Archive for the 'Los Angeles County Sheriffs' Category

MTA’s Contradictory Photo Guidelines


Last Saturday on Halloween I was detained at the Hollywood/Western Metro stop by LA County sheriffs for taking photos of the newly installed turnstiles that were still under construction and decorated with pretty yellow caution tape. During my detainment (which will be address publicly soon), I was told by one of the sheriffs that taking photos was against MTA’s policy. Well, of course I knew this was not true and stated that to the officer, which didn’t curb his aggressiveness towards me or prevent him from threatening to put my name on the FBI’s “hit list.” But that’s not the point; the officer’s behavior doesn’t matter (for now at least) because the focus of this post is the MTA’s contradictory photography guidelines.

After my exciting detainment, I went home and read over the MTA’s photography guidelines, and sure enough, just like I mentioned during my not-so friendly encounter with the sheriff, photography is allowed on the Los Angeles County MTA system. That is — only in public space.

However, as I read through their guidelines I became rather perplexed because the MTA guidelines also state no photography inside moving trains for privacy and safety reasons.”

What the hell does that mean…“no photography inside moving trains for privacy reasons”?

Whose privacy are they trying to protect? How is there any more privacy on a public train system while it’s moving than when it’s not moving? How can an expectation of privacy even exist inside a public transit car? Does this also mean, according to MTA policies, that a Metro rider can only have an expectation of privacy while riding in one of their moving cars but not anywhere else on Metro property, which is pretty much all public space? Does an expectation of privacy even exist anywhere on Metro property? It’s all public space!

In my personal and non-legal opinion, I would have to say that this specific policy is bogus and designed to protect MTA personnel from any sort of liability. There can’t be an expectation of privacy anywhere on the MTA because the entire system is public. And we should all be able to take photos anywhere on the system, including inside moving train cars. How else will we be able to catch MTA drivers texting on the job?

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