back to article Photography: Yes, you have rights

Government claims to uphold the right of good upstanding Englishmen with cameras to snap whenever and wherever they please took a knock last week, with the publication of a letter from the Home Office setting out when these rights might be curtailed. Vernon Coaker, the Minister for Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and …


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  1. David Hicks

    Same old, same old...

    Rights? What do you mean rights?

    No, you have permissions we grant you and can take away whenever we, your ruling elite, feel like it.

    I'm feeling more and more like a serf every day. Pump up the tax a bit more and I'm basically indentured labour anyway.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Oen law for us....

    "...photographers accompanying demonstrations go out of their way to ‘wind up’ individual police offices by aggressive use of their cameras....."

    However it is fine for the Police to photograph and store images of protesters, even when not commiting any offence....

    which surely leads to the risk of escalating and problems.....ooops forgot...One law etc etc

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You only have rights until they're inconvenient to those in power.

    Just ask the Jews in Nazi Germany, or the Japanese in WW2 America, or them folks in Gitmo bay, where were their rights when they needed them? Yoink, nowhere - coz you ain't really got any rights. You got the right to shut the hell up and do what the biggest number of guys with the most number of guns god damn well tells you to do.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why Be Charitable?

    This is a Zanu Labour drone we're talking about here, of course there is an ulterior motive!

  5. Sooty

    aggressive use of their cameras???

    I can think of a few agressive uses of a camera, but none that actually involve taking photos. How is it possible to intimidate a poilice officer by taking photo's of them

    This should be so simple, allow photo's to be taken, but put the restrictions on commerical publication like the rest of the civilised world. If you want an exemption, such as paparazzi, to sell/publish a picture without the persons permission then you have to apply for some sort of permit or licence.

  6. Simon Buttress
    Thumb Up

    @ Captain Jamie

    "Zanu Labour drone"

    f'in lolz

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Steve

    Re: aggressive use of their cameras???

    It basically means taking the tactics that they (Forward Intelligence Teams) use against you and turning them round on the police. Namely following people around and filming/photographing them continuously, noting down any names or distinguishing features and then handing out spotter cards at the next demo.

  9. Nic Brough
    Black Helicopters


    >Aggressive use of their cameras?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The only protection we have against totalitarianism is the ability to hold up the police and other governmental organisations to scrutiny by the masses. We need to know when they're being brutal, over bearing or oppressive. We need to know when they are on the take, covering up or framing people. We need to know when they are incompetant, selfish, or even just being a little bit human and making mistakes. It doesn't matter what it is, the police need to be watched.

    The right to monitor the police in the execution of their duties, under any circumstances, should be high on the list of fundamental human rights.

    Simply put, the police need to be watched, and should never have any right to stop us watching them.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    "some photographers accompanying demonstrations go out of their way to ‘wind up’ individual police offices by aggressive use of their cameras."

    At a demo against the planned wholesale surveillance law (!) in Munich, Germany, a FOAF was asked if he would like to be arrested after taking photos ( - the link has the wrong year, it was 2008) of the plain-clothes cops eyeballing the protesters from the sidelines. No sense of irony.

  11. Alistair

    What about spaces that are not public?

    A couple of weeks ago I was challenged by a security guard for taking photos of a large plastic hippo sculpture in a retail park. The flouro jacketed killjoy muttered something about Mumbai.

    This was apparently private land, but does it qualify as a public space?

  12. dervheid
    Thumb Down

    yet another...

    little bit of your 'freedom' taken away by the NuLabouria Stazi.

    "Papers, Citizen!"

  13. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: Re: aggressive use of their cameras???

    Please go ahead, you'll get in no end of trouble, but then I suspect you're the kind of waster with plenty of time on your hands. Believe me, the Police have more than enough serious crime to deal with wihtout morons like you, do you think the coppers actually want to be out on demos arresting well-meaning-but-incureably-stupid people like you? They have much better ways to spend their time, namely investigating and preventing crimes that affect the public, rather than wasting time on you and whatever pet griveance you and your trendy mates have decided to support this week. If you want to make a real difference why don't you volunteer to be a Special Constable and seeing what it is like, but then I doubt you'd have the mental capabilities to get in.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    From the article you cite:

    The sheriff said: "I'm going to impose a fine to remind him chivalry is not dead and when somebody is in distress you leave them to it."

    So chivalry is defined as _not_ kicking people in the head when they're down. Just let them die in peace.

    Also, ""The lady concerned was entitled to her privacy and not to have a passing stranger take a photograph," said the sheriff. ". Maybe she shouldn't have puked her partially digested beer on his feet then.

    All in all, this letter confirms that police officers (and probably any rent-a-cop) can prevent you from taking pics for no actual reason other than you looking a bit funny. They apparently still can't legally steal you camera and/or destroy your pics though.

  15. Blubster

    "This may be on the grounds of national..... or .there may be situations in which the taking of photographs may cause or lead to public order situations or inflame an already tense situation or raise security considerations."

