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Harassed By DHS For Spotting Near TPA (first Ever)  
User currently offlineNASCARAirforce From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3178 posts, RR: 4
Posted (4 years 8 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 6140 times:

This morning I was spotting at Cypress Point Park as I have spotted there for nearly 3 years without any issues other than a Rent a Cop and a park maintenance guy asking me questions about what I was doing.

I was sitting amongst the palm trees and the open field east of the approach so I could get good light in the morning (despite there being a little bit of cloud cover at first). I saw a couple guys walking towards me that looked like a couple regular people. I figured they were coming to talk to me but I left my MP3 player and headphones on. They walked up to me so I took my headphones off. I thought at first they were a couple of "Captain Americas" or "freedom isn't free" types

One guy was wearing a black West Coast Choppers shirt and jeans and had a mullet and scruffy beard, the other guy was wearing a T shirt and jeans. The guy with the mullet pulls out an ID from his pocket and shows that it is from Department of Homeland Security. I saw Dept of Homeland Security on the ID, but I didn't see what else it said. By the way they were dressed they could have just been toilet cleaners at the DHS office there - no idea who they were.

They started getting really nosy, the guy with the mullet had a note pad and started writing stuff down

DHS: What are you taking pictures of?

Me: planes

DHS: Why?

Me: Its a hobby of mine

DHS: What do you do with the pictures?

Me. post them on websites

DHS: Your own?

Me: No, places like airport-data.com, myavation.net

DHS: Got an ID

I give him my ID

DHS: What is your date of birth?

Me: 1-5-75

DHS: You live in Orlando?

Me: Yes

DHS: You have been watching the news lately right?

Me: Yeah

DHS: You understand why we are talking to you right?

Me: No, I don't see how me taking pictures on the ground has anything to do with a guy lighting his pants on fire on a plane.

DHS: Well we are concerned about the pictures.

Me: I don't understand what that has to do with security.

DHS: You could be studying aircraft traffic patterns.

Me: I could find out all that online from my house. Also I work at Orlando Airport and have ramp access and customs access so I think I am safe.

DHS: Do you have your airport ID?

Me: Its in my car.

DHS: Where's your car?

Me: Parked in the lot over there.

(they never asked me to get the badge and in the meantime I am still snapping pictures of approaching aircraft)

DHS: If you live in Orlando, why are you out here?

Me: My girlfriend lives in Clearwater, and she is at work, it is my day off and I am hanging out here till she gets off work.

DHS: What is your girlfriend's name?

(now at this point I am getting pissed off and I am not going to get my girlfriend involved in this as this is irrelevent and only is between me and DHS - so I gave them a fake name - I figure I can lie since I am not under oath at this point.)

DHS: What is your girlfriend's date of birth?

Me: Sept 25, 1971

DHS: What is your girlfriend's address?

Me (lying again): I don't know the number, she lives in an Apartment in Dunedin.

DHS: How long have you been with her?

Me: 7 months

DHS: Where does she work?

Me: Sun Trust

DHS: Which one? In Dunedin (really she works in Clearwater)

DHS: (ask again) Are you familiar what has been happening in the news?

Me: (really annoyed but stayed calm, but got smart ass a bit) Yes, Someone in the Department of Homeland Security didn't put a suspected terrorist on a no fly list and we almost had 300 dead in Detroit if it wasn't for a heroic Dutch guy that stopped him.

Some how instead of pissing them off, they said "have a nice day" and left. Now these guys never told me I couldn't spot there and they were never rude. However they were a way too nosey. I can understand asking what I do, but asking about my girlfriend was none of their business and they don't need to be calling her and putting her under more stress as she has been stressed out lately.

Since the guys walked off without anything else. I got suspicious I might see cops or more official looking DHS agents coming so I felt it best to leave right then and there and went to get a bite to eat. After I left I thought that it made me look guilty that I left right after then. After I ate, I went back to the park and no one bothered me the rest of the day out there.

