Photography Is Not a Crime

The title was the shocking headline of this op-ed by PEN. “Uh, no kidding,” is the correct response. What’s disappointing is your image is taken everywhere by the state and businesses, but citizens are freaking out if other citizens or journalists have their images too? Free societies cannot allow their police to forcefully prevent people from filming, where they are filming citizens already (and feeding it into Trapwire too).

I’m someone who avoided an unjust (and later non-convicted for those charged) ticket, in part thanks to filming unconstitutional police action in Regina.

Watch this cop on a stretcher apparently swearing at a journalist, before his buddies put the photographer into a headlock and arrested him before fining him $65.

Know your rights:

Subject to certain very limited constraints, it is not a crime in Canada for anyone to do any of the following things, and it is a violation of their Charter rights to prevent anyone from doing so:
•photographing or filming in any public place, or in any private place to which the public is admitted, and publishing those pictures and films,
•taking pictures of or filming in any government site other than “restricted access areas”*
•photographing or filming police officers in public, as long as the photographer/filmmaker does not obstruct or interfere with the execution of police duties. While everyone has a reasonable expectation of privacy in certain circumstances, police officers have no reasonable expectation of privacy as they go about their duties.

A police officer does not have the right to confiscate cameras or recording equipment (including phones), unless the person in possession of such equipment is under arrest and such equipment is necessarily relevant to the alleged offence. A police officer cannot force anyone to show, unlock or decrypt cameras or recording equipment, or to delete images, even when that person is under arrest, unless the police officer has a warrant or a court order permitting him to do so.

One response to “Photography Is Not a Crime

  1. Sure, but as the situation evolves, your camera will be gone, your phone and all your contacts will be recorded, you will be fined and/or arrested for resisting, your friends will now be suspects, and it’s up to you to fight all this through the justice system. And that requires lots of $ and time. Most of us don’t have those resources. So we are suppressed. And once you’ve been through that system you will always be on a list that identifies you as a trouble maker, a terrorist, and your life will never be the same.

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