Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts tagged photograph

Have you ever been confused about whether or not you can use a photo you find on the Internet? The Visual Communication Guy has made a handy flow chart infographic to help you out.

I created the guide below to help sift through the complexity of it all. The reality is, though, as long as you become familiar with four terms–copyright, fair use, creative commons, and public domain–you’ll have a pretty good idea what you can and can’t do with images. If it’s all new to you, spend most of your time learning the fair use clauses. That’s where the ambiguity in copyright laws exist. As with most laws, the ambiguity is for our benefit, but it sure can make copyright laws fuzzy at times.

My rule above all else? Ask permission to use all images. If in doubt, don’t use the image!


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In response to the Rolling Stone cover story of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, photos of his capture were released by Sgt. Sean Murphy, a tactical photographer with the Massachusetts State Police. Apparently, without reading the article, Murphy decided that Rolling Stone was, somehow, glamorizing Tsarnaev. Murphy only concentrated on the cover photo and made his decision without ever looking at the article or the details of the story. However, the photos that Murphy released reveal how the police in America have armed themselves unnecessarily into a quasi-military force.




The reality is that the police have become the real face of terror. They are given extreme leeway in performing their job. They have been armed “to the teeth” in response to 9/11, yet all their weapons and tactical outfits do is instill fear. They didn’t stop Tsarnaev. The truth is that you will never be able to stop someone determined to do harm. All the guns, vests, and other tactical gear in the world isn’t going to stop a terrorist. It is there to control the people and create an illusion of safety.

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EDIT: 16 September 2012: I woke up this morning and discovered many more photos on imgur.

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A redditor took this photo of the TSA at work at the Lynx central bus station in Orlando, Florida.

This is more security theater. A terrorist isn’t going to board at the central station. They’re going to board farther out and ride the bus into downtown. Even if they did, as soon as they see the TSA, they just turn around and leave. But, hey, if it makes us “feel” safer, they must be doing something right. Right?

We all knew this was coming. The government promised it wasn’t. We knew we were being lied to then. Why aren’t we doing more to stop this now?

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Last Friday, Washington, DC’s police chief issued new general orders to all its police officers. Entitled, Video Recording, Photographing, and Audio Recording of Metropolitan Police Department Members by the Public, it aims to make clear how police are to act when encountering individuals using such electronic equipment.

The order, which was part of the settlement of an ACLU lawsuit, includes some very interesting, groundbreaking provisions.

The order reminds police officers in Washington that:

•    Still and video photography “of places, buildings, structures and events are common and lawful activities.”

•    A bystander has the right under the First Amendment to observe and record members [of the police force] in the public discharge of their duties.”

•    A bystander has the same right to take photographs or make records as a member of the media” as long as the bystander has a right to be where he or she is.

These orders are in effect as long as the general public do not impede or interfere with normal police duties. The police can also still confiscate a cell phone if they believe there is evidence of a crime on it.

1. If a person is photographing or recording police activity from a position that impedes or interferes with the safety of members or their ability to perform their duties, a member may direct the person to move to a position that will not interfere. However, a member shall not order the person to stop photographing or recording.

2. If a person is photographing or recording police activity from a position that impedes or threatens the safety of members of the public, a member shall direct the person to move to a position that will not interfere. However, members shall not order the person to stop photographing or recording.

3. A person’s recording of members’ activity from a safe distance, and absent any attendant action that obstructs the activity or threatens the safety of the member(s), does not constitute interference.

4. A person has the right to express criticism of the police activity being observed. So long as that expression does not jeopardize the safety of any member, suspect or bystander; and so long as that expression does not violate the law or incite others to violate the law, the expression does not constitute interference.

They are not to tell you to stop recording and they cannot take your camera. If probable cause exists, the police officer is required to have his/her supervisor present and, under no circumstances is anything to be erased.

You can read more at the ACLU and Ars Technica.

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