The Crime of Taking Photos

Photographers have a tough life in the US… By US law (which is fairly similar to the law in Ontario), if you are in public property you’re allowed to take photos of anything and anyone, unless there’s a reasonable expectation of privacy, like inside someone’s house, or in a public bathroom.

However in the post 9/11 world, it seems that everyone is guilty until proven the contrary, and photographers are an easy target, since we register what is happening around us. Posters like this one obviously don’t help:

Other than that, it seems that the local enforcement agencies are completely oblivious to the fact that unless you’re doing something wrong, you are NOT a criminal. And that happens everywhere in the world, Brasil, Italy, Canada, US… And that’s just to comment on places I’ve lived in.

And here’s the motivation behind this post, a video made by  Pennsylvania based photographer Jason Macchioni, being harassed by cops for taking photos of traffic… Traffic. Not important government buildings, traffic.

The most striking thing of the video to me is the police officer asking if the guy was a lawyer just because he knew he didn’t had to show his ID. Also, despite being unfamiliar with the privacy laws in Pennsylvania, I highly doubt you’re not allowed to record anything in a public place.

The only time I had problems with the police was while taking photos of an arrest, when the police officer stopped and asked why was I taking photos. I answered that they were for the school newspaper, he nodded and went on his way.

That’s all folks, just sharing the police hate love.

Pedro out!

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