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   Undertoad  Saturday Jun 12 12:46 PM

6/12/2004: Photographers protest proposed subway photo ban



Elsewhere on the Cellar we are discussing the status of freedom of speech, and this image plays directly to it. It turns out that NYC's Metropolitan Transportation Authority has proposed a ban on taking photographs in and around the subway. The worry: terrorists could use such photos to study the system and build attacks on it. The reaction by photographers: this is absurd! And so 100 of them met at Grand Central Station and proceeded into the subways en masse, taking pictures of everything they could in an act of civil disobedience.

full story (NY Times registration req'd)



lumberjim  Saturday Jun 12 01:41 PM

Quote:
"The subway is so well documented that what's the point?" asked Jean Miele, a fine art and commercial photographer. "This sort of thing makes us less free, not safer."
right. stupid homeland security patriot act bullshit. the towers are still falling.


jaguar  Saturday Jun 12 01:46 PM

Christ, even in Vietnam you're allowed to take photos of the public transport.



mrputter  Saturday Jun 12 02:49 PM

<EM>> has proposed a ban on taking photographs</EM>

<EM>> taking pictures of everything they could in an act of civil disobedience.</EM>


Nitpick: until the ban passes, it's not civil disobedience.
Anyway, I totally agree with Jean Miele (as quoted by Lumberjim). This ban is stupid.



Undertoad  Saturday Jun 12 03:13 PM

Blogger Jason Holliston notices that a photo ban has been in place on the London Underground for a while, and wonders where the protestors are.



jaguar  Saturday Jun 12 04:00 PM

London sucks.



wolf  Saturday Jun 12 10:59 PM

The Brits must bust a lot of tourists.



xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Jun 12 11:03 PM




jaguar  Sunday Jun 13 02:21 AM

They seem to be ok about big ben and parliment but the wholle area is covered in new razorwire fences and is more densely populated by security cameras than anywhere else I've seen, real tourist friendly.



hot_pastrami  Monday Jun 14 02:11 PM

Erosion only steals away scarce few particles of dust per day. But left unhindered, it can be the most destructive force on the Earth. Likewise for freedom.

We need some to build some retaining walls, and soon.



russotto  Monday Jun 14 02:20 PM

It's too late. No one really wants freedom any more. They cheer the erosion.



xoxoxoBruce  Monday Jun 14 04:03 PM

'Fraid you're right.



hot_pastrami  Monday Jun 14 04:35 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by russotto
It's too late. No one really wants freedom any more. They cheer the erosion.
Bleaker than hell, ain't it? Is "bleaker" a word?

I assume that by "no one" you are referring to the ambiguous, largely stupid "general public." The same general public who values safety over freedom. Unfortunately, the stupidity of many often outweighs the intelligence of the few.


glatt  Monday Jun 14 05:02 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by hot_pastrami
I assume that by "no one" you are referring to the ambiguous, largely stupid "general public." The same general public who values safety over freedom. Unfortunately, the stupidity of many often outweighs the intelligence of the few.
You have a good point, and I know what you mean, but until you have experienced a real threat, you don't know what you are talking about.

I live in the suburbs of DC. A year and a half ago, we had a month of beautiful fall weather. The famous DC humidity was finally gone, and the temperatures were really nice. Cool, but not cold. It was the perfect time to be taking the kids to the local playground every day. The Fall is the one nice time of year around here. Well, we spent the fall weekends inside. We gave up our freedom, because there was a maniac going around shooting random people. It sucked. The kids wanted to go out to play, and we made them stay inside. It drove us all up the wall. The cops finally found the fucking sniper, and now we can go outside again.

The DC sniper proved to me that even I will give up some of my freedoms for safety. I still walked to the Metro every day, but I wouldn't let my kids go out to the playground because it was too easy a target.

It's not just me. Ask any woman if they walk alone at night. They give up their freedom for safety.

There are lots of bad neighborhoods in this world. People stay home because it isn't safe to go out. They are giving up their freedom for their safety.

I know you meant something else, but the reality is that people will choose safety over freedom almost every time. You would too, if you ever felt unsafe.


hot_pastrami  Monday Jun 14 05:16 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by glatt
The DC sniper proved to me that even I will give up some of my freedoms for safety. I still walked to the Metro every day, but I wouldn't let my kids go out to the playground because it was too easy a target.
But in your example, you hadn't "given up" your freedom, you made a choice. You didn't lose your ability to go outside, you just chose not to exercise it for the well-being of yourself and your kids. I would have made the same choice. But no agent of the government was watching your front door, threatening punishment if you exited. And once the threat was removed, you were free to spend time outdoors again.

