Looks like there’s been another fight over photographers’ rights.
Paranoia really makes people do stupid things. That’s why we have all these stupid feel-good but completely useless laws and restrictions, like the increasingly stupid TSA rules in airports. As someone said once, the root passwords to the American constitution are “terrorism” and “pedophilia” (and “drugs”, though more so in the past).
That said, this guy does seem to be going out of his way to stir up trouble. The way he’s doing things, even though he is legally allowed to take photos in these places, he may just end up earning himself a lifetime ban instead which he won’t be able to do anything about because he’d be trespassing in that case.
There was also an interesting article linked in the comments where a bunch of people dressed up as Best Buy employees one day and then recorded the experience. It deals with some similar issues on answering questions/knowing when you are trespassing/not trespassing.
While we’re on the issue of paranoid and rights, UK police confiscated the board game “War on Terror” (where a spinner randomly determine’s which player’s the terrorist state) because it includes a balaclava (which said player wears) because it could be used for… oh, terrorism. *rolls eyes*
I was taking a photo of the subway today because I thought it might make for an interesting picture, but I was stopped by one of the Muni employees saying something about how since 9-11 photography in subways is forbidden. I asked him for the specific law and he said it was in some “security handbook” which he didn’t have with him. He said it was on their website. Since he didn’t try to confiscate my stuff or force me to delete photos, I didn’t press him further. I should’ve probably gotten his badge number at least, but for the record, this occurred around 8PM today and the guy was sitting in the closed off area at the end of the platform. After I got home I checked and sure enough, I couldn’t find anything on it, so I fired off a letter to SFMTA asking them to point me to the exact law or regulation concerning photography in subways.
Afterward I tried googling and came across some interesting articles from around February 2005 that got a bit of media attention.
Apparently they haven’t learned a thing since then. But given their final reply about that incident, I think I know what response to be expecting. But hey, if they seriously want to go through all the trouble of getting someone to accompany me to take a couple photos, fine by me. I’ll just bring my tripod next time to get a better shot (the one shot I managed to take was too blurry). Maybe I’ll even get the employee to pose. :P And if they try to ignore my letter, then I dunno. Maybe escalate it to the local papers?