    Or when photos show evidence of police brutality or the shooting of innocent un-armed civilians.

  16. Mike Shepherd

    It's probably wise...

    It's probably wise for governments (and those otherwise hopelessly outnumbered) to note what happens when many people believe that the police do not act in their interest (as in Greece).

  17. Bad Beaver
    Paris Hilton

    the gals are not well...

    As far as I was told, it is pretty hard NOT to take a picture of drinks moving in the wrong direction when pressing the trigger in public Edinburgh after sunset. On the other hand, it is not nice to upset a damsel in distress this way, not at all. Being arrested for said activity is way over the top nonetheless.

    Oh, and the rest... what rights DO out British comrades have then, other than to comply with whatever they are being told when the issue arises? It's all a wee bit wishi washi if you ask me.

  18. Pete Silver badge

    so who's going to tell the tourists?

    Can you imagine what would happen if guides like Fodor's started putting warnings in their books along the lines of "remember, if you take photographs in London, you could be arrested for any one of a number of offences" and then a gentle reminder that the police can detain anyone for up to 28 days without the need to charge them.

    Apart from being a stark warning to the millions of visitors to the UK, it would be an extreme, if well deserved, embarrassment to the govt and would have everyone in the tourism trade screaming. Given the mangnanamous and caring image that the govt will be promoting for the olympics, something like this would act as a reality check of the worst kind, for every foreigner who was planning to come over for that event.

  19. h4rm0ny
    Paris Hilton

    The other side.

    Got to say though, that if my girlfriend was drunk and throwing up in the street, I wouldn't want some random bloke coming up and filming her with a camera. And for those who are thinking "my girlfriend would never get drunk and throw up in the street", it doesn't really matter. Even if she's absolutely fine and just sitting in the park, would it not bother her if some random bloke comes up and starts videoing her? Isn't it quite possible that the police were right to stop that person from filming the poor girl?

    Paris, because sometimes you choose to have personal things recorded and sometimes you don't. The operative word is choice.

  20. Stewart Haywood

    If the police have done nothing wrong.....

    They have nothing to be afraid of.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    What rights?

    If the police have the power to determine when and where photos can be taken, it's an absolute certainty they will abuse the privilege when it suits them. Maybe they should be required to issue photographers with an official notification so the reasons can be recorded and reviewed later.

    As for the "lady" in Edinburgh, if she doesn't mind spewing on the footpath why should she worry about recording the event for posterity. She should post the photo on her Facebook as a reminder of a great night out.

    Little green helper, wiping the vomit off the 'lady's" coat.

  22. Sam O'Hare


    If you do not wish to be caught on camera or video, you should go to the privacy of your own home, where there are laws protecting you from being filmed without your permission. If you are a sat in a public place you should expect to be filmed or photographed, because people with imaging devices have a right to use them, and you waive the right to privacy by going somewhere public.

    If you don't want people to see you vomit, don't do it in the middle of the street.

  23. Dick Emery
    Thumb Down


    I was taking photos at an underpass last night (Sidcup bypass actually) just testing long exposures on my new camera. You guessed it. Van pulls up "What you doing?" What the fuck does it look like I am doing? Waiting on a bomb?

    I did not say that of course. I stayed polite and gave my details for them to check then went on my way.

  24. Lukin Brewer

    Where do paparazzi figure in this?

    Paparazzi photograph people in unchivalrous fashion all the time. It's how they work. The angry faces and raised fists of the celebs are sometimes triggered by unprintable abuse directed at them by the paps. Anything that gets the shots is good. I'm not passing judgement on the paps - we have a legal system for that. So how many paps have been through the legal system just for doing business as usual?


    I understand why the the Home Office don't want to set anything in stone. I understand why police don't like to be photographed. I understand why the whole police chain of command would like the coppers on the ground to be able to say "stop photographing" as and when they feel necessary, and then have their actions backed retrospectively. I understand why police don't want to be confronted by street lawyers quoting the law at them.

    But the police understand, as do we all, why people want to take things that aren't theirs, why people sometimes want to attack, hurt or kill people that have upset them, or indeed, how people can decide to drive themselves home after taking a skinful. They understand, even as they make the arrests. Which is why we set down laws: to stop us from doing things like that, which any of us might find attractive at some point.

    Laws are difficult to get right. They are difficult to fine-tune. It is sometimes difficult to prevent them from catching things that they shouldn't touch, even with the best will in the world. Ultimately, they reflect our imperfect state of being (as described above), and that is the only reason for tolerating their existence.

    So we have to make do with what we have - a law making body full of expert (*please* don't make me a liar here) legal officers who are supposed to come up with these precise definitions of what we should and shouldn't do. So, sirs, we'd like a precise definition of what we are allowed to do with our cameras in public places. This is what you're paid to do, by us. It's not as if we're suggesting that you go and arrest someone other than us - a "real criminal" - as the boys in blue are so often directed. Thanks. Any time in the next three months will do.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    To really appreciate how incredibly odd this all is, you have to take a step back to a time when "terror" wasn't the Alpha and Omega it is now and people were yet to rumble NuLab's plans for pointlessly oppressive government.

