More insanity about photography

This pair of stories from the UK, plus one from Miami, Florida, US, are enough to make any decent person’s blood boil. While these first two are both UK stories, these are equally likely in the US (and other “free” countries).

The first is a report from the Telegraph about parents not being allowed to photograph their own children at a sports day event. The second is a story from the Mail Online about a policemen deleting a tourist’s photos in the name of security. The third story comes from Carlos Miller who documents an absolute absurdity with regard to his long-running legal action. The courts want Carlos to transcribe the entire trial at his expense, not just the portions he believes are pertinent to the appeal. This will cost Carlos at least US$2,500 at US$5 per page.

I don’t know what the schools are attempting to accomplish by keeping parents from taking pictures of their own children. Have we really reached the point where a camera is more feared than a firearm?

With regard to the second, this story is evidence that security paranoia has gotten way out of hand. At least in the US, police or private security guards almost never have legal basis to delete photos (or video or audio). As a general rule, one should never voluntarily surrender one’s camera or recording media.

Finally, Carlos is already appealing his case pro se mainly due to lack of money for a lawyer. Every lawyer Carlos spoke to wanted upwards of US$10,000 to handle the appeal. It disgusts me that our “justice system” expects people who obviously can’t afford it to spend thousands of dollars to get what is rightfully theirs.

For those unfamiliar with Carlos’ story, he maintains an excellent blog entitled Photography is Not a Crime which has complete archives dating back to the first post on 2007-04-28.

Prank or crime? Impersonating Joba

A New York Post story which came to my attention via @emoltzen on Twitter is particularly disturbing on more than one level.

It is less than honest to claim to be someone or something you’re not. While I am no real fan of laws which rely heavily on intent (the reasoning behind this I will save for another entry), this is one rare case where the concept may do some good. I don’t think the accused in this story really set out to convince the entire town he was in fact Joba Chaimberlain and exploiting it.

If the bagel shop chose to give this man a free bagel based on resemblance alone, that’s really on them. I think it’s a gross miscarriage of justice to prosecute someone for theft for what is in all honesty, the shop’s error. This is, after all, about a bagel.

I am also disturbed about “disorderly conduct” being tacked on to the list of charges. I don’t see exactly how that comes into play unless the accused really was being disorderly, something not really indicated in the article. This is a disturbing trend, the dartboard approach to criminal justice: throw a bunch of charges at the accused, and hope some of them stick.

I hope for a “not guilty” verdict, and maybe the bagel shop employees finding a way to fine-tune their B.S. detectors. And, if necessary, I’ll write a list of signs that someone who claims to be me isn’t the genuine article. For now, I’ll just say that I rarely eat bagels.