Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Photographer’s License

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Red Herrings,The Dark Side — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:27 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I saw this article on Boing Boing last week about a guy who’d made a fake DHS Photographer’s License.

At first, it seemed like a great idea.  Right up until I started thinking about the penalties for producing false identification for a police officer.  Not good.  But, I was put in mind of two things that are substantially more useful.

First there’s Bert  P. Krages’ Photographer’s Rights Flier.  Now, keep in mind that I am not a lawyer, and I’m not clear on just how far this can be pushed, but, if I’m taking pictures in a public place of people who have no reasonable expectation of privacy, it should be legal.  Luckily, I don’t have to work that stuff out for myself, though, because the author of the flier is, in fact, a lawyer and a photographer and he’s done a bit of research into this.  He’s also the author of the Legal Handbook for Photographers.  Mostly, if I’m taking pictures from a public space of non-classified areas, it’s pretty much okay.  I’m not sure I’d try to take photos of the C.I.A. Headquarters in Langley, even from a public area, for instance, but, I think you get the idea.

But, I know that having a badge of some kid often makes minimum wage rent-a-cops feel better, so, secondly, there’s the BigHugeLabs Badge Maker.  This would let you make a semi-official looking badge or ID to wear and seem like more than just a hobbyist photographer to slide past most of the low-end yahoos.  Probably wouldn’t do much with a real police officer, but, how often do you really see them these days?  Honestly, I think I see cops at the local theater more than I do anywhere else!  And that one is a dork riding a Segway!  (Okay, actually, in the town I live, surrounded by Houston, I see our police officers all the time, but they’re really nice to me because I’m a resident.)

Also, as a follow-up, if you live in New York, read this article at the New York Post: Shutterbugged.  Then, go to Craphound, Cory Doctorow’s website and download this JPG copy of the New York City Police Department’s operating orders about photographers.  Everybody else, though, should be covered with the other stuff.
Good luck and enjoy!

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