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A Picture of Paranoia

Here’s yet another strange campaign to make the general public even more paranoid.

The London Metropolitan Police are running newspaper ads asking the public to be on the look out for “odd looking photographers“.

Thousands of people take photos every day. What if one of them seem odd?

Terrorists use surveillance to help plan attacks, taking photos and making notes about security measures like the location of CCTV cameras. If you see someone doing that, we need to know. Let experiences officers decide what action to take.

While the multiple overlapping law enforcement agencies in DC haven’t gone so far as to advertise, many of their people already consider anyone using a “professional” camera in certain parts of town to be suspect.

In case you’re unaware, a “professional” camera is pretty much any SLR. Or so I’ve been told. Which, I suppose, is different from the completely innocent “tourist” point-and-shoot model.

I’ll be visiting London for a while this summer and will be frequently using my “professional” camera (Canon Rebel XT) during the trip.

I wonder if Scotland Yard will consider me “odd”.

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4 Comments

  1. Would terrorists use SLRs? I would think they’re more the point-and-shoot type.

    Terrorists do use Canons, though. Just sayin’.

    I say that only because I’m a Nikon guy.

  2. Dave

    These ads make me surprised that there isn’t already a wiki-type site cataloging the location of the cameras. Seems like something the public would have a right to put together, but also is probably the fastest way to meet a high-ranking member of law enforcement with the least amount of work.

    Most security methods just deter different levels of casual crime. If I always lock my car doors, then people just walking by my car won’t be able to pull the handle and take something from inside. But really, if someone really wants what is in my car, they’re going to take what is in my car, no matter what door locks or alarm system I have.

    It seems backwards that the only statements I’ve ever seen on the “why” of terrorism is “they hate freedom”. Really? Wouldn’t it be good for us to have some real knowledge of what exactly is upsetting people, and work on taking away that motivation? Maybe it’s because of Western involvement in Middle Eastern politics…so why are we not spending huge amounts of resources on better compromises? I’m too much of an idealist. : )

  3. You should look up any local laws regarding public photography where your traveling. I know there is an American copy of photographers rights, so I’m guessing there would be some sort of a Scottish version. Might be a useful read before your trip.

  4. I meant a UK version, not Scottish.

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