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Transportation Security

Amtrak Photo Contestant Arrested By Amtrak Police 675

Photographer Duane Kerzic was standing on the public platform in New York's Penn Station, taking pictures of trains in hopes of winning the annual photo contest that Amtrak had been running since 2003. Amtrak police arrested him for refusing to delete the photos when asked, though they later charged him with trespassing. "Obviously, there is a lack of communication between Amtrak's marketing department, which promotes the annual contest, called Picture Our Trains, and its police department, which has a history of harassing photographers for photographing these same trains. Not much different than the JetBlue incident from earlier this year where JetBlue flight attendants had a woman arrested for refusing to delete a video she filmed in flight while the JetBlue marketing department hosted a contest encouraging passengers to take photos in flight." Kerzic's blog has an account of the arrest on Dec. 21 and the aftermath.
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Amtrak Photo Contestant Arrested By Amtrak Police

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  • by speedtux ( 1307149 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:24PM (#26321865)

    Those companies have no right to ask you to delete photos. They can ask you to leave their premises... once it's safe to do so, that's all.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:29PM (#26321903)
      Of course they have the right to ask you to delete the pictures. It's just that you have the right to refuse :-)
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:31PM (#26321933)

        Or just comply and delete them. Then after the police release you and you're walking away, shout "But I have undeletion software on my computer at home that will recover them!"

        Then run.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Omnifarious ( 11933 )

          Better yet, just claim that you have things set up so your camera automatically uploads all photos to the Internet and so deleting them will do no good.

          • by neapolitan ( 1100101 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:43PM (#26322035)

            *We* appreciate the tongue in cheek humor, but the simplest solution is the best -- take out the card after you take the pictures, or pretend to delete them and move on, or delete - then immediately remove the card for undeletion hopes.

            Getting in a pissing match with a police is always a bad idea. They are not the judges, and they are usually, in their own minds, doing the right thing and unlikely to be convinced by you. Thus, do your best to get out of the situation and appeal to higher authority, somebody with actual decision or policy making capacity.

            I hope this guy gets an apology and a small amount of money. I don't think he should get rich off this incident, but Amtrak police should definitely pay a price for their aggression and misinformation.

            • by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:55PM (#26322117) Homepage Journal

              Uneducated police officers do harm not just to those they arrest illegally but to the image of law enforcement in general.

              Allowing the police to get away with these situations, no matter how small, just because you have the 'smarts' to get out of it is the wrong tack.

              I would suggest confronting the situation legally but head-on as an intelligent person who should be able to defend themselves in these situations. The police forces of the world's democracies need to be kept in check, and we must keep our countries away from the slippery slope of random arrests, threats and other totalitarian scare tactics some police forces have a tendency toward.

              Keep your country free -- fight improper police procedure openly and in public until it changes.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by my $anity 0 ( 917519 )
                Often just one level up will be more knowledgeable and compassionate about situations.

                One of my friends, who is intersex and transgender, was followed and approached by campus police at my school 3 hours after going into the "wrong" bathroom (which one is right?). Sie was almost arrested, but sie and hir friend went to the person in charge. In return, they got a formal apology from the offending police. This shouldn't happen. However, it does, sadly. I was very glad at least someone knew the right thing to

                • by Zironic ( 1112127 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @06:04PM (#26323687)

                  Can't we just use "he" for gender neutral, these new pronouns give me a headache.

                • by Achromatic1978 ( 916097 ) <robertNO@SPAMchromablue.net> on Sunday January 04, 2009 @08:08PM (#26324697)

                  One of my friends, who is intersex and transgender

                  Intersex and transgender?

                  Curiosity is piqued as to how someone who is, by very definition, "of both sexes" (excluding very specific chromosomalities), can be "transgender", the belief that one's gender is opposite to that of their physical characteristics at birth.

                  Failing that, the very desire to identify as transgender engenders (haha) a belief that you are of a specific gender, regardless of physical characteristics - then using the nominals "sie" and "hir" are counter to that, because they are the very elucidation of the perception that you/they are "different" altogether.

                  My personal belief is that a lot of times, such nominatives are rather used far more to draw attention to one's self as being different than for genuine identity, and despite the constant protestations that one does not want to be seen or treated as different in any way.

