Photography Isn't Illegal- But was This?

January 17th, 2019
I work in a public building and customers flow to and fro regularly. This afternoon a man walked in wearing a Go-Pro on his chest and a mobile phone on a selfie-stick. He wandered around the floor filming people and posters.

He seemed harmless, I approached him to ask what he was filming and requested he did not film our customers. His response floored me! He said he couldn't help it if people were in the periphery of his recordings, as he purposefully filmed them. He recorded me on his 'phone and Go-Pro as we conversed.

A manager talked with him and he told them 'Photography isn't Illegal and everything would be uploaded to his blog' SO.......... I was filmed - without my permission, am going to be uploaded to a public blog-without my permission and I feel very uncomfortable about it.

Photography of strangers may not be illegal in the UK, but isn't there a civility and morality that should protect individuals?

What do you think? (Please don't copy and paste the Street Photography guidleines found somewhere on this site!)
January 17th, 2019
I’m amazed that this sort of thing is allowed in this day & increasingly suspicious age Jackie. We have to be so careful about public areas, he could be filming for any dubious reason. Our privacy is so important to us so surely cameras must be banned in places like your workplace. I remember having to delete photos I had taken in Buckingham Palace & there are lots of places we aren’t allowed to take photos in so where do you draw the line? I think he was very rude & had no measure of when to cease being obtrusive, perhaps your workplace should look into this, I don’t blame you for feeling abused!
January 17th, 2019
As far as I know- if you told him you did not want your picture taken or posted on his blog then he is obligated to at least erase the portions which contain your image. His behavior is highly suspicious and if your workplace has security cameras it might be worth checking him out.
January 17th, 2019
in my view (non-expert) a public building may still be regarded as a private space. You do not go into a library (as a customer), for example, expecting to be photographed. You do not go into work in a library expecting to be photographed. The caveat here would be CCTV cameras - which should have appropriate signs to warn people. The 'owner' of those cameras will have obligations to use and keep the images under GDPR laws. In regard to this individual, you have not given him permission to store and use your image (which in regard to biometric date will make you identifiable), therefore he cannot use them on a public blog. Here are a couple of links: http://www.rps.org/special-interest-groups/contemporary/blogs/2018/february/gdpr-and-street-photography
https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/business/general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr-faqs-for-small-retailers/

Morally, of course, if you ask someone not to take your photo they shouldn't.

And I think your manager needs to seek clarification - for if your customers are identifiable, your organisation might be legally liable.

Can of worms!
January 17th, 2019
Most people would feel awkward to continue filming or photographing if someone belonging to a building or company has asked them not to. Clearly this didn't apply to the gentleman in question, who was affronted by the request. Intriguing area. Just found this on the police website:

"It is not illegal to take photographs or video footage in public places unless it is for criminal or terrorist purposes.

There will be places where you have access as a member of the public, but will have to ask permission or may be prevented altogether. These could include stately homes, museums, churches, shopping malls, railway stations and council / government buildings. You need to check the situation out on a case by case basis.

The taking of photographs of an individual without their consent is a civil matter. Taking a photo of a person where they can expect privacy (inside their home or garden) is likely to be a breach of privacy laws. The other issue to consider is what you plan to do with the photograph afterwards. If the picture is of an individual, perhaps as a portrait or character study, and you intend to publish it in any way (on the internet, in a book or at a gallery), it would be appropriate and may avoid unnecessary complications if you ask that person for permission, many media organisations are international and will not accept an identifiable photograph of a person without a signed release. If the photo could be seen as defamatory in some way then you would leave yourself open to civil proceedings."
January 17th, 2019
I could write a diatribe on this but I’m on my phone and haven’t the patience to thumb-type it all out... and I imagine I’ll have “moved on” by the time I get home to my puter... but a couple quick thoughts... one is that this seems to me more about harassment and civility than photogography... if he’d done all his filming unobstrusively you could still end up on it’s blog none the wiser... and second, in this day and age there’s a certain mindset that says if you don’t have a picture it didn’t happen - hence all the dash cams and body cams etc... I like the info @casablanca posted... which speaks more about how a photo will be used than the actual taking of it... but that doesn’t mean that it is right or appropriate for the individual in question to behave in the way he did...
January 17th, 2019
In the U.S. i think it would be ok legally unless ge makes money from the blog...in that case he is using the image for commercial reasons and would need a release. Again, not sure, but that's my understsnding of the law (with the exception of news media).
January 18th, 2019
Just plain rude, imho. What a freak.
January 18th, 2019
In the US, "public" is trumped by the rules of whoever owns the building/public space. For instance, most malls are public property but privately owned; a good many of them don't allow photos. (Several years ago a mall security guard informed me of this; quite embarrassing as I had no idea -- but upon checking when I got back home, I found him to be correct :) ).

