| Friday 4th July 2008 | Issue
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In West Sussex, according to hired goon “Town Centre Wardens”, it is illegal to have a camera with you if you start snapping away in public!
Last Saturday, on the 12th anniversary of Worthing’s first CCTV cameras going up, a small group of Game-for-a-Laugh Worthing locals had a tongue-in-cheek tour of the spies in the sky, taking photographs of these unwelcome landmarks as they went (watching us watching you watching us...)
Dave Phillips from top Worthing newsletter the Porkbolter explained: “It was all very light-hearted and easy-going until we reached Holder’s Corner in Montague Street and these wardens came storming over to tell us we weren’t allowed to take photos in a public place!” These burgundy-attired security guards (paid for by local businesses), refused to give their names and had no visible ID (unlike police), and (naturally) couldn’t quote the non-existent law. An outraged campaigner picked up the megaphone and alerted shoppers to what was going on, and one of the goons grabbed the megaphone and tried to steal it! With a bewildered crowd assembling, the wardens eventually sulked off to their office – but the intimidation tactics may well have worked with less spunky artists.
More info: www.eco-action.org/porkbolter/Burgundybullies.html
Video of incident: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeTIv9UkY8c
* In fact, there has been a spate of camera crackdowns going on around the UK recently. From Gloucestershire to Hull to Ipswich to London and beyond, everything from threats of terrorism charges to paedophile paranoia has been used by Police to lean on unsuspecting amateur snappers, forcing them to cease and desist or delete their pictures - despite them being quite within their legal rights.
So, here it is, yer SchNEWS guide to photography:
* Picture taking on private property (except where no pics is a condition of entry) is..LEGAL.
* Taking pictures of people in public, with or without permission is LEGAL, so long as you aren’t obstructing the highway (although over-concentrating on young children’s changing rooms for sustained periods is likely to make you unpopular).
* Snapping ‘prohibited’ places like army bases, nuclear sites, courts etc is illegal, but while s.58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 makes it an offence to “possess a document or record containing information ... of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”, a recent court of appeal decision has narrowed this to require proof of a demonstrable intent to commit terrorist acts as well.
So if you don’t own an Al Qaeda manual and shed full of fertiliser, and only intend to blow up an art print to A3, stick up for yerself and expose the authorities’ clumsy attempts to intimidate everyone’s civil liberites away though illegal bullying - but don’t get too flash cos they’ll probably give you a bang and a wallop...
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