Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Is London becoming intolerant to tourism?



Not only tourism, but also simple life in London is becoming harder: "security reasons."

What security? And especially, what's the danger? Now that the excuse of international terrorism is becoming more and more incongruous, Londoners and tourists in the UK are wondering what are the reasons for this increasing hostility and harshness from the police and security services in general.


I had written an article back in April about this topic, when a tourist was stopped and asked to delete all his pictures from his camera. That seemed to have been an isolated case, but unfortunately it wasn't: a photographer friend of mine was asked (read: forced) by the police to delete all her pictures from her camera. Reason? "You can't take photos of buildings?" Um... What??? "But it's my job!" My friend tried to explain. "Sorry, luv." The end.

Yesterday I read an article from Tom Gates, editor at Matador Nights, about his recent misadventure at Heathrow Airport. He was pretty gentle, I would have put in place all the loudest aspects Italians are (in)famous all over the world for. Easy prey, he might have been, but the truth is that security, or whatever officers, shouldn't be allowed of treating people like this.

After CCTV all over the place, a disgraceful anti-terror media campaign, able only to foment fear of your neighbour, the atmosphere in the UK is getting heavier. Good aspect of all this? The late campaign didn't work, people are waking up and human empathy is growing.

10 comments:

Jack - eyeflare travel tips said...

It should be noted that it's illegal for police to demand that you delete photos, or for them to delete them on their own.

Especially if the person whose camera it is, isn't under arrest etc. They need a court order even to access the images on a card as it's considered a search.

If you ever come across this, demand that the officers place you under arrest or let you go immediately and without further impositions on your person or the public *right* to photograph anything visible from a public location (this isn't quite valid for certain high-security facilities, but that's not valid in the cities and there will be signs).

AngelaCorrias said...

My friend has tried to protest, but she had to delete all photos. The tourist I talk about on my mentioned article was interviewed by the Guardian and said the same, he had to delete photos with buses and tube signs. I have come across other photographers who had had the same problems.
With the new anti-terror Act, valid since February, security issues have been updated and police officers seem able to ignore people's right a bit too much...
Thanks for stopping by!

Vera Marie Badertscher said...

First: I'm not sure what basis you have for saying international terrorism is becoming more and more incongrous...Perhaps we have had fewer disasters because the increased security has thwarted planned attacks? And Second: In the United States, you are not permitted to photograph public buildings. I was asked by a Park Ranger not to photograph John Adams birthplace home.That really seems silly, but I understand they can't draw the line between what facilities might be targets and what might not. On the other hand, people photograph the Statue of Liberty thousands of times a day. I'm just asking that you cut the authorities some slack.

AngelaCorrias said...

I have no idea what the situation in the States is, in fact I only mentioned the UK. Here it's becoming too heavy, as not better specified security reasons are undermining civil liberties, and I don't think this is fair. Just my opinion.
As for international terrorism, what is it exactly?
All wars done in the name of democracy and anti-terror are proving interest-driven and not really for the sake of the good people.

Richard Smalley said...

This terrorist stuff is stupid, can't take a photograph of a building, what a pathetic country my England is becoming. The morals of life have been sucked out of the country and all identity of the Proud word England has been stripped. What a shame.

Erica said...

I have never heard about a police in London required anyone to delete their photos before. Having to delete photos with buses and tube signs sounds rather silly to me. I hope these "rules" around this will change sooner rather than later.

Mike said...

I'm conjuring up vacation ideas...I'll scratch London from the list

Jack - eyeflare travel tips said...

Following up on this, here are two documents / links that actually outline the public's right in taking photographs. There are very few restrictions, including U.S. public buildings:

UK Photographers' Rights

U.S. Photographers' Rights

Get educated, then print out this for your photobag and show any security / police officer. Again, if they insist, ask they arrest you or let you go.

If they do arrest you, file a charge of unlawful arrest and unlawful search against the department.

AngelaCorrias said...

This is very useful, thanks for the links, I'll be spreading them over social networks I use.

A couple of days ago many photographers have demonstrated in London again these restrictions, have you seen that?
I'm not in London at the moment otherwise I'd have gone to the protest..

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