Following on from the previous articles, reporting on the numerous arrests of people in relation to taking photos in public areas, and the evidence from police forces to show that photography is not a crime, more government plans have come to light.
On the 14th October 2008 Jaqui Smith stated, in questions about police arresting photographers, “the general position is that there is no legal restriction on photography in such places.”
This is the clearest sign yet that not only is photography not a crime, but no guidance for the police to arrest either.
Despite this the plight of the photographs has got worse not better. New laws being added to the Counter Terrorism Bill law make even more laws against spying:
(1) A person commits an offence who—
(a) elicits or attempts to elicit information about an individual who is or has been—
(i) a member of Her Majesty’s forces,
(ii) a member of any of the intelligence services, or
(iii) a constable, which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or
(b) publishes or communicates any such information.
This could well be regarded as taking photographs. For those who think that this is “fear mongering” a review of the previous posts show how often the laws have been mis-used, mis-interpreted, or even altered to fit the ever expanding needs of the government.
Why is this law being pushed through as an anti-terrorism law, rather than a national security issue? Are we no longer worried about the North Koreans, Libya, China, Russia, and Iran? Are there no standing armies, is everyone who attacks us a terrorist?
It is also alarming that now, in 2008, after 300 years of troubles with Northern Ireland, two world wars, and a 1,000 years of invasion attempts the government decides to create new laws to protect us from espionage. Have we been vulnerable for the past millenia? Do I need to buy extra locks for my doors?
If only the Russians had known they could have just asked for the launch codes, to illicit information, and there was no need to spy……If the KGB had known about this loop hole then the Ruskies may well have won the cold war.
With certain splinter groups of the IRA still functioning, we best keep this loop hole quiet until the Government can get this law approved and we can sleep well again.
Is photography illegal, not yet, but not doubt very soon.
(This law has not yet passed, but is to be come law shortly)