Meter Maids looking for Terrorist/Photographers

Discussion in 'News' started by manuel barrera @ houston, texas, May 14, 2010.

  1. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37154988/ns/us_news-security/
    Parking attendants and meter maids to be trained to look for suspicious people taking photographs.
     
  2. Come on now - they're being trained to look out for rather more than just that, aren't they?
     
  3. Yes, Jean-Yves, they are. And these people (who are public employees, tied to law enforcement) are probably the most familiar - of anyone - with the regular comings and goings of people and vehicles in the areas they work. It would be absurd not to give them some training so that their observational skills can be tuned up a bit when it comes to the sort of thing that - just by dumb luck - happened not to kill a bunch of people in NY the other day.
     
  4. I wish that people would do more that just post a link to a story. Is it too much to ask for the topic starter to include his thoughts on the subject at hand?
     
  5. Sorry, with all of life around them, we actually expect meter maids and parking attendants to know the difference between a real attempt and just some innocent, misinterpreted act? I'm sure some of them can and there will be incidents where they save some people, but it's becoming the Dick Cheney mentality these days to suspect everyone with the slightest shread or hints of terrorism in hopes of not ever being victims. How many innocent people will be investigated based on their judgement with no real evidence of terrorism? When we will wake up and realize we've lost our privacy, freedom and right from police investigation and arrest because others suspect us based on nothing more than us being stupid for a moment?
    As for the NYC bomber, he was an idiot. And if he had really known what to do, the end would have been different, and I doubt any meter maid or parking attendant would have noticed it in time. How many bombings occur every day in the world, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan and other countries with on-going civil wars? How many people have died in Iraq from car bombs, suicide bombers, etc. since March 2003? And we've had two in the last 15+ years?
    Do we really want to live knowing many of the people we cross paths with during the day may suspect us if we don't behave, express ourselves or do something they think is suspicious or worse, their definition of terrorism? As photographers, we should know and maybe have experienced this just standing somewhere with a camera.
     
  6. How much can I write without violating copyright law, I posted the link for people to make their own determination, if you read the article any person with a camera may become a suspect the bigger the camera the bigger the suspect (my opinion). Not sure why a terrorist would even bother to go take photos google has views of most city street readily available. I personally don't do as much street photography as I did and when I do prefer to take my G11 rather than my DSLR, as most people seem to think that small cameras are not the type terrorist would use. I have yet to read where a terrorist went to take photos before hand. In Houston one can find cars illegally parked almost any hour of the day. I have yet to have some one ask me why I am taking a photo of an alligator, but at least four times as to why I am taking a photo of a building.
     
  7. How much can I write without violating copyright law,​
    As much as you like. You could enrichen the opening post with your opinion on the subject. It would at the very least give a starting point - even a reason - for the discussion.

    if you read the article any person with a camera may become a suspect​
    I did. Much as we like to feel put upon, there is nothing there to suggest that the average photographer is being singled out for undue persecution. It is a programme to train a body of people to recognise behaviour that may indicate an upcoming threat. So what?

    Sorry, with all of life around them, we actually expect meter maids and parking attendants to know the difference between a real attempt and just some innocent, misinterpreted act?​
    Whether or not it will work... who can tell? I'm interested to see how this pans out. But assuming that it will bring the black helicopters down on anyone with a camera doesn't, to my mind, really do anyone any good.
     
  8. A new government program aims to train thousands of parking industry employees nationwide to watch for and report anything suspicious — abandoned cars, for example, or people hanging around garages, taking photographs or asking unusual questions. I would think that taking photographs does seem to single out someone with a camera.
    1) abandoned cars;
    2) hanging around garages;
    3) taking photographs, that happens when one has a camera;
    4) asking unusual questions,
    this is only the second time that I have posted a question, I am not the type normally asks for help, so I apologize if I did not meet a standard. If there is a next time I will do better, however the article at least to me is alarming. As I posted earlier, I have never been asked what I was doing when photographing an alligator but have for photographing buildings. Heck If I wanted to start a fire storm I could post a boycott Arizona on the off topic forum, I have strong opinions on that.
     
