Photographers' Rights

Photo of police officer holding nightstick

We Need to Move Beyond the Frame of the “Bad Apple Cop”

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 6:27am
I and others have argued that video has “killed trust in police officers.” Police have been able to get away with a lot of abuse because judges, juries, and the public have usually deemed police officers more credible than abuse victims. But with a regular parade of videos being posted online, a certain naive faith in police officers held by many Americans may be eroding.
Smokey Says, Get a Permit, Shutterbug

Smokey Says, Get a Permit, Shutterbug

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:39pm

Well, sort of.

First Amendment advocates have expressed escalating concern in recent days over a U.S. Forest Service rule requiring permits for photographers in national forests. In particular what is at issue is a new proposed Forest Service…

Sharing this picture in Arizona could get you thrown in jail [photos of baby]

Arizona’s Naked Photo Law Makes Free Speech a Felony

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:24pm

Which of the following could land you a felony conviction in Arizona?

Showing images of naked prisoners tortured at Abu Ghraib; Linking to the iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of “Napalm Girl,” showing an unclothed Vietnamese…
Journalism is Under Attack, and Not Just in Ferguson

Journalism is Under Attack, and Not Just in Ferguson

By Noa Yachot, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 12:47pm

It is not a great time to be a journalist in America.

The assault on the First Amendment by militarized police in Ferguson, Mo., continues unabated, and the press is not spared. Since the start of protests against the August 9 killing of Michael…

Photographers' Rights At Issue As Arizona Community Rises Up Against "Occupying Army" of Border Patrol Agents

Photographers' Rights At Issue As Arizona Community Rises Up Against "Occupying Army" of Border Patrol Agents

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:10pm

The ACLU of Arizona today sent a letter to the U.S. Border Patrol demanding that the agency immediately stop interfering with the First Amendment rights of the residents of Arivaca, Arizona, to protest and to photograph government activities that are…

Hidden Third Cameraman Proves Crucial in Nebraska Photographer-Abuse Case

Hidden Third Cameraman Proves Crucial in Nebraska Photographer-Abuse Case

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:36am

Take a look at the photograph above. It shows a former police officer in an orange jumpsuit making a court appearance to face a felony charge of evidence tampering, as well as misdemeanor obstruction and theft. I hope that police around the nation…

Police Harassment of Photographers Remains a Problem

Police Harassment of Photographers Remains a Problem

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:31pm

It’s been almost two years since we posted our ”Know Your Rights” Guide for Photographers, began calling attention to the problem of police harassment of photographers (including through this video), and began blogging about the issue. And several years before that, our affiliates around the country had already begun filing what have become numerous lawsuits on the issue.

It’s also been nearly two years since the First Circuit Court of Appeals held that the right to film police officers is protected by the First Amendment and that, moreover, that principle is so “fundamental and virtually self-evident” that it should have been known to the police even before the court’s ruling. That ruling was only the most prominent—courts around the country have been pretty much unanimous in finding such a right.

Yet the problem persists.

As Carlos Miller documents on his invaluable site Photography is Not a Crime, incidents of police harassment of photographers (and worse) continue to take place around the country on a daily or near-daily basis.

Why is it so hard for police officers to learn the law? We have seen settlements in some cities in which police department management has sent clear messages to their officers instructing them on the law, but in many cities, not enough has been done to train officers and/or enforce requirements that they abide by the Constitution.

As citizens prepare to gather this Fourth of July for rallies to restore the Fourth Amendment, let’s hope that this First Amendment right is respected as well.

"Ag-Gag" Not Just About Animal Welfare

"Ag-Gag" Not Just About Animal Welfare

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 9:54am

A story out of Utah this week neatly showcased the rising concerns among civil liberties and press freedom groups around so-called "ag-gag" laws, which, in various ways, make it illegal to document animal abuse on factory farms and other agricultural…

ACLU Sues Over Abuse Of Photographers By Border Patrol Agents

ACLU Sues Over Abuse Of Photographers By Border Patrol Agents

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:42pm

The ACLU of San Diego filed a lawsuit today against the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) for violating the constitutional rights of two photographers, and for maintaining an official policy prohibiting the use of cameras and video recorders…

NYCLU Report from OWS Anniversary Protests

NYCLU Report from OWS Anniversary Protests

By Katherine Bromberg, Occupy Wall Street Coordinator, NYCLU at 5:43pm

Approximately 3,000 protesters from across the country amassed in New York City’s financial district to celebrate Occupy Wall Street’s one year anniversary.  Refusing to be deterred by the barricades and checkpoints that precluded…

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