Link: On improperly enforced photography lawsBy
Since the mid-2000s, when the MTA considered a misguided and borderline unconstitutional ban on photography, many people from transit workers to cops to straphangers believe snapping photos of subways, buses and authority infrastructure will land you with a one-way trip to Guantanamo. That isn’t, of course, the case, and veteran railfans and infrastructure shutterbugs know to carry a copy of the MTA’s Rules of Conduct which state as much. Still, every now and then, a story pops up that reminds us, even seven years after the proposed ban was discarded, not everyone knows the current state of the rules.
This time around, our story comes from Times photography David Dunlap. As he relates on City Room, he was told by an MTA property protection agent that he was not permitted to take photos of a bus depot from a public sidewalk. As Dunlap notes, the agent was wrong to tell him he could not take photos from the public sidewalk and wrong to tell him he could not take photos of the MTA property.
For its part, the MTA apologized to Dunlap and said that “the actions of the property protection agent…will be investigated.” That’s a convenient after-the-fact action though. In 2012, MTA employees and those who work to keep the system safe should know that photography is allowed, and anyone with a camera, from amateurs to professionals, shouldn’t have to fear an encounter with an authority figure who isn’t versed in the current rules.