You might want to check to see if the owners of your building have any rules about photography ...if not, maybe you could suggest that they post some.
January 18th, 2019
yes from my supermarket incident a while ago i learned that unless a premises where the public is invited in like a mall has signage to indicate they do not allow photography they cannot stop you, and then all they can do is ask you to leave. . so get signage if there isnt any. it is interesting though, we cannot prevent ourselves being photographed/filmed everyday on security cameras in the same premises! and we all love a good street photo. You should have asked for the details of his blog, to see how he used the footage.
January 18th, 2019
Things like this do not make the lives of the rest of photographers easy.
January 18th, 2019
@motorsports @kali66 @dsp2 @juliedduncan @granagringa @northy @olivetreeann @happypat

Gosh thank you all for taking my rant so seriously and sharing your experiences. My manager has refered this to the legal team and a protocol will be available (one year!) to enable us to deal with it. I do think the gentleman may have had health issues, and he was handles appropriately.

@casablanca Thank you for doing that research!

@anniesue Thank you so much, sent those links to my manager!!
January 18th, 2019
@30pics4jackiesdiamond

Jackie, I think from my own experiences that a library is not a public place in the same way as a street in town.

1. I took photos of pups in the vet waiting room, with the permission of their owner. But I was not allowed to use them until the vet herself had requested permission from the owner too: her duty of care to a client.

2. I asked the manager of the health club permission to take a shot of the pool and was told yes but no people in it (!).

3. I met a lady out with a hearing dog pup and asked for a photo and she agreed but asked me not to use the shot until she had checked with the organisation who then said no.

I think this 'photographer' was out of order - perhaps a sign would be a good idea.
January 18th, 2019
@quietpurplehaze it's the invasion of privacy that concerns me. His rights were more solid than mine, according to him. You showed courtesy in asking, he didn't. It probably won't happen again, but I was shocked by how aggrieved I felt!!
January 18th, 2019
@30pics4jackiesdiamond

I read in one of your comments that you thought this man could have health issues and that occurred to me too.

I think you were justified in feeling the way you did. Hard also to deal with an unexpected situation like that.
January 18th, 2019
Big bro is always watching. What is the difference between what he is doing and what the security cameras do? We seem to allow security cameras to capture our every move. And don’t get me started on drones flying over our yard.
January 19th, 2019
There are countries where it's legal to photograph people in a public place without their consent. Isn't there a civility and morality for people being photographed to not put themselves above the law? To not consider themselves special, expecting or demanding others to give up their rights?

I always check this before traveling to another country: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Country_specific_consent_requirements
January 19th, 2019
@fotoblah interestjng, thank you
@sugarmuser I won't!! One is security and not in my face, this was an invasion of my body space!! I loathe drones btw
January 19th, 2019
@30pics4jackiesdiamond Is your building truly 'public'? "Public" in terms of photography and filming does not include privately-owned spaces that the general public has access to. Public means space that is owned by the public (i.e. government) such as streets, public parks, etc). I ask because you mention "customers" coming and going. If the building you work in is owned by an individual, a company or corporation, then (at least in the US) you technically cannot photograph or film without consent of the owner of the property. If that's the case, you as an employee representing the company, have full right to request cessation of photography or filming. Again, this applies to the US...not 100% sure about UK, but I'd be surprised if it was much different. Bottom line, public access onto privately owned property, does not make it public space in terms of rights to photograph or film that property without consent. That's the reason why, as some noted above, that if you start pointing your DSLR around in a mall (which the public has access to), you may be approached by security and requested to cease taking photos. They have every right to do so. The first time it happened to me I foolishly tried to object on the grounds that "I was in public". Unfortunately I got schooled on the issue ("No sir, you might think you're in public, but you are standing on privately-owned property and the owner does not permit photography on this property") and subsequently confirmed it with attorneys. (Of course the fact that you can walk around all day taking pictures with your cellphone and they'll most likely never say a word is both frustrating, but a different rabbit hole.)
January 19th, 2019
@kali66 Interesting outcome on your experience. I had a similar experience, and my outcome (confirming with attorneys later) was that signage doesn't matter. Technically, if the property you're standing on is not public-owned property, then you have to have permission to photograph...signage or not. Now granted, it's something rarely enforced by owners of property; its typically related to how much of a 'perceived' distraction you're creating...or particularly if someone complains. But glad this came up because I think I'll double-check with my attorney now just to make sure I understood correctly.
January 19th, 2019
you should check his website to see if he posted your photo or the video with you in it. then you can post a comment requesting him to remove the post(s) as you do not consent to him using the on his website. if he resists, you can write to the actual owner of the website or the one maintaining that website and lodge the same request. if they won't comply, write a demand letter for compensation. that may work. if that doesn't, your recourse is to sue for a judge to order removal and compensation.
January 19th, 2019
@summerfield we cannot find it!! He refused to give a full web address and email. Thanks for advice!
@dbj_365 belongs to council so public in full sense of word
January 19th, 2019
@dbj_365 I am in New Zealand, so may be different
January 19th, 2019
@30pics4jackiesdiamond I think probably the most telling thing in the above incident is " I do think the gentleman may have had health issues,", although that doesn't excuse him it think it maybe explains his behaviour.