  9. Hahhaahaa. Amen Manuel. They're a bunch of pencil necked bureaucrats behaving just like they did no so long ago concerning photography in the subways of NYC. Have you ever met a parking attendant or meter maid that gave a crap? Whats a male meter maid called. A meter butler?
    I'm an olive skinned Greek. Think I'll get a good tan, wear one of those keffiyeh's, and a few cameras around my neck. I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  10. This is only going to increase the number of confrontations between photographers and police that is already happening. The NYCLU currently has a case pending against DHS for harassing photographers around government buildings in downtown Manhattan. Several photographers have won cash settlements for being detained and/or questioned by the NYPD.
    Photography is NOT a crime and there is no excuse for government to continue to treat us as if we are criminals.
     
  11. "2) hanging around garages;"
    One can take very good city-scape images from multi-story parking garages. Would this mean all cameras and cell phones (most have a camera feature) would be banned from parking garages?
    "3) taking photographs, that happens when one has a camera;"
    This could create a whole new sub-department for Home Security. Think of it as creating jobs in a down economy... The TSI folks at the airports, and the Total Camera Control (TCC) folks on city streets, at every parking garage entry point, and most governmental buildings. Will they allow photography in farming areas?
     
  12. …this is just getting beyond ridiculous.
    A few years ago, I could never have imagined a world where photography was a suspicious activity that you could get arrested for…now I realise just how stupid I was to think that they wouldn't find any reason to suspect anyone of doing anything…
    Not that photography is harmless — it can do a lot of damage. But to have such high suspicion of people holding cameras…
    This isn't the most pathetic yet. I once got stopped and searched for having, to quote the officer who stopped me, ‘a big bag and a camera’. They also took my ID number down…surprised that idiot could give me an excuse like that with a straight face.
    Surely a terrorist would learn from Intelligence officers in the 50s & 60s and use a camera strapped to their body underneath a coat or something?
     
  13. Living in the UK, I am old enough to remember the 30 years of security awareness as a result of the IRA terrorism. Awareness of activity and human behaviour was something everyone learned by common sense and as long as the training is done in that frame of mind I am all for it. And I think the level of importance that photography has in this is being grossly overplayed.
    My (admittedly slight) concern is that if this trainng is done in the 'the Dick Cheney mentality' (good phrase, Scott) then we will get hyper-awareness and false accusations, but I think most membes of the public are quite sane and unlikely to be brainwashed by that sort of paranoia. And the trainigng may actually help over-sensitivty.
    Actually, I am sure that 'meter maids' do develop a good sense of things being out of place. They learn to recognise cars that have been there longer than the permitted period, cars that are out of place and owners acting furtively (even if it is those who have not actually fed, or are re-feeding meters) so they are a useful adjunct to other law enforcement staff. No-one is telling them they are the security services with a whole load of responsibility if anything goes wrong, just that they have a part to play. That is all.
     
  14. Clearly, these unusual people must be attempting to undermine society; the norm is doing nothing and making lots of money for it. Or, not being employed with anything at all, and getting derided by everyone else.
    Anyone doing or making something must be subversive.
     
  15. On returning home from these wars, I have to say, these "police state" type Patriot Act suspicions and the Wall Street crash with a sprinkling of a Bernie Madoff scandal: these kinds of behaviors have really disappointed me. Somehow it really seems like people have gone too far in the wrong direction.
    I would really prefer to see a little more honest work and study in life. These suspicions and scandals are just not cutting it. I wish there was more self confidence and fewer confidence games.
    I don't know how to fix it, guys. Try a handshake and a regular deal with looking somebody in the eye. More ways to sue and snooker somebody ain't cutting it. Maybe we should just ignore the lawyers and get back to being men.
     
