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Previous | Next :: Richmond Airport : Virginia : USA | March 21, 2010, 4:56 am

Richmond Airport : Virginia : USA
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Following on from yesterdays argy-bargy (see comments on yesterdays post) I looked on the net..... I could not find any statutes specifically banning photography at US airports or even Virginia airports. They may exsist but they are not advertised anywhere, there are certainly not even any signs on the wall at Virginia Airports.

I even found a really funny TSA blog that implies its fine to take photographs at TSA airport screening and security check points...... hehehehe....... even I am not mad enough to try that - take photos of the security arrangements at airports - I don\'t think so.... hehehe............ in reality they would be kicking the sh*t out of you in 10 seconds flat...... hehehe.....

But it appears the no photographing at airports is one of those things...... a lot of people have got themselves in a funny headspace where they think photography in general should be illegal...... the police think it should be illegal...... and as they are the police it is effectively illegal...... people with cameras are intimidated out of doing it ........ but I can\'t find any advertised actual statutes that make it actually really illegal to photograph at a US airport ...... Im pretty sure its not...... especially in America where the right to photograph in public places is protected under first Amendment rights.

On that same government airport security blog (TSA) in the comments was this excellent anon comment:

\'Photography has become a proxy for terrorism. The presence of a camera sets off the alarms of whichever uniformed official is protecting that piece of turf. The Homeland Security Department has dealt with a vaguely-defined threat that\'s usually difficult to detect by declaring a generalized \"War on the Unusual.\" If the public is afraid of everything and reports it to the Authorities, that might somehow stumble on a terrorist plot that evades ordinary \"intelligence.\" And somehow photography is universally considered \"unusual\" enough to fit that definition, so everyone is specifically encouraged to be afraid of it. Effectively, there is a War On Photography (that has joined the roster of Wars on Drugs, Terrorism, Child Pornography, and assorted other scourges). Terrorists are very rare, but photographers are rather common; so photographers are useful targets for uniformed officials who are eager \"do something to fight terrorists.\"

The supposed rationale for the War on Photography is that terrorists will take pictures of their targets before planning their attacks, rather than relying on Google Earth or the public library. Since anything can be a target, treating all photographers as suspected terrorists seems the only thing we can do to fight terrorism. So transit authorities ban photography in subways buses, and cities ban photography of bridges because that\'s they honestly believe it\'s protecting us and helping to win the War On Terror.

Those cops and officials frequently invoke the PATRIOT Act to justify harassing photographers, even though it actually says nothing about photography. But that\'s understandable, and perhaps even a desirable side-effect that Ashcroft intended when he rammed it through Congress. The PATRIOT Act is an enormous, wide-ranging piece of legislation that very few people have read and even fewer people really understand. But Congress passed it after 9/11 to \"fight terrorism,\" so cops and officials assume that it restricts or bans photography because of its clear association with terrorism. And threatining a terrorist/photographer with prosecution under the PATRIOT Act is certainly an impressive and effective way to make them surrender a memory card or camera (which the photographer actually has no legal obligation to do).

Of course the enforcement is selective. Someone with an SLR will attract any cops or rent-a-cop in the vicinity, but millions of people with ubiquitous cellphone cameras won\'t be noticed. That means if a terrorist actually does decide to photograph a target, he\'ll use an unobtrusive cellphone camera. So while harassing more serious photographers lets the cops feel like they\'re being heroes who fight terrorism, it\'s just another one of so many needless losses of freedom that provides no actual security benefit. That unfortunately seems to be the defining characteristic of the vaguely-defined Global War On Terror.\'

I could not have put it better myself........ pictures of the airport or of planes at the airport in Richmond cannot be thought to pose any threat to the airport or its travelers by the airport authority otherwise they probably would not have a Richmond Airport photo gallery on their website:


Its pretty late here Matt\'s Birthday Party went on till 4-30 AM as if his new ripe old age was\'nt affecting him at all........ :-))))))) XXXXXXXX

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