    I mean really; the police now seem to be perpetually obsessed with control of anything that their thick little brains deems to be off-colour, and the more anyone objects to their scrutiny or intervention the more our utterly brainless coppers seem to feel their suspicion is justified - rather a mirror of their National Socialist overlords like Sturmführer Coaker.

    How the fuck can taking a picture in circumstances not otherwise obviously suspicious really, really be such a threat to this supposedly free country? My respect for police has never been great, but these days it is non-existent.

    I never expected the famous "First they came for the Jews..." to require extending to cover various trades and leisure activitiies. What next? "Then they came for the flower arrangers but...".

    Fuck them.

  26. R Callan

    The more things change......

    "Rights are invariably abridged, as despotism increases".

    Tacitus, attributed to Tiberius

    Annals book III chapter 69

  27. Brian


    Perhaps you should be asking who in the police force is determining that resources are well spnt harassing photographers, rather than bitching about someone who is acting within the law 'wasting police time'.

    You're a Neues Arbeit stooge, aren't you?

  28. Richard

    Pansy force

    "The latter issue has arisen, as police claim that some photographers accompanying demonstrations go out of their way to ‘wind up’ individual police offices by aggressive use of their cameras."

    Aggressive use of their cameras? what? taking lots of pictures of said plod? WTF i thought the police were supposed to be 'trained' to deal with awkward situations and not let it get to them, unless they fell out the ugly tree and hit every branch on that way down and so therefore die inside a little when someone takes a picture of them

    what a bunch of spinless, soft skinned fairy boys! FFS they are the police!! get some balls and brush it off you aunts.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Technicolour yawn

    "As for the "lady" in Edinburgh, if she doesn't mind spewing on the footpath why should she worry about recording the event for posterity."

    To be fair, I remember a story from either this past year or last year in which some yobs had used their cameraphones to video a lady who was dying of a seizure; they thought she was drunk and that she would make good YouTube material. (googles)

    Ah, it was more extreme than that - the (singular) bloke peed on her:

    As I understand it there would have been no grounds for prosecution if he had simply filmed her dying, which seems reasonable although very heartless.

  30. Alfred

    I like ...

    I like the fact the "sick" woman's privacy was respected byt he Court. I don' t like the way it was done though. Some sort of law to enforce the right to privacy of the average citizen might be in order.

    As for those who criticise this government for threatening our freedom I have to strongly disagree. I welcome the smack of good firm govenment from our beloved leader who I would never ever, publicly criticise (you never know who's listening - or reading).

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: the ill Scottish lady

    Nice to know that in Scotland taking a photo of a person in a public place is unlawful, yet it appears that being drunk and dizzy is par for the course, or even something to be applauded.

    Did they also fine the myriad of CCTV camera owners / operators that also may have caught the distressed young lady in her hour of vulnerability?

    As for anyone not wanting their girlfriend photographed whilst drunk / ill / out and about / whatever I am afraid that it is none of your business, it is solely the lady's choice and to get upset otherwise is sexist misogynism of a really bad kind. Do you also tell her what to wear and which friends she is allowed to have?

    To anyone that might not want themselves to be photographed in such a manner then the answer is simple, either do not go into public places, or act with some decorum when in said place.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Traffic news.....

    ......and this just in: the road haulage industry has reported losses of £150 million over the last year due to criminals hijacking lorries on the road network.

    Meanwhile, at the Home Office, head honcho Jacqui Smith is pushing ahead with her image suppression campaign and vigorously denying that police resources are being diverted from real crime.

    To all Reg readers and commenters, a merry whatever turns you on.

  33. csmith


    While it is true that i don't dictate to my girlfriend, i am also protective of her. If she was being filmed while being raped, I should just sit back? It was her choice to be raped? F that. I don't dictate at all, but her well being is a responsibility I take very seriously. It may different in your relationships, I do not know, but I, for one, would be appalled and angry had that happened to my girlfriend.

  34. h4rm0ny

    Dictating to my girlfriend?

    There's some serious selective reading and distortion going on here. If some bloke likes the look of my girlfriend, walks up and starts filming her from all angles so he can enjoy it later, damn right I will try and stop that. And if I did not doing anything to protect her from that behaviour, I doubt she'd deign to be my girlfriend much longer. "Dictate" - load of bollocks. Stop trying to torture the scenario into something else so that you can pretend it's never wrong to take a photo in a public place. And no, I don't think me telling my girlfriend she shouldn't go out in public would be considered acceptable back up from me by her, either.

    There's no greater idiot than the one that chooses to be an idiot. If the argument doesn't support the conclusion you'd like, learn to modify your conclusion. Idiot.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Matt Bryant

    Such an amazing response in defence of the Police can only spring from ignorance, or from carrying a warrant card.

