Twitter and Facebook banned at some college sporting events

I can’t believe I’m reading this, much less blogging about it.

The St. Petersburg Times recently reported on the Southeast Conference (SEC) issuing an edict to its twelve member schools, further limiting the amount of audio, video, and real-time blogging allowed at practices, games, and news conferences.

The truly disturbing part, is that according to this same edict, fans are now barred from updating social networking sites from the stands. This includes updating Twitter or Facebook, posting pictures to Flickr, or uploading videos to YouTube, and (I would assume) live blogging during a game.

This policy is not just galactically stupid, it’s an enforcement nightmare and has untold masses of sports fans in an uproar.

This quote is about as direct and to-the-point as one can get:

“I would guess,” said Mike Masnick, the editor of the respected blog techdirt, “that they’re realizing that anyone can be a reporter or a broadcaster these days.

A.J. Liebling’s famous quote, which I’ve used here before, “Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one,” is about to become about as quaint as the printing presses of his era.

Information wants to be free. Technology has advanced to the point where video cameras can be combined with a device that’s nominally a telephone. This policy, even if nominally a success, will still reflect very badly on the SEC as an inept attempt at censorship, doomed to failure in the long term.

(Note: I now also see the quote attributed to H.L. Mencken. I’m not sure which attribution is actually correct. If anyone knows for sure drop me a line using the comment form.)

HPD officer harasses photographer

I just happened to see this photo and its horrifying narrative in the description when browsing my Flickr feed. Three additional photos follow this one, but all have the same description.

Of particular note are these two quotes from the photographer’s narrative:

…if I was in any way impeding his work, I would be glad to comply with his orders, but otherwise I would continue about my business. He insisted that I was disrupting his work by taking photos as he “doesn’t want his picture taken.”

Upon noting my refusal, Officer Hudson reached for my camera, as if to take it out of my hands. I pulled back and again reiterated my point that I was in my rights to take the photos. He stated that I could either delete my photos or he would arrest me for obstruction of justice.

One of the pictures shows an HPD cruiser with unit number 37622 and Texas exempt plates 104-0046. Unfortunately this is the only identifiable vehicle from the pictures. This along with the date and approximate time (March 3 at around 6pm), and location (Hidalgo near Post Oak Boulevard) should be enough to identify exactly who Officer Hudson is, including badge number.

This is a clear-cut case of abuse of police power, as well as a violation of the standards by which decent people live.