16 April 2008

Photographer's rights in UK

Boing Boing had a blog post about British MP Austin Mitchell's fight for photographer's rights.

Background to story:

You know the new paranoia mentality that brought about the photographing scare in UK?

The campaign reads as follows :

Thousands of people take photos every day

What if one of them seems odd?

Terrorists use surveillance to help plan attacks, taking photos and making notes about security measures like the location of CCTV cameras

If you see someone doing that we need to know

Let experienced officers decide what action to take

A new Orwellian anti-terror campaign?

If you check it out, it is seeped in xenophobia.


Well, apparently quite a few amateur and professional photographers have suffered due to this new movement. Some instances were in public places, where technically you have a right to take pictures. At least in my opinion; if these public places are not for the people, are they meant for the tooth fairy?

So now a rather miffed British MP by the name of Austin Mitchell is fighting the cause of freedom for the people. He has also tabled a motion in Commons to raise the issue.

His motion, as taken from the Press Gazette:

"That this House is concerned to encourage the spread and enjoyment of photography as the most genuine and accessible people's art; deplores the apparent increase in the number of reported incidents in which the police, police community support officers (PCSOs) or wardens attempt to stop street photography and order the deletion of photographs or the confiscation of cards, cameras or film on various specious ground such as claims that some public buildings are strategic or sensitive, that children and adults can only be photographed with their written permission, that photographs of police and PCSOs are illegal, or that photographs may be used by terrorists; points out that photography in public places and streets is not only enjoyable but perfectly legal; regrets all such efforts to stop, discourage or inhibit amateur photographers taking pictures in public places, many of which are in any case festooned with closed circuit television cameras; and urges the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers to agree on a photography code for the information of officers on the ground, setting out the public's right to photograph public places thus allowing photographers to enjoy their hobby without officious interference or unjustified suspicion."

Boing Boing is trying to create more awareness about it, get more people involved, write to your MP, that sorta thing.

Please help spread the word.