Posts Tagged 'New Jersey'

Photographing Children To Be a Crime In NJ?

Photo taken in New Jersey with parent’s consent.

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?


Double Standard Much? James O’Keefe Kicks Out Videographer

Conservative activist/wiretapper James O’Keefe has made his name in surreptitious recordings of high-level executives making supposed impolitic and embarrassing statements, including most recently, the top fundraiser at NPR who was caught on camera deriding the Tea Party and saying that public radio would be better off without federal funding. That dustup cost the fundraiser, Ron Schiller, and NPR’s CEO, Vivian Schiller, their jobs — and lead to a House vote to defund NPR.

But this past Thursday night, O’Keefe had an Asbury Park Press videographer kicked out of a Tea Party event in Keyport, New Jersey because he didn’t want it filmed. (See the video here.) Isn’t it strange, if you brand yourself as a morally charged force for openness and good, that you wouldn’t allow recording of your own activities? Crusaders for any cause should believe in transparency, or else they just look foolish.

Source: Asbury Park Press

New Jersey’s “Finest” Terrorists

Via The Agitator

More Made Up Laws Regarding Oil Refineries

Photo by wmliu

One of the Daily Kos site’s diarists, Androsko, posted about a recent incident he and a friend experienced while taking photos outside of the Hess Refinery in Port Reading, New Jersey. While they were there to shoot a comedy sketch, the local police smelled terrorism.

A police officer pulled up and told them – surprise! – they weren’t allowed to take photos and they’d have to delete them. Why? As Androkso writes:

He responded that there were town ordinances that were mandated by the state and the Department of Homeland Security. I then asked for the specific ordinance or law, saying that I had read a lot of stories about police and photography in public places. He failed to provide me with anything specific, citing Homeland Security “stuff”.

The officer asked for their driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers, while insisting they weren’t being reported, just that he had to enter their information in the system. The photos were not deleted in the end and they parted amicably. And the harassment goes on….

A commenter points out that the canon of laws is so vast that cops can’t be expected to remember them all, further adding:

So they sometimes operate the way most of us do, sorta figuring if it seems like it might be illegal, it probably is. … Whether or not any laws got passed, it seeped into the collective consciousness, and a lot of folks have vague impressions that ‘you’re not supposed to scope out such places’. Your cop obviously had that vagueness floating around in the back of his mind.

I get that rationale; police officers are human and they can’t be expected to have an encyclopedic knowledge of law. But they need to have a better-than-average one – and more importantly, if you’re stopping someone to tell them they’re breaking a law, you damn well better know which one. (And if you don’t, radio into the station, read up on laws that pertain to your district, bone up for god sakes!) This type of thing is going on all the time, and no matter how wrong, how egregious, how unlawful, it doesn’t seem to matter.

Read Androsko’s whole post here.

PATH Cop Targets Mom, Grandma and Newborn

Kim Hudson

On Friday afternoon I was in the Christopher Street PATH station in New York City with my mom, my sister and her baby. My mom and I were taking pictures of the baby, her with an iPhone and me with my camera, when the Port Authority officer came over and told us sternly “No pictures, no pictures.” Though I knew this was absolutely ridiculous – and groundless – I wasn’t going to make a scene there with my family. All we could do was laugh. If three women cooing over a baby are now a security threat, well … I don’t know. It’s just unfathomable.

Considering the hot water New York’s MTA subway system and Amtrak have been in lately, you’d think the PATH would be more aware of the law. What’s more, Boing Boing posted an NYPD document yesterday outlining their stance on photographers – and, in a nut shell, it says it’s perfectly legal and they should refrain from harrassing people shooting in public places. (The NYPD does not patrol PATH stations, but the agencies work very closely with each other.)

I contacted PATH authorities to find out their policy on photography. They told me their private bylaws allow them to outlaw photography in their stations – despite it being a public place and a government entity. To voice your concerns about this incident, contact the Port Authority Police at (201) 216-2677.

%d bloggers like this: