Discussion in 'Photography, Law & Travel' started by KrazyKat, Nov 27, 2012.
HUGE for police, for TSA....
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that it would not hear an appeal of a lower court decision making the filming of police officers who are on duty, legal and protected by the First Amendment. That appeal came from Cook County, Illinois, which wanted to, and tried to make filming police a crime punishable with up to 15 years in prison.
You can read about that here, but the main issue now is just how this will affect the filming of TSA officials and their army of jackbooted thugs who either pat you down; or run you through a machine that X-ray's your body.
The issue at hand is that TSA agents are public servants just like police officers. They are paid with taxpayer money and receive benefits which are also paid by the taxpayers of this country; and, they perform their duties on public property, in public areas.
It would seem that if the Supreme Court stood behind the decision of a lower court on the issue of filming police, then the same scenario would fit the TSA Administrators and employees.
Currently the regulations are in accordance with what is described above, the problem is with the folks that don't follow said regulations. There is simply no excuse for some of the videos I have seen pertaining to this issue. There are some problems with personal experiences, I recently had to explain to someone (a passenger) that if they are in public, there is no expectation of privacy *. In a public setting, anyone can film you and your items and pretty much everything you do (there are some laws about restrooms/dressing rooms, but they vary based on geography)**. I also explained that if the first passenger had that much of a problem, that I was not the right person to be complaining to, that local LEOs would be the next logical step... Needless to say, the first passenger was not very happy with me or the family filming. Quite the opposite, the family was tickled that I explained it well and told me so (I also refrained from telling them they could have handled the situation a bit better, and there most likely would have been no real conflict past the initial discussion).
*Background - the passenger had another family of passengers that were filming near the checkpoint and sat down near the first passenger. While they were filming the first passenger asked the family not to film them, and in a show of great cooperation, the family essentially told the first passenger to get bent in much kinder terms. After the initial exchange, it continued to escalate and the first passenger came over to me (standing near the TDC) and asked me to tell them to stop filming.
** More background - I have had several people tell me that they believe someone has to stop filming them if they request it - I disabused them of this notion with regard to the public setting (whether it took or not remains to be seen I guess)
I have also had some people explain that if you tell someone to stop recording and they don't, you can sue them for harrassment - I explained that most states and municipalities have certain thresholds required for a lawsuit to proceed, but they are welcome to call Bob Crumley (a local attorney that is prolific in tv ads)and try, but not to hold their breath. Any of our legal eagles here want to help me explain that a bit better next time? Sunny Goth maybe?
I wouldn't blame private individuals who don't want to be video'd in a public setting, and most people who are filming wouldn't press the issue. That's not what this case was about, Rugape. It is about public accountability of those wielding the force of the state up to and including baton blows and gunfire. This is particularly crucial in the case of police who are embedded in the investigative and charging apparatus and therefore have the possibility of being shielded from the consequence of their actions. Like our CBP friend who, according to one eyewitness, murdered the young mother of five down in San Diego, and had his buddies cover for him. You don't suppose a video in that situation would have been very useful one way or the other?
Knowing people are filming you is a great incentive to conduct yourself well. I can't see good cops being bothered by it. Bad ones, yes. Cockroaches hate the light. There is a reason for dashcams and body cams. They protect everyone, including the police.
It's a good idea to check on what was actually appealed before one reaches conclusions.
The matter is simply being returned to the U.S. District Court for reconsideration as per the order of the original Court of Appeals panel.
No final ruling has been made in the case, although it appears the cards likely are stacked against Illinois' corrupt apparatchiks.
More discussion in this feed item from Carlos Miller (Photography is Not a Crime):
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