40 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineNIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (4 years 8 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 6128 times:

It's happening all over. Nornal after a terrorist attack or thrwarted terrorist attack. Unfortunately the second that first plane hit the WTC spotting was changed forever and this is going to be a constant.

User currently offlineJetBlast From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 1231 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (4 years 8 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6104 times:



Quoting NASCARAirforce (Thread starter):
One guy was wearing a black West Coast Choppers shirt and jeans and had a mullet and scruffy beard, the other guy was wearing a T shirt and jeans. The guy with the mullet pulls out an ID from his pocket and shows that it is from Department of Homeland Security. I saw Dept of Homeland Security on the ID, but I didn't see what else it said. By the way they were dressed they could have just been toilet cleaners at the DHS office there - no idea who they were.

You should have asked to see both IDs clear enough that you could read them. Toilet cleaners have no reason to be questioning you.



Speedbird Concorde One
User currently offlineNASCARAirforce From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3178 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (4 years 8 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6103 times:



Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 1):
It's happening all over. Nornal after a terrorist attack or thrwarted terrorist attack. Unfortunately the second that first plane hit the WTC spotting was changed forever and this is going to be a constant.

I understand them asking questions about my camera - as typical ignorance that runs through the DHS and the Git Er Dun/Captain America types out there they connect people taking pictures of planes with terrorism. These people do not understand the hobby of it just like I don't understand the hobby of the Git Er Dun types of hunting non edible game - ie wolves, bear etc.

I know its their job because me sitting outside taking pictures of planes looks suspicious to them. However I put myself out there in the open, I'm not hiding behind bushes or shooting through tinted windows of my car etc - I was sitting in the middle of a field in a friggen lawn chair.

What pissed me off the most was the questions they were asking about my girlfriend, who wasn't on the scene. They were asking her address, date of birth like they were going to look her up on their records and call her to ask questions about my character or something. I don't need to put her through this shit since she has been stressed lately about different things. That is why I gave the DHS guys false info about her - I gave them her nickname for a first name - which is Eva but not her full name, gave them my ex girlfriend's last name, pretended to not know the address, and gave false work place info...

Again I didn't know who these guys were. One guy had an ID that said "Department of Homeland Security" on it, but he didn't hold it out long enough for me to read the whole thing - for all I know they were just receptionists that worked there or janitors. They definetly weren't dressed "official". Those that know me on here and have spotted with me know I wear jeans and T shirts with heavy metal bands on them. These guys weren't dressed anymore professional than me. When they approached I thought the dude with the mullet was going to be a Git Er Dun type and when they said they were with DHS it thru me for a loop - maybe they were undercover, who knows

This DTW incident was clearly a failure with the DHS for this guy being allowed to fly. The American citizen pays for the DHS's mistakes. I still don't think that the DHS has made us any safer since 9/11. Richard Reid and this guy at DTW were NOT stopped by the DHS, they were stopped by the average passenger that stepped up and was a hero. Its the government's fault that Richard Reid and the guy on the AMS-DTW flight were allowed to fly to the US with their terrorist connections.

This kneejerk reaction happens all the time when a branch of the DHS screws up - for example a few weeks back a TSA agent at MCO wasn't checking badges right and a Delta employee with an expired badge got through. With everything being reactionary the TSA immediately made it so that all MCO employees going thru the checkpoints have to carry 2 forms of ID - with no written letters to the management of the various companies, vendors, GOAA etc until employees were not being let through at the checkpoints because they left their second ID in their lockers landside, in their cars etc.


User currently offlineNASCARAirforce From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3178 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (4 years 8 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6101 times:



Quoting JetBlast (Reply 2):
You should have asked to see both IDs clear enough that you could read them. Toilet cleaners have no reason to be questioning you.

Yeah hindsight is always 20/20. I was a little bit intimidated at first when I saw the DHS ID because the way the Patriot Act is written I could be in Gitmo right now. I was smart enough not to answer any irrelevant questions ie about my girlfriend etc directly and finally at the end I grew some balls and told the guys it was DHS that dropped the ball at Detroit.


