Photographers Treated as Terrorists

There has been a disturbing trend towards authorities in various countries stopping, questioning, and even arresting people who are simply taking photographs of public places. Somehow taking a photo equates in some people’s minds to gathering information for terrorist purposes. Often the police or security guards in question insist that the photographer is breaking the law – which is usually not the case at all.

A recent example is where a photographer was detained and arrested for taking photos of an Amtrak train. His reason? He was taking photos to enter an Amtrak photo contest that called for people to take and enter photos of Amtrak trains.

The absurdity of this is captured by a Colbert Report video.

For those interested in this topic in general, take a look at the Photo Attorney blog, and in particular, the series of posts entitled Photography Not Allowed


  1. Some Canadians are stopped more than others.

    But it’s like activists have always said – if you allow civil rights abuses to occur with a marginalized community, the abuses will inevitably spread to the larger population (essentially the Martin Niemöller mantra).

  2. Nowhere is it worse than in Britain. See, for example, the recent arrest under anti-terrorism legislation of an artist for taking photographs of buildings, and another even more recent arrest of a journalist and member of the British Press Photographers’ Association for taking a picture of a police officer during an anti-BBC protest. Evidently, according to the latter source, legislative amendments due to come into force in a couple of weeks, will make it even more likely that photographers will be charged for taking pictures of police.