ACLU: Know Your Rights: Photographers

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Mike, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. Mike

    Mike Guest

    http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/know-your-rights-photographers

    Taking photographs of things that are plainly visible from public spaces
    is a constitutional right ā€“ and that includes federal buildings,
    transportation facilities, and police and other government officials
    carrying out their duties. Unfortunately, there is a widespread,
    continuing pattern of law enforcement officers ordering people to stop
    taking photographs from public places, and harassing, detaining and
    arresting those who fail to comply.


    When in public spaces where you are lawfully present you have the right
    to photograph anything that is in plain view. That includes pictures of
    federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police. Such
    photography is a form of public oversight over the government and is
    important in a free society.
    When you are on private property, the property owner may set rules about
    the taking of photographs. If you disobey the property owner's rules,
    they can order you off their property (and have you arrested for
    trespassing if you do not comply).
    Police officers may not generally confiscate or demand to view your
    photographs or video without a warrant. If you are arrested, the
    contents of your phone may be scrutinized by the police, although their
    constitutional power to do so remains unsettled. In addition, it is
    possible that courts may approve the seizure of a camera in some
    circumstances if police have a reasonable, good-faith belief that it
    contains evidence of a crime by someone other than the police themselves
    (it is unsettled whether they still need a warrant to view them).
    Police may not delete your photographs or video under any circumstances.
    Police officers may legitimately order citizens to cease activities that
    are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations.
    Professional officers, however, realize that such operations are subject
    to public scrutiny, including by citizens photographing them.
    Note that the right to photograph does not give you a right to break any
    other laws. For example, if you are trespassing to take photographs, you
    may still be charged with trespass.
    If you are stopped or detained for taking photographs:

    Always remain polite and never physically resist a police officer.
    If stopped for photography, the right question to ask is, "am I free to
    go?" If the officer says no, then you are being detained, something that
    under the law an officer cannot do without reasonable suspicion that you
    have or are about to commit a crime or are in the process of doing so.
    Until you ask to leave, your being stopped is considered voluntary under
    the law and is legal.
    If you are detained, politely ask what crime you are suspected of
    committing, and remind the officer that taking photographs is your right
    under the First Amendment and does not constitute reasonable suspicion
    of criminal activity.

    Special considerations when videotaping:

    With regards to videotaping, there is an important legal distinction
    between a visual photographic record (fully protected) and the audio
    portion of a videotape, which some states have tried to regulate under
    state wiretapping laws.

    Such laws are generally intended to accomplish the important
    privacy-protecting goal of prohibiting audio "bugging" of private
    conversations. However, in nearly all cases audio recording the police
    is legal.
    In states that allow recording with the consent of just one party to the
    conversation, you can tape your own interactions with officers without
    violating wiretap statutes (since you are one of the parties).
    In situations where you are an observer but not a part of the
    conversation, or in states where all parties to a conversation must
    consent to taping, the legality of taping will depend on whether the
    state's prohibition on taping applies only when there is a reasonable
    expectation of privacy. But that is the case in nearly all states, and
    no state court has held that police officers performing their job in
    public have a reasonable expectation. The state of Illinois makes the
    recording illegal regardless of whether there is an expectation of
    privacy, but the ACLU of Illinois is challenging that statute in court
    as a violation of the First Amendment.
    The ACLU believes that laws that ban the taping of public officials'
    public statements without their consent violate the First Amendment. A
    summary of state wiretapping laws can be found here.
    Photography at the airport

    Photography has also served as an important check on government power in
    the airline security context.

    The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) acknowledges that photography
    is permitted in and around airline security checkpoints as long as
    you're not interfering with the screening process. The agency does ask
    that its security monitors not be photographed, though it is not clear
    whether they have any legal basis for such a restriction when the
    monitors are plainly viewable by the traveling public.

    The TSA also warns that local or airport regulations may impose
    restrictions that the TSA does not. It is difficult to determine if any
    localities or airport authorities actually have such rules. If you are
    told you cannot take photographs in an airport you should ask what the
    legal authority for that rule is.

    The ACLU does not believe that restrictions on photography in the public
    areas of publicly operated airports are constitutional.
     
    Mike, Sep 9, 2011
    #1
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  2. Mike

    John A. Guest

    On Fri, 09 Sep 2011 18:58:49 -0400, Mike <> wrote:

