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Thread: Subway Officials Seek Ban on Picture-Taking

  1. #31
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    If they wanted to, they could take pictures anywhere they wanted.

    All it takes is $$.

  2. #32

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    With each passing day, we're hearing more examples of "we must restrict your freedom for your own good" politically correct attitude taking hold in the city and state governments. :roll: Call me paranoid, but I'm starting to see a fortress mentality taking hold, and I don't like it one bit. I could give a million more examples, but this photo ban is clearly one of them (the smoking ban is also a good example).

  3. #33

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    In case I forgot, here's what one photo website (It's one of my favorite ones) had to say about this disgusting proposal:

    http://www.NYCSubway.org/ Without Photos?

    Yes, if a ban on subway photography as proposed by the MTA is enacted. The current rule, if not always properly enforced, is that amateur photography without lights and ancillary equipment, is permitted under New York State Compilation Codes, Rules and Regulations section 1050.9(c). However, on May 20th, 2004, New York City Transit proposed a ban on amateur photography and videotaping, citing "security concerns".

    In the New York Times on May 21st, NYCT spokesman Charles F. Seaton was quick to point out that press card holders are exempt, and "commercial enterprises" with "legitimate needs" would be allowed to take pictures with permission obtained in advance. But that's the same as the CURRENT policy for press and commercial enterprises. Given that the MTA charges for commercial photo and film shoots, they want to make it clear that they are not going to sacrifice a revenue stream in the name of enhanced security. We can all see what that means: "Individuals don't have big business to support them. We can hassle them with impunity!"

    The madness doesn't just extend to New York City. New Jersey Transit has also enacted such a ban, even so far as having police detain and question people taking photos of NJT trains from PUBLIC STREETS. No trespassing was involved, no laws were broken. This has affected regular users of this very web site. Was their camera taken? No. Were they arrested? No. Charged? No. So, no harm no foul right? Well, if you consider being taken into custody, deprived due process and Miranda rights, interviewed by local terrorism agents, "all right". One person's story is here.

    An interesting unanswered question is: "Why prevent only NEW photography?" Is this a prelude to even more bans, this time on web sites? nycsubway.org includes over 11,000 photos of the subway lines, past and present, and over 17,000 more of transit systems worldwide. Should these be considered historical documents or a source of information to terrorists? Webmasters and contributors could even be labeled terrorist facilitators. Even the Library of Congress has close up, detailed photos of key structures and bridges, "soft targets". Will there be attempts to censor the Library of Congress? Permitting a ban on NEW photography is another step toward removal of ALL of these websites, in the name of "security".

    Who's come out against it?


    Mayor Bloomberg. 1010-WINS radio reports he "blasted" the proposed ban, but quoted him as saying merely "...if there are some tourists and they want to take pictures of each other on the subway train -- come on, get real." Not much of a blast, but at least he's publically against the ban. Later, a spokesperson claimed the Mayor "had formed no opinion on the matter" so it's likely we cannot count on his support come the vote.
    The New York Civil Liberties Union. As quoted in the New York Daily News, May 22nd. "Christopher Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, called the photo ban 'grossly excessive.' 'There is no reason a tourist taking a snapshot in a subway car should be interrogated by the police or face the prospect of being taken into custody,' he added."
    New York Newsday. Editorial on May 22nd: "Security issues didn't stop NYC Transit from shuttering some of its subway token booths last year and removing the clerks who help keep an eye on the the system. But now officials, claiming security reasons, want to restrict photography on subways and buses. However admirable their concern for public safety, the proposal would serve no purpose other than to deprive locals and tourists of the chance to capture an irreplaceable New York City experience.... preventing [terrorists] from photographing or filming subway images won't keep them from plying their trade."

    The New York Times, although they don't appear to have published an editorial, or even any Letters to the Editor, about the proposed ban, ran an article on June 2, 2004 ("Fixing Problems in Tunnels, but Keeping Trains Running"), describing in fair detail the decrepit conditions of escape routes, fire safety and prevention, and communications systems in the Penn Station tunnels. A terrorist wouldn't even NEED photos with articles like that. I hope it is safe to assume that the Times would oppose the ban if they feel it is safe to publish articles like the one mentioned.

    Edited June 2, 2004

  4. #34
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agglomeration
    With each passing day, we're hearing more examples of "we must restrict your freedom for your own good" politically correct attitude taking hold in the city and state governments. :roll: Call me paranoid, but I'm starting to see a fortress mentality taking hold, and I don't like it one bit. I could give a million more examples, but this photo ban is clearly one of them (the smoking ban is also a good example).
    How did I know you would include that into your rant.

    Although I agree that the restrictions in the name of "Freedom" are getting scary, I fail to see any connection WHATSOEVER to the smoking ban.

    Keep your arguments seperate Agglom, or you make it both hard to defend, and even harder for anyone to support.

  5. #35

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    Limiting rights is limiting rights. You can't fight to defend only the rights you like and fight to curb the ones you don't.