I doubt his blog has many followers or is of interest to anybody.

If he is shooting hours and hours of footage on a go pro and mobile then his content will most probably be long and boring.

You could always do a google and see what you find



February 14th, 2019
@phil_howcroft @kali66 @summerfield @dbj_365 @fotoblah @sugarmuser @quietpurplehaze @motorsports @juliedduncan @granagringa @happypat @northy @olivetreeann

Hello again. I thought you might appreciate an update??

The " gentleman" in question has uploaded what he recorded to YouTube. He has editted out many positive parts of the conversations, to make us look inappropriate and ill informed. The most offensive thing is the comments - very intrusive, personal and troll-like- his followers have written about our appearances, apparently to one I 'm a GRILF (!).

Our employers have asked us how we want them to respond. I've asked for it to be removed, my colleagues think it should stay, as then he 'wins'. I know what he filmed and uploaded is not illegal and the typers of the remarks are cowards, as they wouldn't speak those words to us, but it just feels wrong.
February 14th, 2019
@30pics4jackiesdiamond

If I were involved, I would want it removed - definitely. If it stays then, in my opinion, he wins and more people will put offensive comments. Ray is here and I have shared it with him and he agrees. What a very unpleasant experience and I feel for you, Jackie. It feels very wrong to me as well.

February 14th, 2019
write to youtube and make them responsible for taking it down
February 14th, 2019
I would have it removed too- and also agree with Vikki. Take your request to YouTube and have them take it down.
February 14th, 2019
now i want to see it ! hahaha just kidding
February 15th, 2019
Trolls will be trolls. He'll get his comeuppance eventually. :(
February 17th, 2019
You or your business really need to put up some signs saying that photography on the premises is not allowed without consent.

There are various places in London where photography is restricted even though the land is open to the public. The difference is that the owners of the buildings have agreed to allow the public right of way, but that does not include other things and the owners have a right to stop photography if they want. The security guards can be quite alert on these things especially if they see someone photographing their building. They do tend to go after those that have big DSLR cameras as opposed to those who they spot using a smartphone.

One evening a few years ago, I was approached by a security person because I had been spotted with my camera on a tripod (night photography). I explained politely I was doing a course assignment for the RPS and they radioed up to their office and I got approval. But they were within their right to ask me to stop.
February 17th, 2019
@followthatdreamphotography totally agree with you Michael, but the council will do it's own thing..........probably nothing. I have asked that the episode be turned into a positive by teaching and preparing others. Thank you for your input. Jackie
February 17th, 2019
@30pics4jackiesdiamond There is a " report abuse " link on all you tube videos, just click the three dots underneath the video (near to the thumbs up and down icons). I'd try that first
February 18th, 2019
@phil_howcroft thank you ;)
March 6th, 2019
I photograph most of the events at our community functions. I love getting the happy photos of people partying. BUT I am under strict obligation to NEVER post them to social media...only to our community HOA closed website and newsletter. Since I honor that, most people let me photograph freely. If anyone puts up a hand they don’t get photographed. And it seems that in all contexts children should not be photofgraphed without parental consent.
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