                  • by pyrrhonist ( 701154 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @08:28PM (#26324831)

                    Curiosity is piqued as to how someone who is, by very definition, "of both sexes", can be "transgender", the belief that one's gender is opposite to that of their physical characteristics at birth.

                    They were born a hermaphrodite, but inside they feel like a himaphrodite.

                  • by Trinn ( 523103 ) <livinglatexkali@gmail.com> on Sunday January 04, 2009 @09:58PM (#26325525)
                    Transgender actually does not mean "of the opposite gender"...that doesn't really even make sense there. The meaning of the term "Transgender" is that you are somehow non-normative in your gender identity or expression, i.e. in some way shape or form, your gender identity or expression do not match the gender identity you were assigned at birth by a doctor/your parents. (and yes we are all assigned one of these in our society, its the gender marker on our birth certificates and the gender role we are rasied in). Transgender can include anything from "cross-dressing" to changing your body to more match your true gender identity (commonly known as being transsexual). Being intersexed is a physiological condition that doesn't have much to do with gender identity except that gender identity cannot be simply assigned at birth (though it often is anyway, removing or hiding or downplaying characteristics that don't fit the simple binary). Therefore its very simple for someone to be intersexed & transgender, all they have to do is express a differet gender identity than the one they were handed on that birth certificate, or even simply act outside their prescribed gender role to some large degree. Also, there are more than just two binary gender expressions/gender identities. There are many people who are in one way or another not just 'male' or 'female' in their own internal gender identity, and these people tend to use these pronouns, as a way of showing they are not simply one of the two binary genders. To disclose my personal stake here, I have many transgendered friends, and I myself am transsexual, what's known as "mtf".
              • by INT_QRK ( 1043164 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @04:07PM (#26322705)
                I'd just like to propose the possibility that the law enforcement officers in questions may have been thoroughly "educated" in TSA regulations and guidelines implementing applicable law. Could it be that the marketing people who were ignorant?
                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  marketing usually reports to upper management. in most corporations, if the marketing department doesn't just decide to run a major campaign without the company's approval. unless there's a law that forbids Amtrak from allowing people to take photos of their trains, then the police were out of line, not the marketing department.

                  that's like saying that a police officer who comes into my house and arrests one of my guests is just implementing applicable law. after all, who am i--the property owner-to decide w

              • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @04:24PM (#26322851)
                >"I would suggest confronting the situation legally but head-on as an intelligent person who should be able to defend themselves in these situations...."

                "Have you ever been arrested?"
                "And what was that for?"
                "Molesting an officer, why?"
              • by billster0808 ( 739783 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @04:59PM (#26323133) Homepage
                That's all fine and good if you've got a big pile of money for a lawyer, and don't mind missing a few days of work to spend in court. But what if you're an average middle class person trying to scrape by, you probably can't afford an attorney and can't risk taking the time off of work because they're afraid they'll get laid off. Wanting to fight the Man is great, but doing so just isn't realistic for most people.
              • by instarx ( 615765 ) on Monday January 05, 2009 @11:10AM (#26330703)

                It takes a lot of looking on the photographer's self-serving web site, but the photographer was not "just taking pictures". He was walking across active tracks in Penn Station which IS trespass. No ticket allows passengers to leave the platform and walk on active tracks.

                The Transit Police were NOT legally wrong to ask him to delete the pictures - he had the right to refuse to do so. That the pictures have been published n his web site indicate they were not confiscated or deleted by the police.

                His summons was for Trespass, and that appears to be a legitimate charge, he WAS trespassing. He is acting like a 3-year old when he argues that since there were no "No Trepsasing" signs he was not trespassing when he walked across the tracks. That's absurd.

                I'm a photographer, and I support the free taking of pictures in public spaces, but this was NOT an arrest for taking pictures in Penn Station. This was an arrest for irresponsible trespass and endangering his own and other's safety in Penn Station. As proof, he was in a picture-taking group, many people had been taking pictures at the same time he was, pictures were even taken during his arrest on the platform by members of the group, and NONE OF THEM were arrested.

              • by mhollis ( 727905 ) on Monday January 05, 2009 @12:20PM (#26331721) Journal

                In order to be a policemen in New York City, you have to pass the exam at the end of a tour through the Police Academy with 60 college credits (a two-year AA degree) with a 2.0 GPA. These guys aren't lawyers.