  16. "Photography is NOT a crime and there is no excuse for government to continue to treat us as if we are criminals."​
    How true this statement is! But . . . Remember when somewhere around just about any Airport you could see a group/individuals taking photo's and watching the Aircraft take-off and Land.
    Try that today and tell me that you are not made to feel like a criminal!
    My last experience . . . Was not even on the Airport property and was about 2 miles away from any Terminal building, on the outer road next to the freeway in a widened area of the outer road where people at one time were able to park and view the Aircraft.
    Within 5 minutes (before I had even taken a shot!) a City Police Officer showed up, told me that I would have to leave and that he would have to take the roll of film that was in my camera!
    I refused to give up the film and told him that I would gladly leave, but he would have to arrest me to get the film.
    I was not arrested but was informed that I could be "because of the Patriot Act, and also because of the Patriot Act, I, nor anyone else could no longer take pictures or watch the Airplanes at the Airport as they took off or landed!
    The Officer did take and run my Driver's License, which was fine by me, but the "I'm in charge" type attitude was not necessary just because I had parked there, or had a "big" camera in hand!
    Of course, I'm a "Smoker" too! So I'm getting used to being made to feel like a "criminal!"
     
  17. I think it's a good program and necessary since we are at war. Sometimes I wonder if Americans fully understand this. It's not a conventional war by any means. . .but clearly lives are at stake. . .and blood has already been shed on American soil. The garage attendants and MMs would not just be looking for photographers. . .but for suspicious activity suggestive of terrorist (i.e., war) activity.
     
  18. In my area, I don't think I have ever heard of one single incident of a criminal using a camera for anything other than illegal merchandise. Usually "no shirt" or "no pants" is far more likely to indicate suspicious activity.
     
  19. Shoe bomber: Everyone has to take their shoes off at TSA checkpoints
    Latest NYC Pakistani Taliban: CNN reports he didn't like sunlight.
    Show me any report that links the use of a camera to a terrorist plot. Or, anyone that was stopped that had a camera that had ties with some extremist group. Any........
     
  20. One just has to live right to avoid the authorities, I guess. Please see
    http://www.photo.net/photo/9911171
    for a snapshot of one US Air Force C-32A carrying the president's wife in for a landing.
    No meter maids, no police, on Secret Service, just a camera-user taking snapshots.
    Life is grand most of the time!
     
  21. Just one point of correction and a couple of more points as food for thought/discussion. . .
    To correct my last post, I think the program is a good IDEA. . .I don't know if it's a good program yet. That will depend on the quality and effectiveness of the training.
    After reading a few more of the posts I couldn't help but think how much of the fears and concerns seem so familiar. If you've ever had the distinction (LOL) to be a black man in America, then this would all be old hat for you. Try this: Shopping in Gristedes on 96th and Broadway is "suspicious activity" when the shopper is a black male. (Been there. Done that.) Less than a year ago I was approached by a cop as I stood at the check out counter at CVS and questioned because I fit the description of a man who was passing off bad checks at a local bank. What was his description: a black male. I had to leave the line, walk back to my car and hand over my ID. The cop didn't apologize when he told me (after taking my info) that I couldn't be the guy because the guy they were looking for fled on foot, not by car. Yes, this was inconvenient for me, but believe it or not, I was not bothered by it at all. . .I guess I've gotten so accustomed to this sort of thing. That doesn't make it right. But I do recognize that it could have been worse if the cop was a little bit stupider!
    So, hey. . .now in post 9/11 America I get to be both black AND a photographer! Being a photographer is no more a crime than being black or being a catholic priest. And being profiled and/or harassed is never OK, no matter what the reason. But it happens folks. Protest and activism may increase awareness and maybe even result in improved policy and/or legislation. And these will be beneficial. But it won't guarantee incidents of harassment will never occur again. Best thing you can do if you become a target of profiling is be cool. . .and make sure at the end of your day you return to the comfort of your home.
    Finally, I would think that in their program to combat terrorism the government might realize that photographers (esp. street photogs) can be helpful. After all, when they're looking for a "person of interest" I'd think a nice sharp image of a street scene shot by one of those BIG cameras would be more helpful than those blurry screen shots from a remote building lobby video camera. There are cameras everywhere today. . .from the average tourist with a P&S or cell phone to the street photogs with their BIG lenses. Rather than scaring off photographers, I'd think the government might encourage us to shoot more often and in more places. Then set up a web site where photogs can have the option to upload images that they think might help in an investigation. I'm not a crime specialist so it may not always be obvious to me what constitutes a smoking gun. But if I was freely shooting street activity in an area where an attempted crime or terrorist act took place, somewhere in my images there might be key evidence or clues. Moreover, if a would-be terrorist was engaged in plotting or conducting a terror act in a densely populated area, maybe that person might be deterred somewhat if they found themselves immersed in a sea of clicking shutters. Duh! ; )
     