    There's a protest about the photo ban on Sunday, if anyone is interested:

    http://photographersrights.mtude.com/

  6. #36
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schadenfrau
    Limiting rights is limiting rights. You can't fight to defend only the rights you like and fight to curb the ones you don't.

    There's a protest about the photo ban on Sunday, if anyone is interested:

    http://photographersrights.mtude.com/
    No, you are blending the two indiscriminately.

    Allowing Abortion does not mean you are allowed to smoke.

    Forbidding car theft does not mean you are forbidding driving.

    You combine your fronts like this, you will lose your support.

  7. #37

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    Or you could just lose the less sophisticated thinkers out there.

  8. #38
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schadenfrau
    Or you could just lose the less sophisticated thinkers out there.
    Thank you for the insinuation that anyone that does not group the banning on cigarettes with terrorisim is somewhat dim.

    The irony and outright doublespeak of that sentance alone should be message enough.

    Stop combining arguments, the one has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE OTHER!

  9. #39
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    I agree with Ninjahedge argument as well. There is no comparison at all. :roll:

  10. #40

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    Let's focus on the photo ban from this point on OK gentlemen?. The point is, this proposed subway photo ban is more about political grandstanding tainted by fear than security from terrorism attacks. And this is the same transportation agency whose board voted to impose a fare hike up to $2.00. Big companies will still be able to pay a fee for photo shoots, leaving the little guys in the lurch, and that simply isn't fair. Is it just me or have the MTA board members (the MTA is run by a board of political appointees) chosen to cower in fear?

    People have to recognize that terrorists are interested in blowing up trains and killing people, not taking photos of them.

  11. #41

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    It's CYA, for a post-event investigation.

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  13. #43
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    The Village Voice:
    Subway shooters to set their sights on underground camera ban
    Forbidden Photos, Anyone?
    by Matt Haber
    June 4th, 2004 1:00 PM

    Mike Epstein is not a terrorist, but if a proposed ban on photography on New York trains and buses goes into effect, he might very well find himself treated like one.

    "How can they ban photographing unusual sights aboard trains and in stations?" wonders Epstein, who operates Satan's Laundromat, a website dedicated to "urban decay, strange signage, and general weirdness." "What about when someone boards the 1 train with bags full of fully inflated orange and red balloons that almost exactly match the colors of the seats: Do they really expect me to keep my camera in my pocket?"

    You bet. The MTA's move to stop the shooting of unauthorized pictures or video has pissed-off everyone from photobloggers to subway advocates and free-speech activists. To show their opposition to the ban, a group of photographers plan to gather at the main information kiosk in Grand Central station this Sunday, June 6, at 1 p.m. They'll fan out across several train lines, shooting photos throughout the system in a peaceful demonstration.

    The demonstration will start mere yards from an MTA-sponsored photography show called "The New York Subway: A Centennial Celebration." Most of the 16 subway-themed prints were taken during an earlier photo ban, which was taken off the books in 1994. The work includes work from such giants of the form as Bruce Davidson and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

    The MTA isn't slated to vote on the measure until at least mid June, when a 45-day public comment period ends. Also included in regulation 21 NYCRR 1050.9c are stiffer penalties for hopping turnstiles, walking between cars, and using seats as footrests. Ostensibly designed to counter terrorist attacks, the new rules clearly extend to ordinary—and artistic—activity.

    For New York City photobloggers like Epstein—amateur photographers who post digital images on their own sites—the proposed ban makes little sense. "It's utterly the wrong way to protect the subway," he says. "If there's anyone who won't be deterred by a $25 fine, it's an actual terrorist."

    Others, like Jake Dobkin (bluejake.com), raise concerns about the ban's impact on civil rights. "First they cracked down on immigrants," he says, "then on people who were protesting the war in Iraq, and now they seem to be coming after artists."

    What follows is a sampling of some of the imagery that would be lost if the ban went into effect, and e-mail interviews with the people who will be affected most: the artists.

    Article continues here

    Copyright © 2004 Village Voice Media, Inc.

  14. #44
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    Enter the villagevoice.com Forbidden Photos Contest

    Submit your own digital photos of the New York City subway for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to the New York Transit Museum Store Online or five $20 Metrocards.

    Email digital photos in jpeg format, no wider than 620 pixels and no larger than 100k to subwayphotos@villagevoice.com by July 9, 2004 for a chance to win.