                But that's the NYPD. Kerzic was detained by Amtrak Rent-A-Cops. These guys are just a whiff of respectability up from Mall "cops."

                What has happened here is that the Federal Government has now got these guys all jazzed up about the concept of a terrorist attack on trains or train stations and they have created "rules for behavior" that are based on rights deprivation.

                The unfortunate fact is that the local police are called upon and "deputized" by the feds (either the Secret Service or some other federal agency) to enforce the unenforceable. So the Amtrak police arrested Kerzic when he refused to comply with an illegal order. So suing Amtrak actually hurts one of the victims.

                In this case, it's pretty near impossible to follow the orders up the chain of command to the federal government. Just like it was in the case of the release of the Abu Graib torture photos, the feds who actually made the decisions to promote these actions will create an aura of "deniability" that will last until they are out of office.

                We need to prosecute Bush, Cheny, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and so on for their crimes -- after they leave office. We need to do this for the same reason why we need to prosecute Agusto Pinochet for his crimes against humanity: Pinochet thought and this administration thinks that once one has retired from office, they are free to pursue their lives without fear of any adverse consequences -- save perhaps vilification.

                Nixon believed he was above the law. The US Supreme Court disagreed. Now, we have another opportunity to test the maxim that no man is above the law in the United States. We should prosecute so that never again is our Constitution threatened by someone who believes, as Nixon did, that "when the President does something, it's not illegal."

                I suppose he should sue. But he should sue for the purpose of exposing the chain of command that set these dogs loose, and not to dismember Amtrak.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 04, 2009 @04:24PM (#26322855)

              *We* appreciate the tongue in cheek humor, but the simplest solution is the best -- take out the card after you take the pictures, or pretend to delete them and move on, or delete - then immediately remove the card for undeletion hopes.

              Getting in a pissing match with a police is always a bad idea. They are not the judges, and they are usually, in their own minds, doing the right thing and unlikely to be convinced by you. Thus, do your best to get out of the situation and appeal to higher authority, somebody with actual decision or policy making capacity.

              I hope this guy gets an apology and a small amount of money. I don't think he should get rich off this incident, but Amtrak police should definitely pay a price for their aggression and misinformation.

              I'm a former police office and I disagree with you on getting into a pissing match with the police. If you know that you're doing nothing wrong you should most definitely stand up for your right to do it. Those who would lay down their rights, simply to avoid confrontation, don't deserve to have those rights!

              • by MaskedSlacker ( 911878 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @05:36PM (#26323421)

                In principle that's a grand thing, but when the reality is that you will have to pay a price, even if you win, and the officer in question will likely suffer nothing, even if he loses, then it becomes a distinction without a difference. Either way, the civilian loses.

                • by NFN_NLN ( 633283 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @05:51PM (#26323555)

                  In principle that's a grand thing, but when the reality is that you will have to pay a price, even if you win, and the officer in question will likely suffer nothing, even if he loses, then it becomes a distinction without a difference. Either way, the civilian loses.

                  Freedom isn't free. Your forefathers put in a great deal more effort to attain their freedom. It's not too much to ask that you do something from time to time to retain your freedom.

                  Like all governments in the past this one will also fail and need to be refreshed. What will you be doing when that time comes?

                  "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
                  - Thomas Jefferson

              • by chrispycreeme ( 550607 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @05:57PM (#26323623)

                I shouldn't have to get tased to stand up for my rights. Since cops are so taser happy these days I'd rather take the sneaky approach. There is no way I can physically stand up to guys with guns, batons, and tazers but most third graders can easily outsmart most cops. I'd rather take them on in a way where I can get what I want and then sue the crap out of them later. Better to let them think they have won and temporarily satisfy their macho self image only to prove to them how stupid they are later.

                Now if we start hiring intelligent, trained police officers I might change my tune. But I don't see that happening anytime soon.

                • by narcberry ( 1328009 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @06:45PM (#26324081) Journal

                  You're likely to have a lot more problems if you pocket your storage device and lie that you deleted the photos. Police deal with people trying that kind of crap all the time, you want to act like a criminal?

                  If you're doing nothing wrong, then act like you're doing nothing wrong. Don't piss all over my rights, you're a citizen with a responsibility to stand for our rights, no matter how inconvenient to you, you selfish prick.

              • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Sunday January 04, 2009 @07:27PM (#26324425)
                You are definitely wrong. All the lawyers I've talked to say that the less you say the police the better. Basically, they've already decided you are doing something wrong, and talking to them about it rarely changes that . On the other hand, if you try to talk them out of it, since so many things are illegal, you may unknowingly incriminate yourself.

                The best thing to do is say "yes, officer" "sorry officer" and "it won't happen again". Take you ticket and go. No matter how wrong you think they are, they have the guns and the authority and you have nothing.
              • by firephreek ( 752523 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @09:09PM (#26325167)
                Unfortunately, when I tried to stand up for my rights, I was taken into a back room, verbally assaulted, told to shut the f**k up and do exactly as they say because there were no witnesses and they would do everything the wanted to make sure I did exactly like they said, so I should get smart really f**king quick. All the while, the Tucson Police Dept officer's hand hovered over the holster of his weapon, his face inches from me, while my hands are cuffed behind my back and I'd already been thrown about. What I'd done? I had asked why I had just been jumped by three security agents, handcuffed, dragged about and threatened with pepper spray. I'm a law abiding citizen, had made no threatening movements or gestures. When they tried to offer diversion at my arraignment? I declined, preferring a trial, at which point all charges were dropped, dismissed, and the arrest was stricken from my record. In short: I had done absolutely nothing at all wrong. This is in short, why I remain incredibily paranoid and distrustful of law enforcement. I get very nervous and very uncomfortable around your badge wearing brothers. They no longer receive my donations.
              • by KingOfBLASH ( 620432 ) on Monday January 05, 2009 @06:30AM (#26328265) Journal
                I think the point is not that people don't want to stand up for their rights, but that the police officer has the upper hand in any confrontation. They come equipped with weapons (pepperspray, tazers, guns) and if you were to ever try to defend yourself if they were in the wrong you'd still get in trouble (not guilty? trespassing. guilty? striking a police officer)

                Years ago, I was walking around campus late at night. I hadn't been drinking, hadn't done anything wrong. I was just pulling an all nighter and looking for some coffee or something. So I went walking around looking for something, ANYTHING that would be open -- gas station or whatever.

                A cop saw me and just decided to be a dick, or maybe he was bored. He came up to me and started asking me questions. I tried to be polite but when he asked to see my id, I said no, and he insisted. So I told him this wasn't communist russia and I could very well walk around without an id if I liked.

                I ended up taking a ride in the police car that night and spending a night in jail until the judge saw me the next morning. The judge immediately let me go and I have no idea what exactly I was arrested for.

                But what should I have done in that situation? When he started handcuffing me I could have refused and punched him in the face, right? But then instead of just having handcuffs on that were too tight I would probably gotten bruised and skinned my face when he pushed me to the ground.

                And did the cop suffer? A lawyer told me there wasn't enough to go after the guy (I complied when arrested so wasn't exactly bruised up).

                I think the whole point of my rambling is that there needs to be a way for the plebs to fight back against police who overstep their bounds, and I don't think that exists...
        • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @03:39PM (#26322459) Journal
          "Is it illegal to take photos?" If they claim it is, then ask why they want you to delete evidence. If not ask them why they want you to delete lawfully taken photos.
    • by ktappe ( 747125 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:37PM (#26321979)

      They can ask you to leave their premises

      Even that is questionable. This is a publicly-funded organization (they provide mass transit, after all) and the photographer had a legally purchased ticket. They do NOT have the right to selectively ask people to leave without a just reason for same (eg. threatening others, intoxication, etc.) Civil rights laws passed in the 1960's protect everyone, not just the african americans who fought for them--if others have the right to stay on the train platform, so does he.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gluefish ( 899099 )
        The Roman Republic is history. So is the America we knew in the '60's.
    • by corsec67 ( 627446 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:40PM (#26322007) Homepage Journal

      Those companies have no right to ask you to delete photos.

      You don't even have to show them the pictures you took, since photography when you aren't trespassing isn't a crime. (Secure areas of military installations and nuclear facilities aside.)

      If you are allowed to be there, you aren't committing a crime until they ask you to leave and you don't. They can say "Stop taking pictures or leave" if you are on private property and that is said by a representative of the property you are on. In public, you can photograph pretty much anything, especially police and other security personnel.

