Posts Tagged 'Department of Transportation'

Another Hearing on Photographer Harassment

Erin McCann, a DC photographer and activist for photographers’ rights, sent an email today with news that there will be a Congressional hearing on photographer harassment this Wednesday, September 23 at 2 pm EST.

We posted on last year’s Congressional hearing on photography rules in Union Station, which ultimately clarified the fact that it’s quite legal to shoot there despite multiple incidents where  their security insisted otherwise. Now, it seems Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) wants to get to the bottom of the similarly outrageous  harassment at the Department of Transportation (we’ve posted on it here and here) in a hearing entitled “Risk-based Security in Federal Buildings: Targeting Funds to Real Risks and Eliminating Unnecessary Security Obstacles.”

Erin will be testifying about the recent DOT incidents. From Erin’s email:

There is no law forbidding the taking of photographs of public buildings–federal or not–and yet our current security climate operates under the assumption that photographers are always suspicious. Photographers have been harassed on a regular basis in recent years, and several have been arrested. Del. Norton’s support for our rights is significant and very much appreciated.
Erin will be Tweeting from the hearing and you can follow her Twitter feed here on Wednesday.
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ACLU to DOT: Why Harass Photographers?

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Photo by spiggycat

In April we posted on the consistent and regular harassment photographers, including families and tourists, have experienced outside the Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington, DC, and now the ACLU is getting involved. Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the National Capital Area chapter of the ACLU, wrote a letter to the DOT’s acting general counsel requesting explanation of what seems to be their no photography policy on the public streets surrounding the building. As Spitzer writes: “We are not aware of any law that imposes such a rule, and we do not believe DOT has the authority to impose such a rule.” See the whole letter here.

Flickr via Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection

DOT Headquarters a No-Photo Zone

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Photo by army.arch

Stephen Miller just wanted to take photos of some vintage bicycles at the US Department of Transportation headquarters in D.C. But a security guard said that wasn’t allowed. Why, you might wonder? He couldn’t tell you that, but he knows it’s not allowed.

From Miller’s account:

“What’s going on here?” he asked.

“I’m photographing the bicycles,” I replied. He continued walking, and I rode down to the next installation — three vintage gas pumps — and began taking photos of them.

“You can’t do that here,” he told me. I asked him why not. “It’s the rules, for security,” he said. I asked him what rule prevented me from taking photographs of public art, but he said that he could not tell me the rule. I asked if he worked for DOT or a subcontractor hired for security. “I can’t tell you that,” he replied again. I asked for his name, which he also refused to tell me.

“So you can’t tell me the rule, your name, or who you work for?” I asked him.

“Nope,” he replied. Luckily, at that point I was already done taking photographs, so I wished him a good evening and continued my ride.

This is not the first time photographers have been hassled at the DOT. Flickr user urbandispute posted an incident where he was stopped and questioned three different times for taking pictures outside the DOT. As urbandispute puts it, the building was built in a run-down part of D.C. as part of revitalization efforts. It’s one block from the Washington Nationals stadium, and there are several public art installations outside for pedestrians to enjoy. Which raises the question: What the hell is their problem?

Article from Greater Greater Washington


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