    Official Rules - No Purchase Necessary

    1. To enter, please submit your photograph with your name, address, city, state, zip code, day phone number, and e-mail address, and a title or description of your photograph. Email your entry to: Villagevoice.com Forbidden Photos Contest, subwayphotos@villagevoice.com. Required format: digital only; jpeg; no wider than 600 pixels, no larger than 100k. ALL ENTRIES MUST BE RECEIVED BY 5 pm on July 9, 2004. Not responsible for lost, late, misdirected, or illegible images. No correspondence can be answered. By entering, you agree to grant Village Voice Media, Inc. a non-exclusive, royalty free license to publish and display your photograph in both the print and electronic versions of The Village Voice, and in related products in any and all media, whether now known or thereafter devised, without compensation and for the purposes of trade or promotion. 2. Contest open is to legal residents of the U.S. (excluding Puerto Rico). Employees of Village Voice Media, Inc. are not eligible. 3. Two prizes will be awarded, a Grand Prize and a Runner-Up Prize. The Grand Prize of $100 Gift Certificate for the New York Transit Museum Store Online will be awarded to the top winner of the Photography contest. The Runner Up Prize of Five $20 Metrocards will be awarded to the runner-up. 4. Winners will be selected on or about July 16, 2004 by The Village Voice Online editorial department on the basis of talent, originality, style and creativity. Limit of one winner per household. The decision of The Village Voice Online judges is final. Winners will be notified by phone and e-mail and will be required to complete an Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability/Publicity/Materials Release which must be returned within 3 days of receipt of the notification letter or alternate winners will be selected. Winners under the age of eighteen {18} must have the written consent of their parent or legal guardian. Taxes are the winner's responsibility. Prize winners (or their parent or legal guardian, if applicable) shall agree in writing that Village Voice Media, Inc. and anyone they may authorize may without compensation use winner's name, photograph or other likeness, biographical information and statements concerning the Contest or Village Voice Media, Inc. for purposes of advertising and promotion without additional compensation. For a list of prize winners, see villagevoice.com or send a self-addressed stamped envelope before August 31, 2004 to: Villagevoice.com Forbidden Photos Contest, 36 Cooper Square, New York, NY 10003. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited by law.

    NO PURCHASE REQUIRED. By submitting, I hereby certify that the photo I am submitting to the Villagevoice.com Forbidden Photos Contest is original with me, and that I have all necessary rights and authority to submit the photo and grant to Village Voice Media, Inc. the rights purported to be granted, including third party rights.

  15. #45

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    June 7, 2004

    Ban on Subway Photography Prompts Underground Protest

    By ALAN FEUER

    At a protest by photographers, you see things like a guy taking pictures of a guy taking pictures of a few more guys taking pictures of one another.

    There was such a protest yesterday, but it might take hundreds of pages to describe it, given all the pictures that were taken, each one worth at least a thousand words.

    The photographers - about 100 of them - gathered to express their outrage at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's proposed ban on taking pictures in the subway system. Meeting at Grand Central Terminal, they rode the trains for upward of an hour, shutters clicking, flashes popping, in a filmed rebuke to the idea that photography is somehow a national security threat.

    "The point is really to make everyday people wake up and realize that photographers are not terrorists," said Joe Anastasio, who organized the event. "In the last few years, photographers near anything vaguely important have been getting harassed."

    Mr. Anastasio went on to tell the story of a friend who took his wife's picture near the Whitestone Bridge, only to be called in for questioning by the police. He told another of a man caught snapping pictures at a Metro-North station who was interrogated for nearly two hours by authorities at the scene.

    "The paranoia," he said, "has gone a little too far."

    The transit authority's proposal, posted on its Web site, says the agency is planning to adopt "a general prohibition against photography and videotaping in the system." The agency is soliciting public comment on the ban and plans to vote on the proposal in the next few months.

    "It's a security measure," said a spokeswoman for the agency, Deirdre Parker. "It was suggested by the N.Y.P.D."

    Mr. Anastasio and his fellow photographers said it was ridiculous that pictures of the subway might somehow make the trains unsafe. After all, they said, there are thousands of subway photographs already on the Internet.

    "The subway is so well documented that what's the point?" asked Jean Miele, a fine art and commercial photographer. "This sort of thing makes us less free, not safer."

    Infuriated that his photographic rights might in fact be curtailed, Mr. Anastasio sent messages to several friends, asking them to show up yesterday to photograph the subway. They did - with Nikons, Leicas, Canons and such. There were an $8,000 digital job and a cheap mini that showed a nudie picture through its viewfinder.

    When a downtown No. 6 train arrived, the photographers began to cheer. They boarded in a herd and held their cameras up, taking pictures of other hands holding cameras up.

    At the 14th Street station, they split into two groups, stood against the walls and photographed each other across a corridor. This had varying effects on the people passing by. One woman fixed her hair before she ran the gantlet; another covered her face.

    One guy said to his buddy, "Hey, what's with all the paparazzi?"

    His buddy said, "Dunno, I think it must be you."

    There was a tense moment when the crowd decided it would photograph a transit police dispatch station at 14th Street. A startled officer came out and suggested that they leave.

    "You didn't say 'Cheese!' " one of the cheekier photographers said.

    When an L train finally arrived, they tried taking pictures of the motorman. He was not keen on this idea, however, and blocked his window with an advertising circular.

    Many of the photographers said they planned to post their pictures on the Internet - Jared Skolnick, for example, who takes pictures of the subway on his cellphone and then displays them online.

    "I've learned that so many crazy things can happen on the subway," said Mr. Skolnick, who paused and then added, "including this."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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