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Thursday, 19 March 2009


Looks very reasonable. A challenge now is to get other policy makers (including legislature) to adopt a similar approach.

It does look reasonable. I suspect the Amtrak police will be as happy as the photographers. Cops have better things to do than chase down random railfans and shutterbugs.

The fact that they actually have a policy (written), and are salient enough to know that their officers need some guidance is a step in the right direction. The fact that they have made their policy public is probably the most commendable aspect of it all. That way, if there is a dispute, both sides have something to work off of. I am still waiting to see an actual terrorist profile study, that has evidence that "target marking" (homeland speak) "includes photography and video recording activities." Do they approach people with sketch books?

I would carry a copy of the Amtrak guidelines with me. Because I have no faith their police getting the word much less following it.

from the other side of big lake:

On the 16th of February, the UK Government passed a law (in the Counter Terrorism Act) making it illegal to take a photograph of a police office, military personnel or member of the intelligence services - or a photograph which “may be of use for terrorism”. This definition is vague at best, and open to interpretation by the police - who under Home Secretary guidelines can “restrict photography in public places”.

I was once "spoken to" by a security guard for IBM. This is mid 90's. I was standing on the sidewalk, photographing the outside of one of their office buildings. He asked me what I was doing, I replied politely.
He was concerned about industrial espionage.
I replied, the bigger threats to IBM were on Wall Street! he understood.
BTW, I was under contract for the government at the time. I didn't bother to use that fact.

Mike, we've had a similar issue in Vancouver with Translink, the corporation that runs our buses, rapid rail and subway system. Just this week they unveiled a passenger vigilance ad campaign in which they compare a photographer taking a picture of a security camera with criminals breaking into doors and suspicious packages being left behind (bombs!). We are currently going back and forth with their spokesperson on a Flickr thread here.

When photographers are outlawed only outlaws will be photographers.

Sadly the nanny state has taken our freedoms.

Then too so many "police" types of enforcers are out there and often are very very stupid. One of the big reasons I stay away from the USA, sadly.
Small town cops now feel; post 9/11 that they can do anything as long as it's the law.

If you're driving a foreign registered vehicle
many police feel it is even more likely there will
be somebody in the vehicle, dangerous. After all
isn't my Canada the place where we let foreigners
run amuck?
Rail fan friends in the US say it is often no longer advisable to have a professional looking
(would guess SLR size) camera nor photograph anything other than family.

We are scared of their own shadow. Here in Canada
the same attitude prevails. What used to be enjoyable is no longer. I have my memories on film and will review them and enjoy them on my own.
Hopefully federal and local security is not snooping by looking through my windows.

And sadly although Amtrak has stated their policy, there will still be many places with Amtrak service
where the police will still be called to remove
the photographer from the platform.

Publishing the notice means nothing, stupidity is normal.

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