    Perhaps you can hold the next poor bas*tard's arms behind his back while our trusty boys in blue execute him.

    You sir are clearly in need of help - please engage your brain before posting again.

    (Anon - 'cos you scare me).

  36. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Not really news....

    This has been on the cards for a while. Ever tried taking a photograph of a traffic car sitting on the hard shoulder at an on-ramp? There have been a number of cases where the police have arrested the photographer on the grounds of terrorist activity for doing just this.

    There is indeed only 1 set of laws: it just doesn't apply to those state employees tasked with enforcing the law.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "This was apparently private land, but does it qualify as a public space?"

    The law is quite clear on this issue. If you are on privately owned land then you should obtain permissions from the land owner to take photographs. They do have the right to stop you.

    If the land is public, then you can take photographs, even if you are photographing someone's private house from a public road, the house owner can not stop you.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Photographing a traffic car

    If anti terrorism laws are being used to arrest someone for taking a photo of a police car, then I would suggest this constitutes wrongful arrest. It is not illegal to take a photograph of a police car, and there is no way it could be considered a terrorist act or used in terrorist act later. ( A series of photographs of the House of Commons perhaps).

    So I'd ask the Police to justify their actions and then submit a formal complaint for wrongful arrest.

  39. Martin

    @ David Hicks

    Well, that's the difference between being a subject and a citizen, now isn't it?

  40. skeptical i

    Bad precedents all'round.

    Why do the polizia insist that those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear, yet try to stifle attempts to photograph them? We pay their salaries, yes? If they're doing their jobs properly, they should not be afraid to be photographed doing so ... right?

    The gent in Edinborough was more or less arrested and fined for being discourteous, not for causing any problems per se. While I don't agree with his decision to photograph the distressed damsel ((a) rude, (b) the chances of his being able to get a release from her in her "ill" state being quite slim), the punishment far far outweighs the purported crime: fine and a record for being an asshat? Creative revenue generation, I'll give them that.

    If taking photographs of famous landmarks, public artwork, or other photo- worthy things is going to result in an interrogation (under the guise of "investigating suspected terrorist activity"), tourists may decide to vacation elsewhere.

  41. Tonto Popaduopolos

    Calm down......

    I would like to draw contributors' attention to the words 'may' and 'might' in the article when referring to the use of this legislation.

    There is also, as in most exchanges with the 'Old Bill', an attitude test to pass. If Joe Public passes it he goes about his business unhindered. If he fails then someone will probably spoil his day. Clearly said 'Old Bill' can also fail the test, as is the case in far too many encounters in the capital. 'The Filth' are human too and can have a bad day the same as any geek etc. If you're sat in front of a monitor you can be as big and brave as you like, ranting and raving as you please but a Copper's workplace is a bit different.

    Pray tell, Register readers, when are you likely to fall foul of Plod when taking a photo. Shove it in his face and you'll probably regret it but play nicely and you get to walk away.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In todays news...,23739,24844476-952,00.html

    The man filmed Police doing a search of some kind with his camera phone - the officers then detained him, threatened him with arrest under terrorist laws, forcibly took his camera phone (without his consent), searched it and deleted the footage from his phone.

  43. Tonto Popaduopolos

    @In today's news. A.C AT 0100HRS 29/12/08

    This 'offence' took place in Austarlia, yes?

    Bad enough that the original article was putting English and Scottish law in the same mix and confusing the less intelligent but now Oz law as well.

  44. Michael

    Captialism is......

    .... slowly becoming communism.

    Let me be the first to welcome our communist overlords!

  45. Secretgeek
    Black Helicopters

    Don't be fooled.

    Just a little word of warning for all those 'NuLab' haters here.

    On what evidence do you think that any other government, and by that I mean the Tories as they're the only ones that would get power, would be any less despotic than the current one? The only reason that the current gov are getting all the stick is because the steps they are taking are big ones and they way they are doing it is obvious to anyone with half a brain.

    Don't be naive. Every government of whatever persuasion would love to do what Labour are doing. You can be sure that they would just try to do it with less fuss.

    It is the nature of the beast and a sign of the times (I'm beginning to sound like a apocalypse conspiracist! :-/ ). As the flow of information through society increases the ability for any government to maintain control of that information (and hence minimise the effect that information has on the citizen) decreases. Ergo the need for greater and more extensive surveillance and control methods.

    The addition of a religion (or at least hostile elements of) to serve as a focus for increasing the fear levels and thinly covering the increasingly tight grip of the state on its' people is just a plus.

    True freedom has never really existed. True freedom in a society is anarchy and nobody really wants that. However, what little freedom we did have is now being squeezed to death by the imperative that:

    'You are a free person able to think and act on your own volition (except where we arbitrarily deem otherwise). We would ask you to sign here to agree to this but your consent has been implied by your existence.'

