they know I'm there and that I know that they know I'm there.

On the other hand I want suspicious activity to be investigated appropriately. I live two doors from one of the most prominent potential terrorist targets in North America. My neighborhood is the city's front yard. So I have to say that I find an ambitious law enforcement presence somewhat comforting, although I have few illusions that it would prevent a determined, well-planned initiative.
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Old July 23rd, 2004, 01:06 AM   #11
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Ken, suspicious activity is something that citizens should be mindful of. That means you and me. The people now disgraced by the 9/11 Report were proved to be incompetent and/or unprepared. The only people in that report who were praised 100% were the passengers on that flight who tried to take it back from the hijackers. So, I don't trust any faceless Agent Smith to snoop around. To me it is a fool's bargain to give away your rights hoping someone will protect you. In fact, I want photographers and videographers all over the place. Having all these eyes watching will only make it safer.
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Old July 23rd, 2004, 02:10 AM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dylan Couper : Doesn't it state "the land of the free" in your national anthem?
Sigh...
Although Canada doesn't have secret police, err... Homeland Security, -->>>

Maybe you should.

I was questioned a couple of months ago by Port Security in downtown San Diego after shooting some shots of the aircraft carriers with my DVX.

At first glance I felt harrassed but on the brighter side I have nothing to hide and these guys/girls are just doing their job. One day during a routine questioning of a 'touristy photographer' they'll stumble across someone/something.

In fact questioning is not harrassment at all.
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Old July 23rd, 2004, 09:25 AM   #13
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What rights were given up? Without re-reading the article, I don't believe he was detained, locked up, or his film taken away. They only recorded who he was in case he was found to be "someone". Irritating and inconvenient but these problems were caused by events from outside sources. It is not an internal "government control conspiracy by the secret police", if you will.

This is similar to a bank hold up. When a bank is robbed they keep a cop in the place for several days afterwards because they tend to be robbed a second time soon after. If Canada had a plane ram into their capital building, I'm sure things would change rapidly there, too.
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Old July 23rd, 2004, 11:53 AM   #14
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elvez

the right to not have to provide ID for one.
Police Can only ask for it if you are a witness to a crime, or a suspect in a crime.
Its quite obvious that these officers knew there was no crime committed.

the right of standing in a public place for another.

As a former photojournalist, all right, TV news photog, this has been going on since the dawn of ENG (ELECTRONIC NEWS GATHERING). Us guys have always had to fight to be in a public place during events. Someplaces authority departments actually teach this form of obstrution as a way to keep the photographer busy explaining his rights instead of covering the event.

go to NPPA.org for many more instances of this kind of suppresion.

If not you, who?
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Old July 23rd, 2004, 11:55 AM   #15
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What rights were given up?
As a matter of law, these kinds of things can be considered to have a "chilling effect" on speech and, for that reason, unconstitutional. As a case in point, there is a scene in Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" where he is shooting an interview on a public street in front of the Watergate. Behind him, across the street and several hundred feet down, happens to be the Saudi embassy. In the middle of filming, a number of Secret Service agents show up. One of them approaches Moore, identifies himself, apparently recognizes Moore, and politely asks him, "Mr. Moore, could you tell me what you're doing? Are you making a documentary?" Moore said that he was. The agent asked, "Is it about Saudi Arabia?" Moore said that it wasn't, though the Saudis were mentioned. I wouldn't have told the agent -- the First Amendment precludes such a question. The fact that a federal police agency would show up and start asking questions about the CONTENT of Moore's film is the most frightening thing I've ever seen.
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