PATRIOT Act Used As Pretext For Photo Ban
“Since 2003, the NYPD has been filming protesters at political demonstrations, regardless of whether anything illegal’s going on. City lawyers were in court last month defending the practice, arguing that what happens in public view is fair game.
“But police evidently aren’t so keen on surveillance when the cameras are turned on them — particularly when those cameras show them abusing free-street-parking privileges.
“On March 27, two volunteers from the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives (TA) were detained for taking pictures of police officers’ private cars, which were parked on the sidewalk outside the Fifth Precinct in Chinatown. The volunteers say they were held and questioned at the precinct for about 20 minutes and instructed to erase the pictures.
“A researcher for the city’s Rent Guidelines Board, who took pictures for a survey on TA’s behalf, says the officers listed several reasons they could not photograph cops’ personal vehicles—including concerns that if the license plate numbers were published online, gang members could track police to their homes. And he mentioned the Patriot Act.”
Sarah Ferguson. Watching the Detectives. The Village Voice. April 10, 2006.
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