    Black helicopters, what else?

  46. John Ozimek

    English and Scottish Law

    @ Tonto

    Oh no it wasn't!

    Confusing English and Scottish Law, that is. Having endured my baptism of fire at the hands of various stroppy Scottish readers, I do take care to check that legal references distinguish the similar but increasingly divergent legal frameworks North and South of the border. That's important for discussing issues such as obscenity and (extreme) porn.

    It is equally important when it comes to issues such as photography and Breach of the Peace. The key point here is that North of the border, B of the P tends to get used very widely by Police as a catch-all for clamping down on behaviour they disapprove of. So widely, in fact, that specific campaigns exist to try to get this approach reformed.

    Down South, we also have B of the P as a Common Law offence but historically have tended to restrict its use as other much more targeted laws were brought in to deal with specific offences. Earlier this year (2008) I spoke to one police officer who detailed an attempt by a UK copper to use B of the P against a photographer - which ended with the police apologising for over-stepping the mark.

    It is therefore significant that Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker should remind the police nationally of the law and specifically mention B of the P. Yes: it has always been present as a theoretical charge. In practice, though, not in England.

    What I was speculating, perhaps tangentially, in this story was whether there is now an appetite, south of the border, for using B of the P legislation in a more Scottish fashion.

    Oh. And "behind you!".

    Paris... cause I imagine most of us would like to find her behind us at times of stress.

  47. Seán


    Anyone who buys a camera is a moron. If they think it's a magic device which puts them above the law, well that would be consistent with their mental problems.

  48. Secretgeek
    Thumb Down

    @ Sean - I'm so glad people like you exist.

    Otherwise who would we have to do the shitty jobs?


  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Tonto Popaduopolos

    I'll give you a UK translation, with UK law may or might means "will".

  50. Seán


    I'm sorry for offending your probably vegetarian sensibilities. I realise any opinion at variance with yours is of course wrong, because you are right. Hopefully one day I'll learn and then think correctly as you do.

    Until then keep taking those pictures because it's important that you do, it's a very important job and you're a very important person because you're doing an important job.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    give me ONE good reason why it is okay to take photos of everyone

    For your sole benefit. To exploit people. To distress them.

    To take a snap shot of one moment in time which would otherwise be forgotten, and do absolutely whatever you want with it?

    Give me one good reason that is not selfish.

    If the person objects, that ought to be enough. I do not go out in public for fun. I go out because I have to. I do not need to constantly watch my back, in a state of anxiety and conduct all activities as if I am under surveillance and those actions will come back to haunt me at a later time. You may not restrict my rights of freedom and spontaneity and living anonymously.

    If photographers are going to be outright rude and invasive, taking opportunistic and exploitative pictures of people who do not consent to it, then what do you suggest happens besides laws against idiots like that who don't know how to ask? Or who don't agree to delete? (which would be quite rare) We all HAVE to go out in public. It is simply not a choice.

    If I fall down a flight of stairs on the way to my mothers funeral you should not be able to put that on youtube for everyone to laugh at just because the flight of stairs I needed to go down happened to be in public and not inside my house.

    People saying she shouldn't have got drunk or 'ill' in the first place obviously don't understand how extreme their ideas sound. (CCTV cameras do not necessarily count -although it is important- but this is different imo in that it is not broadcast to a wide audience and most importantly is deleted after a certain amount of time... HOWEVER) the most damaging thing about a surveillance society is NOT the act of having their photo taken but the fact that people have to modify their behaviour and give up freedoms due to the fear and anxiety of being constantly watched and any repercussions resulting from this constant prying into their everyday life. This is the exact same as what everyday photographers are doing and the exact same as what some of you are mindlessly suggesting. The public are turning the country into a surveillance society themselves. There is a camera in every second person's pocket these days. When a plane crashes or a bomb goes off everyone is wondering when the shaky phonecam footage of it will turn up. We are a nation of voyeurs. The amount of people spying on eachother is far higher than the incidence of government recording. (which, like I said, being no fan of is apparently deleted and certainly not broadcast) Furthermore, most public photography used to be rare, or expected (ie: in tourist hotspots) or by a photographer with a big camera and a tri pod.

    So, she shouldn't have got drunk huh? Shouldn't have had fun? Shouldn't have got ill? Shouldn't have went outside? So, we should all make sure we are looking and acting perfect and make conscious, planned, and only completely necessary movements outside our home, 24/7 for the rest of our lives, unless we are happy having our movements published. Possibly worldwide. To go out means we specifically agree to this happening?

    I don't remember ever being given a form at my front door saying I was giving up my freedom and right to privacy and agreement for my photo to be taken and broadcast anywhere, just because I needed to go to the shops for some milk. For the VERY important and necessary reason of; someone wanting to get profit, fame or otherwise get something positive out of taking a photo that expoited me or my actions.

