It starts with farm animals, then goes to children … pretty soon, you won’t be able to photograph anything.
Today, the New Jersey Assembly heard testimony on Bill A3297, which will make it a third degree crime to photograph or videotape a child without a parent’s consent.
The bill is a reaction to a creepy guy who took photos of tween girls at a lake because he thought they were “sexy.” As upsetting as that is, this feels like reactive, fear-mongering legislation. Not all people who photograph children are perverts in the same way that not all people who carry shampoo bottles onto airplanes are terrorists.
The New Jersey Press Association came out against the legislation — and rightfully so.
Lauren James Weir, an attorney for the New Jersey Press Association, spoke against the bill. She argued that it was “overly broad” and said that its vague standards would have a chilling effect on free speech.
And beyond newsgathering, it’s just disheartening that this is the direction our society is moving in. There will always be deviants, but do we really want to restrict our civil liberties because of that?