User currently offlineIamlucky13 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 242 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 8 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6081 times:



Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 3):
What pissed me off the most was the questions they were asking about my girlfriend, who wasn't on the scene. They were asking her address, date of birth like they were going to look her up on their records and call her to ask questions about my character or something. I don't need to put her through this shit since she has been stressed lately about different things. That is why I gave the DHS guys false info about her - I gave them her nickname for a first name - which is Eva but not her full name, gave them my ex girlfriend's last name, pretended to not know the address, and gave false work place info...

Don't lie to law enforcement officers. If they miraculously found some reason to arrest you, they could argue you were obstructing an investigation, and that charge might stick even if the arrest charge didn't. However, don't give them irrelevant information, either, especially when it really is none of their business, like absolutely anything related to your girlfriend. They can ask, but you have no obligation to answer. Actually, you don't have to answer any question, except in some circumstances your name. Answering questions despite your fifth amendment rights is a courtesy to the officers to help them do their job, although doing so will probably help allay whatever suspicions they may have.

I always advocate being civil and cooperative with law enforcement as long as they reciprocate the courtesy, and I'd happily tell them about my hobby spotting aircraft. I don't remember under what conditions a person is required to provide identification in the US, so I'd probably do that too, even though I'm pretty sure I don't have to. Beyond that, "I appreciate that people are concerned about security around airports, but I'm doing nothing more than practicing my photography hobby and enjoying watching the planes take off."


User currently offlineDazbo5 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 2910 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (4 years 8 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 6041 times:



Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 3):
What pissed me off the most was the questions they were asking about my girlfriend, who wasn't on the scene.

They had no right to ask you about her or her particulars and you should have refused to give them anything other than her name. They are only doing their job however. I've had a couple of similar experiences, one of which ended with my car registration being put on a watch list so I got stopped when passing an ANPR equiped traffic car (because I was parked at an airport!). It is for security and I can understand where they are coming from, but it's over the top at times. If you're civilised to them, they're gnerally civilsed to you and both can go on your merry way.

Darren



Equipment: 2x Canon EOS 50D; Sigma 10-20 EX DC HSM, 50-500 EX APO DG, Canon 24-105 f/4 L, Speedlite 430EX
User currently offlineGPHOTO From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 829 posts, RR: 25
Reply 7, posted (4 years 8 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 6017 times:
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Quoting NASCARAirforce (Thread starter):
However they were a way too nosey.

Don't worry too much, hopefully it's nothing personal.

Continual question asking is a common tactic in such situations. They need to time to assess you, your responses, how nervous you get and so on. They are not actually likely to be interested in the answers themselves, but how you respond to the situation.

If your responses are quick, consistant and seem reasonable, this tends to indicate honesty and a citizen just going about your business. If your responses are delayed, seem jumbled or unreasonable, then that might indicate something is being hidden and needs to be taken further. It's not infallible, but someone 'up to no good' will sometimes give away clues during such questioning unless they are a cool customer. I'm sure they were just routinely checking you out, especially after recent events.

As Darren says, best to cooperate and let them do what they need to. They quickly seemed satisfied that you were no threat and moved on. It's not a very nice experience for the law-abiding citizen for all that, but if you make the best of the situation, it is more likely to have a favourable outcome for you.

Best regards,

Jim



Erm, is this thing on?
User currently offlineDvincent From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1743 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (4 years 8 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5980 times:
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Quoting GPHOTO (Reply 7):
If your responses are quick, consistant and seem reasonable, this tends to indicate honesty and a citizen just going about your business. If your responses are delayed, seem jumbled or unreasonable, then that might indicate something is being hidden and needs to be taken further. It's not infallible, but someone 'up to no good' will sometimes give away clues during such questioning unless they are a cool customer. I'm sure they were just routinely checking you out, especially after recent events.