    Want to take a photo of the building behind me? Tell me to move, wait until I pass, ask me or make sure I see you and don't give a damn. Simple, non invasive, and no risk that you will get punched in the face or your camera smashed. (that refers to the 'no photos for safety reasons', not my personal reaction to my photo being taken..)

    I am not taking away ANYONE's right to take photos, just photos of ME without my consent.

    (I don't see why you can't take photos of buildings though. It's not as if the only, or even preferred way to plan a bombing or break in is to take a photo of a building...)

  52. Secretgeek

    'My vegetarian sensibilities'?

    Inaccurate but funny nonetheless.

    Looking at the comments by Sean and AC it would seem we've had a minor invasion of Daily Mail readers.

    Just so we're not talking about different things here I just want to check that I've got your points correct:

    @Sean - Your obviously sarky comment implies that photography by amateurs/hobbyists/tourists etc has no value therefore anybody wanting to take photos must be weird/perverted/up to no good. You really believe that? Seriously?

    @AC 03:48 - Your arguments are that people take photographs solely in order to distress others and for their own benefit. Second, that being in public is actually a private activity. Third, that governement surveillance is vastly outweighed by the huge number of snoopers with camera phones just randomly waiting for you to fall down stairs.

    1) Partly correct. Of course photographers take pictures for their own benefit, if they're tourists or it's their hobby then why else would they do it? Who are these people that do it to distress and exploit others? Paprazzi? Scroats carrying out a happy slapping? The reasons that photographers take pictures are varied but I'm feeling pretty confident in saying that 'to distress and exploit' is such a small percentage of the total that it barely registers. Obviously you feel that all photography should be banned on that basis. While you're at it lets ban planes because some people use them to do bad things. Or maybe the internet. Or cars. Or sex.

    2) Partly correct again - Take a photo of someone leaving a rehab clinic and although they are outside and ostensibly 'in public' that would be an invasion of their privacy. Take a photo of the milling crowds at the recent Christmas market - not really an invasion of privacy is it? The clue is in the word 'public' i.e. not private.

    3) Wrong - If you walk from one side to the other of any town in this country I guarantee that the chance you will be caught on CCTV is massively higher than being caught randomly crossing the shot of some amateur photographer. And before you ask - yes I have worked in CCTV control rooms in the past.

    As a final point, if a photographer specifically wants to take a picture of you then they should ask you, I agree, but if they're taking a picture of a PUBLIC area you happen to be in are you really saying that they should expect to be physically attacked or outlawed? That's possibly the daftest thing I've heard in while, bar Seans succintly expressed and well reasoned arguments of course.

  53. Seán

    Photography is trainspotting

    Trainspotters do not dictate the timetables. They attempt to leach some imagined "train prestige" by trying to be part of the whole train process. Whatever jollies they get from their uninteresting pastime they don't delude themselves as to their actual function or importance.

    With photography It's probably something rooted in childhood. Who knows what kind of "Cheese" coats their minds, probably some childhood photographer left an excessive imprint. The confusion between event and observer in the mind allows the photographer to imagine themselves part of the process. By defining the photograph they control the event in some way.

  54. Secretgeek


    haha haa haha hahahaha haa haaa hahaha haha [breathe]

    hahah haah ahahaha [breathe] haha hah ha

    haha haa




    What utter utter bollocks.

  55. Jon Pick
    Paris Hilton


    Whereas Internet trolling is such a noble endeavour?

    You are sir, with respect, a knobber.

    Paris because etc.

  56. Seán

    @riff raff

    Sop crying you halfwits, you're getting snot all over the internet. Your hysteria is, I suppose, proof of your mania but please don't mistake me for your dada. Also when you're serving people their coffee don't forget to wear your name tag at all times.

  57. André

    @ AC 31st December 2008 03:48:

    "I do not go out in public for fun. I go out because I have to."

    Poor sod. You obviously really, really need to Get A Life.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I am certainly not eloquent but you need to pay more attention.

    First of all, I didn't say that distressing people was the only reason people took photographs. Far from it. I was using it as an example of a type of photography and simply asking for a good reason in defence photos, specifically the ones that DO distress and exploit people. (Actually, ALL photographs taken of people are exploitative by their very nature. Not to say that it is sinister.. but it is definitely selfish and exploitative..) It's obvious that some people are distressed when they have their photo taken without permission or in certain circumstances. I wasn't implying that photographers do this intentionally but it does happen and is perfectly illustrated in the Drunk in Edinburgh case. I am looking for specific reasons as to why that photo is so important and why people (in your opinion?) have the right to take such photographs? What overwhelming need is there for the photo to be taken and a person to be upset and insulted over it?? No-one here seems to be denying the fact that the Edinburgh photographer was being rude, exploitative and likely to upset the girl/ her boyfriend. Which he did. Just because you find the story funny/pathetic, like seeing photos of drunk ill people, or disapprove of her behaviour doesn't mean she deserves to be exploited, humiliated and her actions used for someone else's fame, profit, or work study. Are those things not selfish?