    >http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/know-your-rights-photographers
    >
    >Taking photographs of things that are plainly visible from public spaces
    >is a constitutional right ā€“ and that includes federal buildings,
    >transportation facilities, and police and other government officials
    >carrying out their duties. Unfortunately, there is a widespread,
    >continuing pattern of law enforcement officers ordering people to stop
    >taking photographs from public places, and harassing, detaining and
    >arresting those who fail to comply.
    >
    >
    >When in public spaces where you are lawfully present you have the right
    >to photograph anything that is in plain view. That includes pictures of
    >federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police. Such
    >photography is a form of public oversight over the government and is
    >important in a free society.
    >When you are on private property, the property owner may set rules about
    >the taking of photographs. If you disobey the property owner's rules,
    >they can order you off their property (and have you arrested for
    >trespassing if you do not comply).
    >Police officers may not generally confiscate or demand to view your
    >photographs or video without a warrant. If you are arrested, the
    >contents of your phone may be scrutinized by the police, although their
    >constitutional power to do so remains unsettled. In addition, it is
    >possible that courts may approve the seizure of a camera in some
    >circumstances if police have a reasonable, good-faith belief that it
    >contains evidence of a crime by someone other than the police themselves
    >(it is unsettled whether they still need a warrant to view them).
    >Police may not delete your photographs or video under any circumstances.
    >Police officers may legitimately order citizens to cease activities that
    >are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations.
    >Professional officers, however, realize that such operations are subject
    >to public scrutiny, including by citizens photographing them.
    >Note that the right to photograph does not give you a right to break any
    >other laws. For example, if you are trespassing to take photographs, you
    >may still be charged with trespass.
    >If you are stopped or detained for taking photographs:
    >
    >Always remain polite and never physically resist a police officer.
    >If stopped for photography, the right question to ask is, "am I free to
    >go?" If the officer says no, then you are being detained, something that
    >under the law an officer cannot do without reasonable suspicion that you
    >have or are about to commit a crime or are in the process of doing so.
    >Until you ask to leave, your being stopped is considered voluntary under
    >the law and is legal.
    >If you are detained, politely ask what crime you are suspected of
    >committing, and remind the officer that taking photographs is your right
    >under the First Amendment and does not constitute reasonable suspicion
    >of criminal activity.
    >
    >Special considerations when videotaping:
    >
    >With regards to videotaping, there is an important legal distinction
    >between a visual photographic record (fully protected) and the audio
    >portion of a videotape, which some states have tried to regulate under
    >state wiretapping laws.
    >
    >Such laws are generally intended to accomplish the important
    >privacy-protecting goal of prohibiting audio "bugging" of private
    >conversations. However, in nearly all cases audio recording the police
    >is legal.
    >In states that allow recording with the consent of just one party to the
    >conversation, you can tape your own interactions with officers without
    >violating wiretap statutes (since you are one of the parties).
    >In situations where you are an observer but not a part of the
    >conversation, or in states where all parties to a conversation must
    >consent to taping, the legality of taping will depend on whether the
    >state's prohibition on taping applies only when there is a reasonable
    >expectation of privacy. But that is the case in nearly all states, and
    >no state court has held that police officers performing their job in
    >public have a reasonable expectation. The state of Illinois makes the
    >recording illegal regardless of whether there is an expectation of
    >privacy, but the ACLU of Illinois is challenging that statute in court
    >as a violation of the First Amendment.
    >The ACLU believes that laws that ban the taping of public officials'
    >public statements without their consent violate the First Amendment. A
    >summary of state wiretapping laws can be found here.
    >Photography at the airport
    >
    >Photography has also served as an important check on government power in
    >the airline security context.
    >
    >The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) acknowledges that photography
    >is permitted in and around airline security checkpoints as long as
    >you're not interfering with the screening process. The agency does ask
    >that its security monitors not be photographed, though it is not clear
    >whether they have any legal basis for such a restriction when the
    >monitors are plainly viewable by the traveling public.
    >
    >The TSA also warns that local or airport regulations may impose
    >restrictions that the TSA does not. It is difficult to determine if any
    >localities or airport authorities actually have such rules. If you are
    >told you cannot take photographs in an airport you should ask what the
    >legal authority for that rule is.
    >
    >The ACLU does not believe that restrictions on photography in the public
    >areas of publicly operated airports are constitutional.


    The Simon Glik case should make things interesting.
    http://www.ca1.uscourts.gov/pdf.opinions/10-1764P-01A.pdf
     
    John A., Sep 10, 2011
    #2
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  3. Mike

    Robert Coe Guest

    On Fri, 09 Sep 2011 21:46:06 -0400, John A. <> wrote:
    : On Fri, 09 Sep 2011 18:58:49 -0400, Mike <> wrote:
    :
    : >http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/know-your-rights-photographers
    : >
    : >[Text of the article omitted]
    :
    : The Simon Glik case should make things interesting.
    : http://www.ca1.uscourts.gov/pdf.opinions/10-1764P-01A.pdf

    Well, maybe. But note that the Glick case doesn't bear on Glick's right to
    record the arrest, only on his right to sue the officers individually for
    harrassing him about it. So even if this ruling were to be overturned by the
    Supreme Court, a photographer's right to record an arrest on the Boston Common
    would stand.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Sep 10, 2011
    #3
  4. Elliott Roper <> writes:

    > Lawyer jokes are fashionable, and I have enjoyed and told a few, but
    > Americans should be proud of the way their court upheld the
    > Constitution in that judgement.


    My best source of lawyer jokes is a lawyer friend of mine. Though
    sometimes they get sophisticated enough I need to have them explained to
    me :).
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Sep 10, 2011
    #4
  5. Mike

    Richard Guest

    David Dyer-Bennet wrote:
    > Elliott Roper <> writes:
    >
    >> Lawyer jokes are fashionable, and I have enjoyed and told a few, but
    >> Americans should be proud of the way their court upheld the
    >> Constitution in that judgement.

    >
    > My best source of lawyer jokes is a lawyer friend of mine. Though
    > sometimes they get sophisticated enough I need to have them explained
    > to me :).


    and it's at that point he bills you for the time....
    ;-)
     
    Richard, Sep 21, 2011
    #5
  6. Mike

    PeterN Guest

    On 9/21/2011 12:39 PM, Richard wrote:
    > David Dyer-Bennet wrote:
    >> Elliott Roper<> writes:
    >>
    >>> Lawyer jokes are fashionable, and I have enjoyed and told a few, but
    >>> Americans should be proud of the way their court upheld the
    >>> Constitution in that judgement.

    >>
    >> My best source of lawyer jokes is a lawyer friend of mine. Though
    >> sometimes they get sophisticated enough I need to have them explained
    >> to me :).

    >
    > and it's at that point he bills you for the time....
    > ;-)
    >
    >


    The most frequent lie told by a lawyer is:
    I'm sorry you're having this problem.

    --
    Peter
     
    PeterN, Sep 21, 2011
    #6
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