A photographer not a terrorist
Well it seems todays “media event” went swimmingly. Sadly I couldn’t make it but a friend did, so photo’s here. Apparently you’ll be glad to hear that we’re all very silly as this wonderful new law will only ever be used in “very exceptional circumstances“. Past experience doesn’t tend to support this, but at least when it is used we’ll all have nice shiny new benchmarks as to what “very exceptional circumstances” actually are. In the meantime even the Metropolitan Police Federation think this law is a bad idea.
Other reports and responses to this new law and the media event can be found from:
A serving officer comments on the Devils Kitchen that neither they nor their colleagues would have even been aware of this law brought in for their protection if not for the fuss blogs caused about it.
ScepticIsle also has a very good take on the whole situation (also see commentary by Stumbling and Mumbling), also HangBitch and Beau Bo D’Or.
Finally arising from this new regime is the delightful dailypolicephoto.
As an after thought, one has to wonder what the effect of abuses of this law will have the next time the police make calls for photographs from members of the public after some incident or other. Leg Iron suspects not.
Whilst I’d be very surprised if anyone reading this isn’t already aware of it, this Monday the 16th of February it will become illegal to elicit or attempt to elicit information about the armed forces, security forces or constabulary that is useful or likely to be useful to people committing or preparing an act of terrorism. Counter-Terrorism Act 2008.
Given the horrendously broad scope this wording allows and the well documented dislike our police force have for people taking their photo’s or in fact any photo’s at all (whilst being increasingly keen on taking ours), this had been widely interpreted as being likely to cause grave difficulties for photographers of all kinds. So the National Union of Journalists have organized an event in association with Mark Thomas. Note this is not a demo it’s just a media event, because demo’s also aren’t popular, so “No riots, no army, no fighting, no slogans”.
Lots of people have written many articles on how to use the internet in more or less anonymous fashions. So I suspect that this isn’t going to add anything new but will perhaps add a new slant or at least group things in a different fashion that may make more sense for some people than other articles have.
The obvious first step as many people have said is to make sure that whatever operating system you’re running is kept up to date and that you have a firewall and it’s locked down as much as possible. All of which is well and good and stops people getting directly onto your machine, but if they’ve got that level of interest in you you’ve probably got bigger problems to worry about (or you’re reading this a few years after I wrote it). At the moment the powers that be are mainly concentrating on traffic analysis. That’s what monitoring what web sites you visit and who you email actually is, they’re looking for patterns in the traffic people generate to see who’s talking to who and if there’s more traffic just after or before specific events. So at this stage in the game disguising your traffic is a good thing to do, and that’s where it pays to be generous.