    I did NOT say there was a slim chance of being caught on CCTV, I was barely mentioning it at all. The reason I brought CCTV up is simply because I think it's important to realise the differences. It's unfair to compare the 2 types of "photography" since the whole concern over candid photos is that the image is out of the subject's control and they have no idea what it will be used for, who took it, where it will be published etc. Clearly there are rules about CCTV use, specifically how long it is retained and we all know it is not published or broadcast to a big audience (except rarely in the case of crimes.). You are also usually aware of the camera.. What part of that do you not understand?? Stop twisting and actually making things up which are not there, in order to make a weird response which you're clearly proud of, arguing ridiculous things that I didn't even say. (Also, do not even try to dispute the fact that there are more cameras and camera phones in the country than CCTV cameras. A quick google throws out numbers of 2 to 4 million cctv cameras in the uk and approx 40 million mobile phone owners. Which would mean vodaphone alone has over twice as many phone users as there are cctv cameras. It's safe to say at least half and nearly all of these phones will have camera /video capability. Then you add in the amount of actual digital cameras and camcorders..)

    Your cliched DailyMail 'insult' distracts no-one. It does not automatically get you points. It's like calling someone a Nazi because you've ran out of ideas and know the word alone packs a punch. It's interesting that you not only responded to things I did not write, but picked out only the weakest points to respond to and conveniently ignored everything else. Some of which you must agree is reasonable? I asked quite a few questions. Do you mind answering them? Do you agree or disagree that taking a photo of someone is a selfish thing to do? If it's not, then what is the reason/purpose? Taking a photo of the drunk girl in Edinburgh who objected was selfish; yes or no?

    I did not say being in public was a private activity. I said very CLEARLY that being in public was not an option, but necessary, and as such it is necessary to do some private things in public. Again, this seems like a pretty obvious thing to grasp. Please do not re-word and distort my sentences to mean the opposite. THAT is akin to the Daily Mail crowd.

    "Obviously you feel that all photography should be banned"

    Not at all. ?? If you go back and read my post I say nothing of the sort. In fact I make it clear that I would be okay with photos in most circumstances. I even said "just ask me for a photo, tell me to move/wait until I move/ make it obvious you're about to snap me" (OR if it's in a tourist hotspot this is not necessary) A lot of photographers do this already. What's wrong with simply complying if the person you photographed wants their photo deleted? After all, it is a photo of THEM. What makes you think you have the right to photograph people and keep it even after they have shown distress and requested it's deletion?

    What part of the above leads you to think I want all photography banned?? You have written a complete lie and should be ashamed of your low blows. Courteous photography is basically fine with me but it's obviously not happening and a person should clearly have the right to a photo/video of themselves. Specifically in certain circumstances. Specifically these days when cameras so prevalent. How can you honestly claim to own something which is essentially the actions or a piece of someone's life that you don't know? If you are not a rude, selfish photographer who preys upon people then you shouldn't be offended by what I'm saying. It's completely reasonable. The law needs to be changed NOT to outlaw photos but to give people more rights to their OWN photo and to not be exploited in this way.

    " While you're at it lets ban planes because some people use them to do bad things. Or maybe the internet. Or cars. Or sex."

    Lame (and not even relevant since I didn't say to ban it. Not to mention the comparison is ridiculously bad since photography is not really necessary and transport is essential.)

    *2) Can you explain why being in public in one place has certain rights but being in public somewhere else has none and is "more" public? You have contradicted yourself in a major way, and I dislike your sneaky use of "crowd photos", which implies people are not easily recognisable, which is obviously not the kind of photos I am/people are objecting to.

    "if they're taking a picture of a PUBLIC area you happen to be in are you really saying that they should expect to be physically attacked or outlawed?"

    Yes they should expect it - since it might happen. I didn't say they deserved it or that I would do it.

    "That's possibly the daftest thing I've heard in while"

    Weird. You're in for some surprises then.

    Why have you ignored almost all of what I said? I am trying to have a discussion. You are trying to argue. I really don't understand. I was clear on many things, and all you've done is insult me and jump to ridiculous conclusions

  59. Dave

    A few more points

    for the hard of thinking:

    Shaun, Do you actually believe what you are saying, or are you just trolling for effect.

    AC 20:32 Loser length: Fail

  60. milan


    I agree, CCTV serves a much more important goal, where would we be without almost constant repeats of 'britains funniest CCTV clips'....


  61. Tonto Popaduopolos

    @ John Ozimek

    Read my comment again as you seem to be confused. I did not say your article was confusing English and Scottish law, merely that commenting on both in the same article would confuse the less intelligent. Case proven.

  62. John Armstrong-Millar

    Aggressive use of a camera

    Now I have heard everything!!

  63. Mark

    re: Calm down...

    Aye, the plod are just human when it comes to fuckups but they are infallible paragons of right and honour when it comes to giving them powers.





