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The watchmen don’t like to be watched

According to some security guard with a master’s degree, it’s illegal to take pictures of public buildings you pay for:

When I got to to the building, I stood across the street with my wide angle (to fit the huge structure in the frame) and put the camera to my face. And after a few clicks of the shutter, I hear this man yelling at me, Maam! Maam! You cant photos here!!! It was the security guard, and he was running down the stairs towards me. I immediately put my camera down by my side and ran across the street to the guard. I asked him what the problem was, and he suddenly went into a tirade about post 9/11 laws prohibiting the photography and videography of any federal properties. He went off about terrorism and national security and then threatened me with two years in the penitentiary for possessing images of federal property. I had to delete my photographs or else I would get two years in jail.

Via Silence.

9 Responses to “The watchmen don’t like to be watched”

  1. ParatrooperJJ Says:

    I would have told him what to do with himself. Do security guards even have powers of arrest in that state?

  2. straightarrow Says:

    I bet she isn’t nearly so concerned about my rights under the second amendment. Funny how it has to be their personal ass that gets bitten and then they only learn a lesson about that one thing and cannot see the systemic harm in denying anyone their rights, for whatever reason.

  3. nk Says:

    I guess these guys are heading to the pokey.

  4. Standard Mischief Says:

    I’d use PhotoRec to recover the erased photos just to spite him.

  5. Kristopher Says:

    There is no such law. The SCOTUS struck down NYC’s attempts to forbid taking photos of the city’s subway system, and has held that anyone can take any photograph from public property.

    The rentacop was repeating bullsh*t.

    There is even a flikr group that deliberately photographs federal buildings in DC just because they can.

  6. TheGunGeek Says:

    My brother does freelance photo work, so he has nice camera gear. Many years before 9/11 and homeland security concerns, he was at a National Park taking some pictures when he was approached by a ranger. Since he had a professional camera, it was assumed he was taking pictures that he might actually try to sell. They pointed out to him that it was illegal to take pictures inside a National Park and then sell copies of the pictures. This way they can license that right to some corporate entity and get royalties off of it. Take all the pictures you want for personal use, but not for professional use.

    That’s right. The land that has been purchased and maintained with our tax dollars and set aside for the enjoyment of all Americans can only be seen in person or purchased through the lens of authorized, highest bidder, royalty paying companies.

    He had the same thing happen to him at the Washington Monument, which is also in a National Park. This time they told him that he couldn’t that kind of camera at all, because it was assumed that he was taking professional photos.

  7. Sigivald Says:

    TheGunGeek: I don’t think that’s actually true (I mean, what you say happened did, I’m sure – I just don’t think the National Park Employee was correct.)

    A bunch of bills were proposed in the 105th Congress to require permits for photography and filming; I believe none of them passed.

    Eventually, some version got through and became Public Law 106-206 (16 USC 460l etc.) – it states that still photography with neither actors nor props (ie, nature photography), on areas normally accessible to the public shall require neither fees nor permits.

    The minion who told your brother he needed a permit or it was “illegal” was plain wrong about the law.

    (They do want fees and permits for filming ads, movies, and the like, or for anything likely to cause damage by going out of normally accessed areas, etc.

    But they want you to stay on the !@#!^ trails even if you’re not a commercial video studio, so that’s not terribly unfair.)

    The real problem here seems to be uninformed employees trying to enforce a law they don’t actually know.

  8. straightarrow Says:

    I see it a little differently Sig, they may know the law, but are pursuing policy.

  9. straightarrow Says:

    and hoping their victim doesn’t know the law.

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