      IANAL, and laws might be different in your state, but here [krages.com] is a lawyer talking about this, and a nice little pamphlet [krages.com] he made about this.

    • by Kindaian ( 577374 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:56PM (#26322133) Homepage

      First it isn't their premises.

      Second he had a ticket, so they can't evict him from the platform before he decides at his own time to do so (not dragging feet naturally but not need to force him to sprint out either).

      Third it's public space.

      It is unconstitutional to forbid photography in public spaces as photography has been confirmed by the Supreme Court as included in the 1st Amendment protections.

      But I'm only dabbling things read elsewhere... like ITFA...

      • by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @05:44PM (#26323505) Homepage

        First it isn't their premises.

        Amtrak owns New York Penn station.

        The "No Photos" rule, I believe, is a NY/NJ Port Authority policy. I'm not quite sure what their Jurisdiction is over there, although there are definitely rules against taking photos on the PATH (which the Port Authority directly operates)

        Whether or not these rules are constitutional or not is up to debate (they're almost certainly not). However, you can't fault the officers at the station for obeying their (fairly innocuous) orders. This sounds like something that the ACLU (or similar organization) should take up in court to have the official policy changed.

        • by anothy ( 83176 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @07:05PM (#26324263) Homepage
          assume it's true that the NY/NJ PA has a no-photos policy on property they own and operate; assume Amtrak (or whoever else you like outside of the relevant legislatures) has similar policies. and assume they're unambiguous that you're violating them. taking photos is still not illegal because - and this is important - none of these organizations make law. the photographer in this incident was charged with Trespass, as per NY State Penal Code Part 3, Title I, Article 140.05. go read it [state.ny.us] - the entire 140's a relatively easily-comprehensible piece of law. the photographer had a legal license to be on the where he was, and while a violation of the PA's, Amtrak, or whoever's rules might give them good grounds to ask him to leave, there is simply no trespass until he refuses such a lawfully given request.

          remember, always: laws, in democracies, are made by those with legislative authority, not policing authority or private individuals or organizations. neither airlines, nor amtrak, nor the police, may make or redefine laws.
  • by SiliconEntity ( 448450 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:34PM (#26321951)

    Here is a better link to what happened:

    http://www.duanek.name/Amtrak/index.htm [duanek.name]

    • by eggoeater ( 704775 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:45PM (#26322055) Journal
      If you are taking photographs in a public place, know your rights. Take a copy of this with you:

      http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm [krages.com]
      • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @04:52PM (#26323083)

        Photographers have it really bad in this country... more than ever.

        It is very important to have something like this with you, or to at least read it and have a copy. There are other resources online about Photographer rights and how they pertain.

        Cops dont like to be challenged. They especially do not like to be outsmarted. So before you spring one of these papers on a cop and say "gotcha!", you should be polite and as nonthreatening as you can possibly be.

        Make the officer feel comfortable with you, even if the officer is being a complete dick. You can often diffuse their attitude with politeness because people respond to respect and politeness.

        I've taking pictures on public places, doing outdoor photo shoots etc and I've had cops check us out to see what is going on. They usually just observe to make sure you're not causing trouble or destroying property. All they really want to know is if you're trouble or not.

        If they ask you what you're doing, say its for school, and you're learning photography. If you have GEAR... real gear, they're probably going to figure out you're telling the truth. Who the hell is lugging around soft boxes and strobes to public places, intending to anything illegal or harmful? Permits are smart if you can get them. But lets be real... sometimes we dont shoot with permits in "low risk of being arrested" situations :)

        I can understand how police may not want you taking pictures of trains or the station but there really isnt anything wrong with it. Especially since AMTRAK was holding a contest. People have historically taking photos of trains and family members boarding or arriving at stations. Its so common that I cant imagine not being able to shoot a photo in front of a train or of a train.

        I would never delete a picture a cop told me to. Thats ridiculous. I grew up skateboarding, and we would record ourselves street skating all over and I had to deal with many cops, and in general they've been nice. Most just want you to leave, and then there are some who are just assholes. In general, most of the cops were good natured folks... stern and authoritative but... good folks.

        Its the dumb assholes that ruin it. Unfortunately most people dont really care about their personal freedoms anymore, and police sometimes dont act with "civil rights" in mind. Theres a video somewhere online where a cop slams a female photographer on the street, she hits her face and is seriously hurt. She wasnt even doing anything wrong other than being witness to a civil protest. Things like that make me sad and make me wonder just what America is anymore.

