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Thread: Photo Ban within the NYC Subway System - What Do You Think?

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    Cyburbian gct13's avatar
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    Photo Ban within the NYC Subway System - What Do You Think?

    The MTA wants to officially ban all still photography and videotaping within the New York City subway system.

    [Read the full story here]

    Excessive? A reasonable safeguard against future terrorism? What do you think?

  2. #2
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    Excess.

    One of the problems with a free society is that the freedom also leaves openings for bad people to do bad things.

    If you take away enough freedoms to be able to control the bad people, you no longer have a free society.

    So one of the prices of a free society is a certain amount of risk.

  3. #3
    This is an extreme overreaction. What is next, banning photography at national monuments? On the street? Plus, the ban wouldn't apply to media people, which is stupid because the media could take pictures and post them in a newspaper for all to see anyhow. Some of the dumb stuff that governement is doing in the name of "protecting us from terrorsts" are a complete joke and serve more as a feel-good measure than an effective means to thwart terrorists.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  4. #4
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Repo Man
    This is an extreme overreaction. What is next, banning photography at national monuments? On the street? Plus, the ban wouldn't apply to media people, which is stupid because the media could take pictures and post them in a newspaper for all to see anyhow. Some of the dumb stuff that governement is doing in the name of "protecting us from terrorsts" are a complete joke and serve more as a feel-good measure than an effective means to thwart terrorists.
    "Those whom would give up essential liberties for temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security"

    The railroad enthusiast ('railfan') newsgroups have been crackling the last few days about New Jersey Transit and their rigorously enforced (and legally questionable) ban on photography of their facilities, even when the images are taken from non-NJT properties and public streets.

    Also, photography is prohibited on many bridges and tunnels in NYC as well as on the New Jersey Turnpike.

    Mike

  5. #5
    maudit anglais
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    I believe a student photographer researching urban planning issues for his employer (a university prof) was detained by Montreal transit police after taking some pictures in the Metro this week.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wulf9
    Excess.

    One of the problems with a free society is that the freedom also leaves openings for bad people to do bad things.

    If you take away enough freedoms to be able to control the bad people, you no longer have a free society.

    So one of the prices of a free society is a certain amount of risk.
    The way to make a society free and reasonably safe is to put in appropriate support measures for Good Stuff. Merely focusing on squashing bad stuff...can leave you a vacuum more dangerous than what you have squashed and can promote bad stuff since focusing on something tends to magnify the issue. I agree: excessive.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian gct13's avatar
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    An excerpt from New York Times coverage:
    ...the M.T.A. was sponsoring an exhibition at Grand Central Terminal of photos taken over decades of life in the subways.
    I took a look at the exhibition last week. It's quite nice.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian gct13's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920
    The railroad enthusiast ('railfan') newsgroups have been crackling the last few days about New Jersey Transit and their rigorously enforced (and legally questionable) ban on photography of their facilities...
    Last year, on my way out of town, I took a few picts of the Newark International NJ Transit station. A lady official on the opposite platform sprinted over, arms flailing, and yelled, "Stop! No pictures!"

    An official ban on photography in the NYC subway would be a disaster. Besides which, the policy could pave the way for similar rules in other public places anywhere in the city and country.

    Welcome to the Empire State Building. Please note that photography and video equipment are not permitted on the observation deck. We hope you have a pleasant visit.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    The Chicago CTA is appearently agitating to do the same now that the MTA is doing it.

    Monkey see, monkey do.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Let's take this to its logical conclusion. Airports and subway tunnels may be subjects of terrorism. To deny the terrorists access to information, we should prohibit people from taking pictures of them. Federal buildings are similarly threatened, as are other governmental buildings. So are monuments. So are large public places, like shopping malls, or even the local Wal-Mart (10 posts). Who are the targets of terrorist attacks? Celebrities, certainly, but also ordinary folks like you an me. Therefore I proposa a ban on all photography of any sort, and just to be safe, no sketching either.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    Let's take this to its logical conclusion. Airports and subway tunnels may be subjects of terrorism. To deny the terrorists access to information, we should prohibit people from taking pictures of them. Federal buildings are similarly threatened, as are other governmental buildings. So are monuments. So are large public places, like shopping malls, or even the local Wal-Mart (10 posts). Who are the targets of terrorist attacks? Celebrities, certainly, but also ordinary folks like you an me. Therefore I proposa a ban on all photography of any sort, and just to be safe, no sketching either.
    And in the interest of being inclusionary, no detailed descriptions for visually-impaired potential terrorists, either.
    Just to be safe, all movies, tv shows, and commercials should be filmed with the same generic "every-place" backdrop. No identifiable landmarks, please, someone may want to invade Central Perk.
    I don't dream. I plan.

  12. #12
    Oh, 'babs, now I have to go clean my monitor!

    It seems the absurdity knows no limits, so long as you couch it with "The Terrorists will be able to use (fill in the blank) to prepare an attack against us, and then you'll be sorry". Serously, it is time for someone to write a "Common Sense" for our times. It would have to be PC, of course.