  22. After all, when they're looking for a "person of interest" I'd think a nice sharp image of a street scene shot by one of those BIG cameras would be more helpful than those blurry screen shots from a remote building lobby video camera. There are cameras everywhere today.​
    Thatis a very good point, Asa. In 2005 we had a series of four bombings in London by radicalised muslims and, the police requested footiage from anyone who had taken pictures within a wide area of the bombings before, or after, the tragic events. Obviously they saw the opportunity to have the public act as surveillance-agents-after-the-fact.
    So maybe we can tell the over-enthusiastic policeman that we are, actually, on their side.
     
  23. I think it's a good program and necessary since we are at war. Sometimes I wonder if Americans fully understand this. It's not a conventional war by any means. . .but clearly lives are at stake. . .and blood has already been shed on American soil. The garage attendants and MMs would not just be looking for photographers. . .but for suspicious activity suggestive of terrorist (i.e., war) activity.​
    I just think a few people look for an excuse to invoke the name Dick Cheney. As a unintentional benefit maybe this program will result in fewer cameras on the street, and less crappy "street "photography" polluting internet photo-forum galleries. If that happens I'd send Dick Cheney a bouquet of flowers.
     
  24. If they were really smart, they would train street photographers to take photos of suspicious looking people.
     
  25. Duplicated post.
     
  26. It's obviously just a political ploy designed to console the American equivalent of a Daily Mail reader
     
  27. well I once got question by a police officer for taking a shot on the beach , It was only a few minuts walk from home and a nice evening and I didnt have any ID on me , all I wanted was a few shots at this time of day ,
    Even though it is not a legal requirement to carry ID in Australia I was arrested for not being able to prove who I was .
    once back at the police station I was strip searched and they ruined 3 rolls of exposed film , all this because I wanted to photograph a beach .
    They gave me every thing from terrorist to child pornographer, all I wanted to do was photograph a beach .
    When they said they wanted to come search my home I really cracked it with them and bought in my lawyer . where I lived then is now short two young (not very good ) police officers .
    I have never ever been in trouble with the law and I was not doing anything ileagle .
    It just seems that now if I go out with my camera I am either a terrorist or a child pornographer
     
  28. The main thing I look for in meter maids is bodacious ta-tas.
     
  29. The trouble is a person can come on here and say,"we are at war" & that 'radicalized' Muslims committed this terrorist act or that and so there is justification for the loss of civil liberties,that's OK. But if someone were to suggest that people should question who was really behind these terrorist acts (911,7/7 etc.) and ask who really benefited from them. Well, Then the post will likely be deleted as I except this one to be. Test.
     