        Anyways... be nice, know your rights and CONVERSE with the officer if possible. Make them feel comfortable with you. Ultimately if they want you to leave... its best to leave because it will just cost you a lot of money to fight it in court... even if you're right. The time wasted, the headaches, the nonsense... its not worth it sometimes.

        I've been saying America is dead for a long time. It just goes to show you that your rights dont mean shit and everyday you need to make sure you stand up for them.

        George Carlin said it best... just google Carlin "You have no rights" on youtube.

    • He's partly wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @03:02PM (#26322171)

      I am a somewhat serious photographer myself, and so I feel empathy for Duane (I have been questioned before about taking photography in some places, but never arrested nor asked to delete photos).

      However although it is true in the list he makes of previous terrorist actions where no photos were used (as far as I know), something to consider is that the terrorists in the recent Mumbai attacks had extensive photo and video reconnaissance of places like the hotel they attacked, a restaurant they planned to attack and also the Jewish center they attacked. Honestly I have a hard time believing that no photography was used in any of the other actions, even as simple a thing as looking at photographs of the New York skyline on Flickr.

      However, just because photography (like many other things) is a tool which can be used for ill as well as good, in no way does that make it right to arrest someone anywhere for taking photos. But you shouldn't put it forward as fact that real life terrorists never use photographs as reconnaissance material.

      An interesting distinction is that he was not arrested for taking photos, but for refusing to delete them when asked. The practical reality of such a situation is that what I would do is delete the photos and simply un-delete them later (always carry more than one card)... but I do think it's wrong or at least silly to make deletion a condition of arrest as there's no way any officer is going to be technically proficient enough to ensure that the photos are actually deleted, and trying to ensure compliance through confiscation of equipment is frankly almost worse than arrest as it's way too easy to abuse as a form of theft of equipment whereas arrest has more real repercussions and officers are not as likely to go that far (not to mention I'll just palm my CF card while you are not looking and slip in a new one so I can keep my photos).

      I'd be more comfortable with making it necessary on request to be photographed or videotaped (along with your ID) by the police officer if he suspects you of anything (not just photography, but taking odd notes or sketches of a floorplan). You don't get arrested, you get to leave with your photos - but the possibility of being "officially" recorded may be enough to deter some true reconnaissance work (just as much as the threat of being arrested for taking photographs today). Some people see that as police state kind of stuff but honestly the way things are we are recorded almost constantly in public anyway, so I do not see any issue with one more recording being made and I don't think of it as an invasion of privacy when I am out somewhere that is not private. It doesn't limit my freedom in any way and leaning on that more heavily than arrest gives me back freedom of photography that we are starting to lack.

      • An interesting distinction is that he was not arrested for taking photos, but for refusing to delete them when asked. The practical reality of such a situation is that what I would do is delete the photos and simply un-delete them later

        I think this is the wrong line of thought , this reinforce the police/security agent/supermarket agent/whatever to really think they can ask you to delete photo/submit you to a search (for anybody but police) when they are not allowed by law.In other word you erode the fre
  • by rastoboy29 ( 807168 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:38PM (#26321993) Homepage
    It seems like we're always hearing about people repressing each other these days by demanding they delete videos from their camera.  What's with this?  It's unusually asinine even for the general public.  I mean, not only are these folks imagining they have rights over another which they do not have, but certainly someone could trivially "fake delete" the photos in their camera?  Are they technical enough to watch someone do this and know it's for real?  They have familiarity with every camera interface (not known for their simplicity) known to man?

    I mean, a proper repressor would confiscate the camera.  They can't even repress properly, these days.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      What's with the "CODE" tag? We're using computers, not typewriters. Monospace fonts for regular text is just painful.

  • good! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:39PM (#26322001)

    he should be arrested for abusing the LensBaby

    he's not a photographer, he's a motion sickness inducing quack

  • by Samschnooks ( 1415697 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:44PM (#26322043)
    Carolyn E. Wright's site [photoattorney.com]

    In her blog, there's more about NY City cops harassing anyone with a camera.

    So much for living life normally. The terrorists have won.

