From tomorrow section 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 comes into force.
Under the law anybody taking a photograph of a current or former member of the police, armed service or security services can be prosecuted and/or fined. The act allows for police officers to remove the cameras of people taking photographs of them.
When I was at school, not too many years ago we were taught that cameras were forbidden in the Soviet Union and in East Germany. This, our liberal teacher told us was because cameras can be used to document offences of the state against civilians; as such, they were considered a tool that can bring about civil unrest and encourage protest against the Communist Governments. This particular teacher, sneered at this particular law and the system in which it helped preserve.
We take a big step further into Labour's totalitarian state tomorrow, as professional photographers can be arrested and detained for doing their jobs. Tourists taking pictures of the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace are liable for prosecution. Taking photos in the street, at sporting events, at weddings and during state proceedings could all lead to the possibility of prosecution.
Shamefully our two houses in Parliament have failed this country and its population miserably by allowing such a massive assault on our civil liberties to be enacted.
The National Union of Journalists and the British Press Photographers' Association have been warning about the potential impacts this law will have. The fact is Under section 76, eliciting, publishing or communicating information on members of the armed forces, intelligence services and police officers which is "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" will be an offence carrying a maximum jail term of 10 years.
The NUJ is arranging for photographers to gather outside New Scotland Yard tomorrow with photography of N.S.Y. and any nearby police officers starting at 11am, they are encouraging any one who is attending to bring their cameras. (Daniel1979 has work commitments tomorrow, but I will be happy to publish the account of anyone who does attend.)
Is this what you voted for? Do you feel safer?
In case you missed it before, here is a video clip I posted previously (from YouTube) of a PCSO trying to stop a person in the street taking photographs. From tomorrow, a PCSO will be allowed to have succeeded in this aim, and the man with the camera could have been prosecuted. There are plenty more videos on You Tube of the police trying to cease cameras or stop people taking pictures of them.