  64. Mark

    re: Don't be fooled

    And if the tories are just as bad, why does that mean we should keep the current crop of arseholes in power?

    If they are as bad, then at least they start off on the back foot and we kick THEM out in four years.

    But you want us to accept evil because all our options could be evil.


  65. Anonymous Coward

    @I am certainly not eloquent

    You're not particularly intelligent either.

    It's quite depressing to be reminded that there are still people like you around, spouting such arrant drivel.

    The irony is that you are supporting the very type of restrictions which will make you even more delusionally paranoid than you already are.

    Do us all a favour and make an appointment with a psychiatrist soon.

    Re : Sean - please people, don't feed the troll.

  66. Seán


    To any fools who think the Tories would be "better" than labour get a grip on yourself and snap out of it. Cameron and his team of right wing fascists will have you all tagged and they'll privatise everything to the benefit of a few already rich types. They'll do what Bush just did to the US economy. Every now and again a Boris Johnson is OK for comic relief but a whole bunch of them being in charge of stuff is an horrible joke.

  67. Alien8n

    @ Sean

    The only argument I can think of as to why you are so anti-photography is that as a baby you fell out of the cradle and hit every branch of the ugly tree on the way down.

    Photography as a hobby or as a profession can serve the public. I personally do photography as a hobby, it's a form of artistic expression. Personally I prefer photos of nature, but I have done some portraiture. Many others through the ages have also done photography as a hobby whether they realise it or not, all those holiday snaps and family photos.

    If you discount photography as a profession, you also discount the works of David Bailey, or even the truly horrifying photographs of Nick Ut who showed to the world the horrors of the vietnam war. Photography has been used to hold entire governments to account. Who cannot remember the famous photo of the sole protestor standing against a chinese tank in Tianamen Square?

    In short, you're talking out of your arse.

  68. Jamie Kitson

    It's All

    A bit ironic considering the prevalence of CCTV.

    There's a nice story on SlashDot today about a man being arrested at a train station for taking pictures for a photography competition organised by the very same rail company:

  69. Tonto Popaduopolos

    @Jamie Kitson

    You neglected to mention said story was about Penn Station in New York and Amtrak police officers. Hardly relevant to this discussion.

  70. Mark


    You forgot that it is about photography being banned not because it is against the law but because they ARE the law.

    Very relevant to this discussion.

  71. Tonto Popaduopolos

    @ Mark

    You forgot the first line of the original article on which we are commenting:

    >Government claims to uphold the right of good upstanding Englishmen with cameras to snap whenever and wherever they please took a knock last week, with the publication of a letter from the Home Office setting out when these rights might be curtailed.<

    i do not know the nationality of said miscreant at the raiway station in New York but I fail to see the relevance to this thread, as stated to Mr Kitson earlier.

  72. Alien8n

    @ Tonto

    Although the main article is about curtailment of freedoms within the UK and the Slashdot article is regarding a story in New York it is still relevant. What we're seeing in the UK is a reflection of what has already happened in the USA. Since 2001 we've seen a steady erosion of freedoms in almost every Western democracy.

    My own personal view is that the right to photograph the police should be a given, who else will hold them to account if not the public? It's already been proven that the police themselves cannot be trusted with the job and the government has made it clear that if they're involved whatever decision will be predetermined to show the government in a favourable light.

    Oh hang on, I hear some loud banging at the front door....

  73. Mark

    @Tonto again

    "i do not know the nationality of said miscreant at the raiway station in New York but I fail to see the relevance to this thread, as stated to Mr Kitson earlier."

    I fail to see what the nationality of said miscreant has to do with the police stopping someone taking photos in a public area and arresting them not for any law that they broke but just because they were taking photographs.

    However, both the Amtrak and this comment were both about how the police are arresting people for taking photos in a public area and arresting them not for any law that was broken but just because they were taking photos.

    Both very similar, just geographically distant from each other. Nationality has nothing to do with it.

  74. Tonto Popaduopolos

    @ Alien8n and Mark

    I am typing this slowly so that you can understand.

    The article by John Ozimek relates to English and Scottish law and how the use of a camera in certain locations in England, Wales and Scotland (and probably Northern Ireland) could attract unwanted attention by the police.

    Now my earliest entry was regarding something which happened in Australia and then Amtrak police in America. Neither of these incidents occurred within the U.K. so by bringing them to this forum and 'tut-tutting' about them is completely irrelevant.

    Mark if you read my comment it quotes Mr Ozimek's article relating to 'upstanding Englishmen', therefore an item regarding an incident in an American railway station could only have relevance here if it involved an upstanding English miscreant. That is what you failed to see as you put it!

    By people posting 'look at this' and neglecting to point out that 'it' happened abroad stir things up unnecessarily. Incidents in Australia and America cannot be compared with the hypothetical use of counter terrorist legislation or even common law breach of the peace in the U.K. (Hypothetical = Mr Ozimek's use of the words may and might in his article).

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