  • PUNishment (Score:5, Funny)

    by gooman ( 709147 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:45PM (#26322047) Journal

    Sounds like the police derailed his plans.
    Maybe they need more training.
    That's no way to conduct themselves.
    The marketing department is on the right track here.
    Someone should engineer a solution.

  • by vell0cet ( 1055494 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:45PM (#26322051)
    The point of the contest is not to take really great pictures, it's to try to get away with it. It all makes sense now, it's just a ploy to test their private police.
  • Nowhere in his original account (http://www.duanek.name/Amtrak/index.htm [duanek.name]) does he state that he was taking the pictures for the contest. It seems to be that the journalist chose to heavily emphasize the contest angle, perhaps to go for a more compelling story. Unfortunately, the journalist's choice to spin it as a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, he missed the bigger picture. Photographers are increasingly faced with arbitrary restrictions and demands that are not based upon the law, but based on fear. Forums at places like dpreview.com and flickr are often abuzz with stories of cops making unreasonable demands.

    The only way to counteract this is with knowledge. If you happen to like taking pictures of subjects in public spaces, http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm [krages.com] is an enlightening read. This link (http://www.kantor.com/blog/Legal-Rights-of-Photographers.pdf [kantor.com]) says essentially the same thing, but lays it out with a real-world example.

    Also, to the editors, perhaps having a link to the current version of the contest (http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/am2Copy/Hot_Deals_Page&c=am2Copy&cid=1093554057903&ssid=224 [amtrak.com]) would be good. I was skeptical that they actually had continued running the contest until I found that.

  • London Underground (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gord ( 23773 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:51PM (#26322099) Homepage

    Just as a comparison with the London Underground, taking any photos on the Underground requires a permit which costs £300 for a two-hour permit (less for students), details are here [tfl.gov.uk]. I wonder what the penalty for taking photographs with out a permit is...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by larien ( 5608 )
      UK law is slightly different, but my understanding is that taking photographs on private land requires the permission of the land/building owner; in the case of the underground, that's TFL. The owner is entitled to make whatever demands on the photographer it sees fit, up to and including charging for a license.
  • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @02:58PM (#26322143)

    How many NYC transit cops does it take to push a camera nerd down the stairs?

    None, he tripped.

  • by PingXao ( 153057 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @03:01PM (#26322155)

    All the security bullshit is just that: bullshit. Security Theater. The talk is big (this includes recent cyber-security alarmist stories) but in no relation whatsoever to real threats. The arena of "security" is about protecting the feifdom now. Jobs and budgets to protect. Projects to hype. Dangers to overestimate. Get your consultant dollars - step right up.

    Somebody has to call a spade a spade and do it soon or else Orwell will be here to stay in this guise. Bush opened the door. Americans invited him in. Failure to now see that the emperor has no clothes will be his invitation to stay on as a permanent houseguest.

    IMO the hero of this story is that citizen who, when asked to delete their photo, told them to go fuck themselves.

  • by iktos ( 166530 ) * on Sunday January 04, 2009 @03:02PM (#26322175)

    Amtrak security was even filmed saying filming isn't allowed, when a news crew was interviewing Amtrak's spokesperson, who very clearly was saying there's no policy forbidding filming or taking photographs:
    http://www.myfoxdc.com/myfox/pages/ContentDetail?contentId=6664418 [myfoxdc.com]

  • by clang_jangle ( 975789 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @03:05PM (#26322195) Journal
    According to his blog, he was in a posted "no trespassing" area at the time. The only real defense he has is that the signs are not very conspicuous. I agree the amtrack cop's behavior sounds bad, but it's hard to say whether or not he was provoked by his "victim" -- not that that's any excuse, but it does suggest the incident may be overblown and the cop's actions somewhat understandable, if a bit over the top. Amtrack cops are human too.
    • I am a pretty serious photographer, and have taken pictures in similar areas.

      I've been asked by police what I was doing and my reasons for photographing something, but I've never been asked to delete photos or been detained. Basically I think it boils down to being friendly instead of automatically treating police as the "enemy". Police being the only authority present on the scene, (rightfully) have a lot of leeway in how they can respond to any given individual and you should respect that (and if you a

  • by Lumenary7204 ( 706407 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @03:20PM (#26322315)
    It's a shame how many of our rights are being curtailed in the name of "National Security".

