Tangerine Blue April 21, 2009 12:55 PM

Great billboard.

And delicious irony. If only the bus passenger knew they were Iraqis…

Adam April 21, 2009 2:13 PM

That billboard app is awesome. I just wish there was an easy way to share the ones we’ve made.

My favorite tag line thus far:

“Terrorists are different from us.
If it’s different, it’s terrorism.”

Stasi Informant April 21, 2009 4:12 PM

As much as fifteen percent (15%) of
population are informants. Anonymous,
public resentment against police increase
the likelihood.

Study of criminal gangs, Crime Tips,
use of ‘confidential informants’,
divide and conquer tactics in Roman
Assassination of Caesar – “And you, Brutus”
his friend, Brutus.

Pays all his bus passes in cash April 21, 2009 4:44 PM

The National Writers Union offers press credentials to members who can document their qualifications as working journalists. An NWU press pass, laminated and complete with your photograph, will help you gain access to important events. You can choose between an international ($65) or domestic ($50) press pass. Both are good for two years plus one week from the date of issue. Continuous union membership for the life of the pass is required.

is funny…it’s legit.

Expected Better from the Brits April 21, 2009 5:47 PM

As much as I liked the story and the point that was made, I don’t know how much credibility to give it.

The About page for the Sierra Charlie blog says:
“None of the posts relate directly to events that happened exactly as described. All the characters and events are strictly fictional – any apparent relationship with any real event or person is purely coincidental.”

I am assuming that the story is inspired by actual events. And I understand why the writer would want to change details to protect the privacy of those involved. But stating that “events are strictly fictional” makes it hard to judge how true this story may be.

That said, the Sierra Charlie writer is correct. The “War on Photography” is a distraction.

Arne April 21, 2009 5:47 PM

Too bad. For a second I thought the first board was legit and common sense broke out in the UK. Unfortunately it was only an isolated incidence, but my highest respect goes to the police officer.

Dan April 21, 2009 10:23 PM

Considering that photos and videos of the police have done far more to punish and deter police misconduct (Rodney Kind video, etc, etc, etc) than they have ever done to assist terrorists, citizens of democratic countries should press for legislation explicitly protecting the right to photograph uniformed officers. (For officers working undercover, where photos could put them at personal risk, I can understand an exception, but officers in uniform are exposing themselves to the public already.)

In any case, it is just silly to prohibit acts done overtly (taking photos with non-concealed cameras) where the same act can so easily be done covertly (taking photos with cell phones or disguised cameras). If it is not physically possible to prevent something done covertly, why expend resources to prevent the same thing done overtly? Can someone explain the logic in that?

Robert April 22, 2009 2:47 AM

I was deeply saddened to discover the “don’t panic, don’t waste our time” board was a photoshop. Alas, common sense isn’t as good as fear for getting votes and justifying the existence of bureaucracies.

Nostromo April 22, 2009 4:34 AM

We are losing this battle for freedom and common sense.

We – a tiny number of people – are making fun of the way in which The Authorities are destroying civil society. But that won’t help. What we need is for hundreds of thousands of people to pester their political representatives to roll back this harmful nonsense. I don’t see that happening.

Crimevictim April 22, 2009 4:54 AM

By the way, if your home gets burgled, don’t even waste your time calling the police. They’re much too busy preventing people from taking photographs etc to bother with unimportant things like crime.

BF Skinner April 22, 2009 6:05 AM

I think the law is too narrow. Anything to do with anti-terrorism shouldn’t be photographed. That billboard is a give away to terrorists on what tactics people are being breifed on. So the terrorists will just spin their tactic to something new.

Even photographing the billboards, or recording the TV news reports or not shredding and destroying news articles should be illegal as well. If they are gonna be consistent.

OldFish April 22, 2009 12:30 PM

Anti-photography laws are a sign of incompetence and are simply stupid.

If an installation is secure it doesn’t matter who photographs it or when.

If an installation depends upon limiting photography for its security then it isn’t really secure.

Kinda like crypto, ain’t it?

Dave A April 22, 2009 2:54 PM

@Dan: (For officers working undercover, where photos could put them at personal risk, I can understand an exception, but officers in uniform are exposing themselves to the public already.)

How exactly are photographers supposed to know whether they’re taking a photo of an undercover agent? On the other hand, this implies a simple test to tell whether your associates are actually police informants- simply take photos of each and see whether you’re arrested.

As for the uniformed officers exposing themselves… nevermind.

Peter E Retep April 22, 2009 5:19 PM

Here in LA [Los Angeles] the Metro bus advises that anyone staring at other passengers, looking at Metro facilities, taking photographs with a camera [not a cell phone?], or looking away quickly when looked at, or dressed unusually, [in Hollywood?] is sufficently ’suspect’ to call the sherrif.

Calum April 23, 2009 5:36 AM

Bob – it’s just phonetic alphabet, A for Alpha, B for Bravo, etc. Each operational area has a two letter code which is used in radio procedure. I imagine Sierra Charlie is a play on the fact that he is a Special Constable.

Mark April 23, 2009 6:16 AM

Meanwhile a park warden was arrested in London for filming a police car on a footpath. Driving just about anything on a footpath being against the law.

Also 12 students verry publically arrested were released. In spite of lots of fuss and trying hard for nearly two weeks police couldn’t evidence that they had done anything illegal. Though 11 of them might be deported for the “crime” of being poor students from Pakistan who managed to show up the police as fools.

There has, however, been an outbreak of “common sense”. Where 5 police officers were arrested on the evening of the 16th of April in Manchester accused of assault.
Though no doubt these “cops” only got the usual treatment for people accused of assault because they were off duty…

Ann Onymous April 23, 2009 10:06 PM

The UK police’s crusade against terrorist photographers is truly ridiculous. An example: the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) HQ is in central London. It’s not a secret what the building is used for. Yet if the police see you taking a photo of the place, chances are you’ll be waylaid by bobbies wielding submachineguns and terrorized into deleting the offending snaps (assuming you used a digital camera; if you shoot film, the cops will probably shoot you).

As for the ban on photographing police officers: this is to prevent evil terrorists from identifying the cops as targets. The uniforms don’t have that effect, apparently.

Sierra Charlie May 11, 2009 11:52 AM

If you are interested, I have done a follow-up post to explain what we are and are not allowed to use our powers for in these cases.

Thanks for the link!

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