Stanislav_J writes: We’ve had stories in the past about the increasing intimidation and harassment of photographers in the post-9/11 era. But it seems like the practice is reaching absurd new levels in the U.K. Section 44 of the Terrorism Act of 2000 gives police the right to stop and search anyone within certain geographical areas without the usual requirement of reasonable suspicion. It was brought in as a counter-terrorism measure, but, increasingly, members of the general public are complaining that because of it they are being treated like potential terrorists on reconnaissance missions. Locals and tourists alike have been stopped, questioned, and even jailed in some cases after taking photos of such “sensitive” subjects as churches, a Christmas lights display, a fish and chips shop, even a park bench. The situation is even more ridiculous when you consider that many of these streets or buildings are already documented and available to anyone to search online, thanks to Google's Street View project. “This is pure officiousness,” says Austin Mitchell, MP for Grimsby. “Photography is a joy and a pleasure, not something to feel furtive and persecuted about. People have the right to take photographs and particularly of historic landmarks and buildings. [Yet] here we have [Police Community Support Officers] and also junior constables inhibiting people from taking them. It's nothing to do with terrorism, it's just a desire to throw weight around. If you pass legislation like [Section 44], you get silly consequences.”
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