Sunday, July 29, 2012

Amtrak and TSA: "America, Nuthin"

Another one of the Chicago/Amtrak and TSA's finest hassling a videotaper at the airport? No! Chicago's train station!

Let us begin with the TSA's own policy regarding photography, screen captured from their web site:
Click to enlarge.
"TSA does not prohibit the public, passengers, or press from photographing, videotaping, or filming at security checkpoints." You can read the entire document here.

Yet, they (second person joins during the recording) are hassling a person in a restaurant at Chicago's train station.  When the photographer replies, "This is America, I didn't think I needed a permit [fyi..he did not]" while it is hard to tell from the voices which is which one of the representatives replies, "America, Nuthin!" Video below.

That tells you what you need to know about the TSA and its regard for our rights and liberties.

The ever-expanding and unaccountable TSA needs to be an issue in the upcoming election.


  1. The guy thinks he has a right not to have his face on YouTube. "We have rights, too." No, a law-enforcement officer in performing his duty has any right to privacy. He is not exercising his personal liberty as a human being; he is wielding power over those in his jurisdiction.

    Except to the extent that secrecy is justified (to protect the identity of an undercover cop or a witness) there is no legitimate state interest in preventing video/audio recording of law enforcement officers.

    The very notion that one needs a permit to exercise First Amendment rights stands the definition of "right" on its head. If I have to get permission to do something, I don't have the right to do it.

  2. That should be "hasn't any right"

  3. I suggest Googling "war on photography." You'll find hundreds -- yes hundreds -- of cases since 9/11 of government trying to stop photography in public places.

    Here is just one example and it is a tiny tip of the iceberg:

    Here, also, is a paper on the subject from the Tennessee Law Review that outlines photographer's rights:

  4. Mike, I've been following the war on photography for years now. Time and time again, cops who apparently don't know the law insist that they have some kind of right to privacy when operating out in public. The ridiculous laws that they use to go after people include "wiretapping" laws that make it illegal to record a conversation without the consent of all parties. To use such laws, intended to protect the privacy of telephone conversations, against recording public utterances that no reasonable person would believe are subject to any expectation of privacy, is ridiculous.

    Even when it's pointed out to them that they have no legal basis for it, cops will still order people not to record them, and charge violators with "disorderly conduct" (contempt of cop) or some other offense that comes down to the opinion of the officer in question, and with no contrary evidence, it's his word against the accused. And we all know how that goes.

    With that in mind, I find it promising that some cell phones have apps to stream your recordings to the cloud in realtime, so that even if a police officer illegally seizes/destroys your phone, everything up to that point is safely out of his reach and can be used to impeach his testimony in court. I believe at least some of the apps in question make the display of the phone appear to be your normal wallpaper, so that no one will even know you're capturing audio and video.

    Only thing left is to hide the camera so it's not obvious you're photographing anything.

    And if a police officer tells you it's against the law to photograph something, ask him to cite the specific law, by code number, so that you can look it up. Odds are he can't, even in those cases where they've stretched "wiretapping" beyond the point of absurdity.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.