  30. "If they were really smart, they would train street photographers to take photos of suspicious looking people"
    The people who worry me the most are the police, so I'd photograph them.
    Cheers
    Alan
     
  31. I thought the idea of being apprehended by one of our Gold Coast (Queensland) Meter Maids might make the prospect more appealing. http://www.metermaids.com/
    And to Mark Tate, given the sensitivity of this whole subject it wasn't very smart not to carry some ID. Nevertheless in addition to that I also carry a copy of this - http://4020.net/words/rightssummary/nswphotorights.pdf
     
  32. Bruce Schneier's recent Crypto Gram newsletter has an excellent editorial on worst case thinking and the problems associated with it.
    There's a certain blindness that comes from worst-case thinking. An
    extension of the precautionary principle, it involves imagining the
    worst possible outcome and then acting as if it were a certainty. It
    substitutes imagination for thinking, speculation for risk analysis and
    fear for reason. It fosters powerlessness and vulnerability and
    magnifies social paralysis. And it makes us more vulnerable to the
    effects of terrorism.

    Worst-case thinking means generally bad decision making for several
    reasons. First, it's only half of the cost-benefit equation. Every
    decision has costs and benefits, risks and rewards. By speculating about
    what can possibly go wrong, and then acting as if that is likely to
    happen, worst-case thinking focuses only on the extreme but improbable
    risks and does a poor job at assessing outcomes.

    Second, it's based on flawed logic. It begs the question by assuming
    that a proponent of an action must prove that the nightmare scenario is
    impossible.​
    You can find the complete article at http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2010/05/worst-case_thin.html​
     
  33. The thing that gets me is that the security people never consider folks with great memories or sitting in a car a sketching out a diagram; which, if you're a smart terrorist you'd do something like to attract the least amount of attention as possible.
    I was once running into my credit union, and there was a Wackenhunt security person on her walkie talkie, standing over a "suspicious package", frantically talking to "base". There was this huge production over a package - package in a no name office building in an area that wouldn't have caused much damage if there were some sort of explosive device.
    It was nothing, of course.
    So much for living normally, huh?
    The folks who are in charge of security really need to stop watching so much TV.
    Me? I'm more concerned about getting killed on the highway by someone not paying attention because they're yakking on their cell phone.
    Here's how you'll die:
    Traffic accident.
    Heart disease.
    Cancer
    Bolt of lightning.
    Space aliens sucking out your brains.
    .
    .
    (several hundred thousand other things and then ...)
    .
    terrorism.
     
  34. Here's how you'll die:
    Traffic accident.
    Heart disease.
    Cancer
    Bolt of lightning.
    Space aliens sucking out your brains.
    .
    .
    (several hundred thousand other things and then ...)
    .
    terrorism.​
    Jeez! That's an awful lot of bad luck.
     
  35. Sketching is included in the espionage statues. Of course, the laws on the subject go back a long ways. It's pretty clear that they have evolved over time but certainly predate convenient photography. So does blowing things up.
     
  36. Scott, you are a pinhead. Dick Cheney had absolutely nothing to do with photographers being hassled during the past ten years. Your source for that, please? You are simply making very divisive political propaganda. In fact, after numerous complaints of us railfan photographers being hassled, the Dept. of Homeland Defense under Bush began instructing local law enforcement to stop wasting time on photographers and start paying more attention to other more important "warning signs." It was Obama's replacement for the job, Janet Napolitano, that sent out memos telling local law enforcement to question photographers. You really need to pay attention and get your facts straight, if you want to be believeable.
    http://nppa.org/news_and_events/news/2009/08/security.html
    Kent in SD
     
  37. Photography is Not a Crime.....period! Anything that comes close to implementing policy in this way should be the crime.
     
  38. A very US centered post so here are some words from the UK - Over here photographers are hounded by ignorant law enforcers who do not understand the directives from their own bosses, who keep pointing out that street photography is not illegal. Still you always get one or two over zealous types in most professions. But my point is this - the most common street photographer you will see today is the Traffic Warden, as we call them - they all have cameras to take pictures of violations and provide evidence of the regulation breach for a court, should it come to that. So I ask you - are all traffic wardens to be regarded as potential Al Qaeda spies?
     

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