    "Now is the time for all good men, women and children to come to the aid of their country. Reactionaries may choose to stay home. Legally married native Massachusetts gays are invited also...."
    Je suis Charlie

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    The laws are stupid because terrorists who are committed to blowing up hundreds of people aren't going to say "I'd like to take a quick picture of that subway tunnel, but, gosh, I don't want to break any rules."

  14. #14
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    I think what's even more scary is the MBTA pulling "ID checks" on the subway.

    NJTransit tried this a year or two before Sept. 11th and most people refused. The cops would walk up to someone on the platform and say "can i see your ID?" and most people just gave them a dirty look and said "No." and walked away. It's completely unconstitutional but they'll do it anyway, pretend it's legal, and most people will comply.

    I honestly think the coming PATRIOT Act vote and all of this drama in the papers about trains is no coincidence.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

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    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    Scofflaw

    Oh damn. That would mean I broke the law while taking pictures of some of my old projects that cross the Hudson-Bergen light rail tracks. I am riddled with guilt. I must turn myself in. Anybody out there have experience with this? Should I hire a lawyer before or after I turn myself in?

  16. #16

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    Get My Bunk Ready @ Riker's

    ....I admit, I did , too. Last summer, in the Penn Station/Madison Sq. Garden Station, I took a shot of my 15 year old son poised between the "33rd Street" and the "34th Street" directional terra cotta tiles.

    ....Can an out-of-stater qualify for a public defender?

    ....I can hear the theme music for "Law and Order" coming up now... whatever they do, don't leave me alone with Jerry Orbach's character...

  17. #17
    Quote Originally posted by GCT13
    The MTA wants to officially ban all still photography and videotaping within the New York City subway system.

    [Read the full story here]

    Excessive? A reasonable safeguard against future terrorism? What do you think?
    A few years ago I had an encounter with a MARTA train station manager (who struck me as smart as the proverbial sack of hammers) who hassled me about my photography in a rude and hostile manner. I argued the point but she began escalating it in the direction of the MARTA police. Not willing to get arrested over the issue, since I already had my shots anyhow, I left the station and phoned MARTA, and received a call and apology from both MARTA's lawyer and the head of their police department. I was told there was no policy against photography, and the station manager was just ill informed.

    Unfortunately since 9/11 there's a good chance they've changed the policy. Maybe I'll test it soon.

    Larry

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    A bit OT
    What's next -
    Do you think I will get trouble for taking pictures of our Greeenway that is located on our Levee ?
    Who else might have this trouble ?
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  19. #19
    Cyburbian
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    Probably any public gathering place, like parks and plazas, and major landmarks and buildings, would be fair game for photography restrictions, although it would be hard to enforce. Last year in Denver, during the conference, I found an old building with some amazing WPA-era murals just inside the entry. I took photos of all of them, and as I was focusing for the last one, the security guard came out and yelled at me, told me photos of the building were forbidden. I'm not sure what kind of offices were in there, but I'm pretty sure it was a private office, and the photo ban may have been to protect the murals from flash exposure. They were encased in acrylic, and getting them w/out the flash was hard.
    They've just announced this morning that more attacks of some kind are anticipated this summer, which will make photography even more difficult, more than likely. Wonder if they'll ban cameras at sporting events?
    I don't dream. I plan.

  20. #20
    One interesting thing about this trend is that when I was in elementary school in the 1950s one of the things we were told during our frequent Red Scare indoctrination was that one of the indiginities inflicted by Soviet security forces was a prohibition on photographing public buildings. Unlike the U.S. where we are free to photograph wherever we like.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    The Chicago CTA is appearently agitating to do the same now that the MTA is doing it.

    Monkey see, monkey do.
    Heh well, for an update, the CTA has said that they're "not considering" a photography ban. Appearently what happened was that a local reporter asked the CTA president if they might do that too to find a local angle to the story and the CTA president said "Yeah I guess" or something like that.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA
    A bit OT
    What's next -
    Do you think I will get trouble for taking pictures of our Greeenway that is located on our Levee ?
    Who else might have this trouble ?
    Actually, this is kind of ironic, a couple of months ago an Iraqi family that lives here in Buffalo was videotaping the water plant down by the lake for some odd reason. The police stopped to check them and then let them go. Apparently they were tapping it to send it back to family in Iraq. Now that strikes me as odd. Why would they be tapping the water plant?B-)

    They also stopped some people down by the Peace Bridge. Bird watching.

    I'm also guilty of taking pictures of the subway in NYC and Grand Central Station after 9/11, but then again I saw other people taking pictures as well.
    Last edited by Rumpy Tunanator; 27 May 2004 at 10:47 AM. Reason: I can't spell
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  23. #23
    Cyburbian gct13's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rumpy Tunanator
    I'm also guilty of taking pictures of the subway in NYC and Grand Central Station after 9/11, but then again I saw other people taking pictures as well.
    I rue the day they even begin to float the idea of a picture ban at Grand Central Terminal, the finest public space in NYC. But it doesn't take a big leap to imagine, if the subway ban is approved, that the policy voraciously grows to include all MTA properties.

    :d:

  24. #24
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rumpy Tunanator
    Why would they be taping the water plant?B-)
    Maybe they're from the desert?
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  25. #25
    I am wondering when Bush is just going to proclaim that Martial Law is in effect.

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