    As far as I've been able to ascertain from the article, Mr. Kerzic was standing in an area designated for use by the public. It does not appear to be a restricted area, and from what I can see from the photograph in the article, there are no signs warning against photography by the public.

    However, as bad as we may think it is here in the United States (compared to the pre-9/11 world), things are much worse in the United Kingdom. The rights of the Individual in the UK are enshrined in Common Law (i.e., customary law passed down through the ages), and not explicitly delineated in any sort of constitutional document.

    For example, in the US, we have a Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing the right against self-incrimination [wikipedia.org]. A recent court case [wikipedia.org] implies that this right includes encryption keys: If a law enforcement agency impounds your laptop for analysis, but can't get anything out of it because the contents have been encrypted, too bad for them. Handing over the encryption key would be a form of self-incrimination [cnet.com], so you don't have to do it.

    On the other hand, laws, ordinances, and Police reactions regarding individual freedoms can and often do change at a whim, depending on what is expedient at the time (8th paragraph, about half-way down) [theregister.co.uk]. In addition, since the right against self-incrimination is based on Common Law, and not written as an explicit right, ordinances like the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act [wikipedia.org] can easily curtail and eliminate such rights [theregister.co.uk]. As usual, some groups say that even these powers do not go far enough [guardian.co.uk], invoking the familiar mantra of "National Security".

    And these things are happening in two of the most "open and democratic" societies the world has ever seen...

    And on a side-note, here's an interesting question: Who's standing in the "restricted" zone across the tracks taking the picture of the "public" train platform?
  • by hoytt ( 469787 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @03:22PM (#26322333)
    I've shot plenty of train pictures in various European countries and so far I've only experienced problems in Marseille this summer. I was asked to stop taking pictures by a gentleman with a somewhat official suit and a walkie-talkie. My lack of French at that point made it smarter to follow the instructions rather than ask him what the exact problems were. In both Germany and Switzerland no one even came to ask what I was doing while taking pictures. Especially Switzerland with all the different railroads and rolling stock is a country where you might end up with a small group of people all shooting the same trains.
  • by Ron Bennett ( 14590 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @03:39PM (#26322463) Homepage

    In the near future, with digital cameras getting smaller and better, it's only a matter of time before many people have a tiny video camera in the frame of their eye glasses, or on a necklace, or even perhaps, woven into their clothing, which is recording all the time, with occasional auto-saves to the internet.


  • by Teancum ( 67324 ) <robert_horning@n ... t ['zer' in gap]> on Sunday January 04, 2009 @03:53PM (#26322587) Homepage Journal

    I would have to agree that citing reasons of "national security" or "potential terrorist threat" as rationale for stopping photography of public places is about as lame as it gets. Once the photos are taken, the photographer should simply move on and be done.

    This said, I have seen photographers abuse their "1st amendment rights" by setting up what is arguably a campsite with tripods, light meters, lighting, and other equipment that takes up space and can interfere with other patrons or members of the public that need to use those public spaces. Clearly even this photographer was doing more than simply taking a quick snapshot of a friend and moving on, even if he didn't pull out all of the toys of a genuine professional.

    In a situation like this, obtaining a "permit" in terms of organizing a more protracted shooting session and letting the station manager know what you are going to be doing there would certainly have at least some value, and they might be able to suggest some more optimal times to take the photographs or locations that would reduce or eliminate interference. You might even be able to get access to areas not normally deemed "public access" as well. Rather than being something of a problem, you might have an escort that would even be helping you out with the shoot.

    What really should have happened here was the officer politely but firmly saying: "Excuse me, sir, but you are standing in the way and could you move along and do that somewhere else?" or even "I would rather you be standing over here" (pointing to a logical location that is out of the way). A photographer that insists at that point in being an ass can have multiple charges thrown at him, including failure to obey a lawful order, disturbing the peace, and more. The lawful order here would be to move along and stay out of pedestrian traffic lanes.

    Other than having the photographer getting in everybody's way, I don't see any other rationale for prohibiting this sort of photography. Even a rough "move it, buddy" would have at least given a proper message. Clearly this officer needs to have a good indoctrination of what the law actually is in this situation.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @04:40PM (#26322985)
    This would be a great way for celebrities to deal with paparazzi taking photos of them in public places. The Paris Hilton Police could simply arrest photographers and confiscate their material.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein