I had dinner tonight with fellow SIGGRAPH sketch jury member Kevin Bjorke, whom I found out is the brains behind PhotoPermit.Org, a website that tries to shine the light of justice onto inappropriate police actions taken against photographers. Many police officers seem to be unaware of the rights of individuals to photograph public spaces. From their site:
Have you been hassled while trying to make what you thought was an innocuous photograph or video? Have you been threatened? Have security guards demanded that you hand over your film, memory cards, and/or camera? Perhaps snatched them from you? Then PhotoPermit.Org is intended for you.
Have you been successful in convincing irate parents, confused rent-a-cops, and troublesome self-appointed "authorities" to let you go on with your own perfectly legal work in peace? Then this site is especially intended for you, to share your methods and success in making the world a more free one. No one has ever demonstrated that an ignorant society is a safer one.
Have you been one of millions of honest, non-threatening photographers who are anxious about visiting the streets of their own cities, national parks, or public landmarks for fear they will be targeted by overzealous authorities? Then PhotoPermit is here to help you be you sure and comfortable in your rights and responsibilities.
Awesome. I've bitched about this issue before, it's good to see someone has provided this useful resource to help inform and protect the legal actions of people against abuses of authority.
In a two-fer that illustrates that all is right with the world, the A's managed to beat the Yankees 6-3 in the 10th by mashing on Mariano Rivera, and the DC Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously struck down laws which enabled the FCC to mandate the Broadcast Flag. They found that the reasoning of the FCC (that they had broad powers in areas previously unregulated) was extraordinary and unconstitutional. The court found that any powers granted to the FCC had to be explicitly conferred by Congress.
To reinforce the idea that the not everything is right with the world, it seems like national ID cards are going to happen because the Real ID Act legislation was attached to an appropriations bill for operations in Iraq. Sigh.