Whereas in the example of the ban on photography in subways, if a police officer sees you taking a photo, you WILL get in trouble. The government is not suggesting, asking, or urging people not to do this... they are forbidding it. And for very wishy-washy reasons.

The difference is not subtle, it is vast. Huge.


bjlhct  Tuesday Jun 15 02:25 AM

better analogy - airlines

Yes, most people think that the occasional strip searches, the taking off of shoes, the searching of bags, the associated costs, all the various things that waste your time and money without making you safer, are all worthwhile. Not only that, but it's mandated by the government. If you don't like it, not only is there not a competitor to go to that doesn't do this - the government forbids there being one. Ah, the irony of the conservative promising to shrink government and instead nationalizing airport security and raising spending to WWII levels.

See, worrying about the sniper shooting you is an irrational fear. Go look up the murder rate in your area. Go look up the traffic deaths in your area. Worrying about terrorists on planes as much as they are worried about - also an irrational fear. And if there's one thing I know about fear, it's that it's better to deal with your fear than be afraid for the rest of your life. Continuous fear makes you stupid and manipulatable - in short, more vulnerable.

I am incredibly fed up with the incompetence of the government. I've dealt with politicians - they really are clueless and delusional. The latest threat is the "terrists." Obviously, we need a non-working missile defense system and gameable airport security to stop them. Obviously we need to give the government more power to arrest the wrong people. Obviously

And yet, whenever I start to hate this incompetence most, I see the representatives of the majority faith in establishment that makes me realize that yes, the people as a whole get the government they deserve. I am reminded that civilization is still in its infancy, that all our technology is crude but effective, that we can only live here by the amazing chance hospitability of Earth and that we are ruining that. I am reminded that society has progressed only through trial and error. I am reminded that the potential for progress is impossible to seize because of this. I am reminded that without the past mistakes that have created culture and tradition, people couldn't see what to do to save their lives. I am reminded that our civilization hangs by a thread.

/rant



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Jun 15 04:42 AM

Don't you think people, seeing the evidence of the "various things that waste your time and money without making you safer", feel something "must" be going on behind the scenes that IS effective, also?



nioupy  Tuesday Jun 15 07:16 AM

I'm a terrorist, i can't take pictures... right...
hum, yes well, these nice embeded cameras would give me an help taking pictures without anyone noticing...

I'm a tourist with a bunch of friends having fun in holidays, i can't take pictures... right. i can't. F#### that !

I'm a photographer, I wan't to take a picture for any reason. I just can't ?

I'm a [stupid] terrorist... why would i need pictures to place a bomb somewhere ? I'm a terrorist in an organised band ? why couldn't I have the information i need in some other way ?

is it forbidden to take pictures in subway in london ? oups, i think i should have had a few fines so



Kitsune  Tuesday Jun 15 01:05 PM

Ever since I got smacked at the Port of Tampa for taking pictures, I've been thinking about what the real reasons are for preventing people from photographing sites because this would do nothing to prevent terrorism. Public transportation, trains, and industrial plants are all high on the list. I was quickly reminded that photographers often bring to light a lot issues with these things: photographing industrial pollution and waste mismangement, transportation safety issues, etc. A lot of people are also indicating that it is being done because no revenue is gained from people taking photographs and to gain permission now costs money. Many state parks now charge huge fees (scroll down to "Photography Fees") and will stop you even if you have a professional-looking camera (any SLR, anything with a long lens, anything that is not a dispo, etc). There is a lot of money to be made and even more illegal/hazardous activity to cover up by prohibiting photography.

It is extremely important that these rights remain. And, to anyone else out there who loves to carry a camera around town, I highly suggest you print out and carry with you The Photographer's Right Booklet.

Forgotten New York has a photographic and written account of the protest.



jaguar  Tuesday Jun 15 01:20 PM

I know in british parks I've copped some pretty awsome fees for wanting to carry in pro-class gear. Switzerland is hell for street photographers, police often harass and if you photograph anything 'intimate' (ranging from a hug to an injury) you can be fined up to 6 grand PER PHOTO .



russotto  Wednesday Jun 16 10:05 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by hot_pastrami

Bleaker than hell, ain't it? Is "bleaker" a word?

I assume that by "no one" you are referring to the ambiguous, largely stupid "general public." The same general public who values safety over freedom. Unfortunately, the stupidity of many often outweighs the intelligence of the few.
Not just the general public. Most people who would consider themselves above that level and claim to value freedom. But you start coming up with specific examples and they suddenly change their tune.


Your reply here?

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