Skip to content or view screen version

the mets unlawful & misleading new photo-laws

r | 14.07.2009 19:54 | Repression | Technology

They're threatening to steal SD cards

Today london's met police are spuriously trying to claim that terrorism legislation gives police officers the right to view photos taken on mobile phones or cameras and to sieze equipment.

"Officers have the power to view digital images contained in mobile telephones or cameras carried by a person searched under S[ectin] 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, provided that the viewing is to determine whether the images contained in the camera or mobile telephone are of a kind, which could be used in connection with terrorism," it said. "Officers also have the power to seize and retain any article found during the search which the officer reasonably suspects is intended to be used in connection with terrorism."

Thankfully they concede that photographing of police officers should not be illegal. They will not stop people taking pictures of police at work, including at demonstrations.

The NUJ have said that the guidance is misleading. "The police do not have the right to view photographs unless they reasonably suspect the photographer to be a terrorist - that’s a far higher test than this guidance suggests," said the body's legal officer Roy Mincoff.

"What’s more, the special nature of journalistic material means that the police will need a court order if they want to see photographs taken by professional journalists. To suggest that police have the power to see anyone’s photos is not just hugely misleading, it’s factually wrong."

It includes threats of harressments for photographers-
"There is however nothing preventing officers asking questions of an individual who appears to be taking photographs of someone who is or has been a member of Her Majesty’s Forces (HMF), Intelligence Services or a constable,"

Anti-terrorism law watchdog boss Lord Carlile has also critized it-
"It should be emphasised that photography of the police by the media or amateurs remains as legitimate as before, unless the photograph is likely to be of use to a terrorist. This is a high bar," he said. "It is inexcusable for police officers ever to use this provision to interfere with the rights of individuals to take photographs."