Posts Tagged 'civil liberties'

Patriot Act Extension Doesn’t Get Enough Votes

Yesterday House Republicans were not able to get the seven votes needed to extend the Patriot Act. The failure is being chalked up to resistence from the new so-called Tea Party Republicans.

As we all know, the Patriot Act has been used as a catchall justification for abuses of power and the stripping of many of our basic rights, including photographer’s rights. (How many times have we heard authorities throwing it around and around when faced with a “dangerous” photographer?) It’s expected if Democrats don’t like it (as Rep. Dennis Kucinich said, “it represents the undermining of civil liberties”), but with the Republicans’ opposition, could this mean our leaders in Washington actually recognize what a dangerous law this is?

The Washington Post reports:

Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), a freshman who voted yes, said the measure is “going to need some examination going forward, so all I did today is just, hey, instead of making a wrong decision, we’re just going to do a little more due diligence to make the very right decision to both protect our security as well as protect the civil liberties of the American people.”

It’s not like I want to come down in favor of any of our political parties because I think they’re all self-serving and corrupt. But one thing I can say for the Tea Party movement is that if it is really for less government intrusion and a more faithful following of our founding documents, then I agree that the Patriot Act does not fit into either concept.

Source: Washington Post

Shoot Away, Federal Gov Says

As part of the New York Civil Liberties Union’s lawsuit against the federal government stemming from the Antonio Musumeci incident, they were given the above directive. It states that photographers are allowed to photograph federal buildings nationwide, and the NYCLU is encouraging photographers to carry it with them in the event they come across a problem.

As Lens reports:

The three-page bulletin reminds officers, agents and employees that, “absent reasonable suspicion or probable cause,” they “must allow individuals to photograph the exterior of federally owned or leased facilities from publicly accessible spaces” like streets, sidewalks, parks and plazas. Even when there seems to be reason to intercede and conduct a “field interview,” the directive says:

Officers should not seize the camera or its contents, and must be cautious not to give such ‘orders’ to a photographer to erase the contents of a camera, as this constitutes a seizure or detention.

You can get your copy here.

Source: Lens/New York Times

UPDATE: There have been comments on the web stating you have to provide personal information or log into Facebook in order to download the federal directive.  We haven’t had time to look into the matter, but if the claims are true, that is unacceptable.  Which, is why we’re providing the directive here for you to download as much as you want free of Big Brother’s prying eyes.

Concert Photography Bans – Fair or Facist?

Photo by jcbehm

The Chicago Reader delves into an interesting topic in this week’s issue asking, “Do festivals like Pitchfork and Lollapalooza have the right to restrict photography in a public park?” They’re specifically talking about the ban on professional cameras and detachable lenses at these type of concerts. On the one hand, yes of course. The concert organizers have leased the space, and for that fee, are able to make rules that wouldn’t otherwise apply – like, first and foremost, charging an entry fee.

But the writers talked to civil rights lawyer Mark Weinberg, who frames it as an “interesting constitutional question” — namely, can the government enter into an agreement with a private party that takes away a fundamental right of its citizens? On top of that, Weinberg says, it’s “an arbitrary and unreasonable restriction” because it’s not about security, but about compensation or brand management or vanity. It’s because the performers want to be able to control, and to make money off of, their own images — and they don’t want you to. (You’re welcome to take a lousy point-and-shoot shot, of course.) As the article says:

“Concert promoters are trying to control something—the creation and dissemination of images taken at an outdoor concert in a public park—that is largely beyond their control, and they’re starting to look silly doing it.”

Silly or not, this seems like one photography rule that is unlikely to change.

Article from Chicago Reader

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