The average law abiding citizen can be spooked quite easily when they are put on the spot even though they are breaking no laws. Going fishing and intimidating people doesn't equate to law enforcement in my book,



From the Mind of Minolta
User currently offlineNIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (4 years 8 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5975 times:



Quoting GPHOTO (Reply 7):
hopefully it's nothing personal.

How could it be anything personal? They have never met each other.


User currently offlineNASCARAirforce From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3178 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (4 years 8 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5971 times:



Quoting Iamlucky13 (Reply 5):
They can ask, but you have no obligation to answer. Actually, you don't have to answer any question, except in some circumstances your name. Answering questions despite your fifth amendment rights is a courtesy to the officers to help them do their job, although doing so will probably help allay whatever suspicions they may have.

I answered the questions they had so they would hopefully soon leave me alone. I don't remember how long they were there. It felt like 20 minutes but it probably was 5-10 at the most. Again I was suspicious of them because I thought that they would look more "official" than black t-shirt and jeans outfit, and one of the guys having a mullet and scruffy face.

I didn't want to plead the fifth because they could then suspect me of something and call in someone who had the power to arrest me and I could be sitting in a court house right now or worse - because I do not trust what is written in the Patriot Act - it has all kinds of stuff written into that throw our Bill of Rights out the window.

I think what shocked me the most was that it happened by TPA, which is one of the more spotter friendly airports as I never had problems there and most people don't have problems there - so I wasn't prepared for it. MCO on the other hand I can expect this kind of grilling but I always wear my MCO badge when I spot on MCO property to show them I do have ramp access.

Quoting Iamlucky13 (Reply 5):
I always advocate being civil and cooperative with law enforcement as long as they reciprocate the courtesy, and I'd happily tell them about my hobby spotting aircraft. I don't remember under what conditions a person is required to provide identification in the US, so I'd probably do that too, even though I'm pretty sure I don't have to.

I told them about the websites I post at - they can look them up and see my name and pictures of planes, but I didn't talk to them about my hobby. I was trying to get rid of these guys not keep them around. I showed them my ID so even if they wanted to run it when they got back to the office they wouldn't see anything on it. As long as they didn't ask my SS number - which I would have conveniently forgot the number at that point - I already been the victim of identity theft - that guy with the mullet could have had a fake DHS ID as far as I know - it just said Dept of Homeland Security on the ID in blue - it wasn't the emblem that you see on the TSA uniforms.

Quoting GPHOTO (Reply 7):
Continual question asking is a common tactic in such situations. They need to time to assess you, your responses, how nervous you get and so on. They are not actually likely to be interested in the answers themselves, but how you respond to the situation.

Yeah that's why I think that these guys were more than janitors even though they looked like it. They didn't ask a lot of yes/no questions, if they did they quickly followed it up with an open ended question. - ie DHS- "do you have your airport ID with you?" me - "es" DHS - "where is it?" me - "in my car"

I can't remember if the other guy there even talked as it seemed to be the mullet guy was asking all the questions.

Quoting GPHOTO (Reply 7):
It's not infallible, but someone 'up to no good' will sometimes give away clues during such questioning unless they are a cool customer.

As I said earlier since I never had a problem at TPA spotting before and it caught me off guard so I was a little nervous - my eyes were kind of darting around between them and looking around - but I was able to answer their questions without hesitation, although some of my answers to them seemed to contradict - or else they were trying to catch me off guard (I forgot what the questions were and I left them out of the dialogue above. I was even able to quickly answer questions about my girlfriend somehow miraculously throwing in my ex's last name without hesitation.


User currently offlineSaintex From Canada, joined Apr 2009, 176 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (4 years 8 months 4 days ago) and read 5912 times:



Quoting Dazbo5 (Reply 6):
They had no right to ask you about her or her particulars and you should have refused to give them anything other than her name.

Not even that. As GPHOTO says they are not really interested in the answers you give, just the manner in which you give them. All part of this Lie To Me microexpression crap which is supposed to indicate when someone is lying. It doesn't, particularly if that someone is a pathological terrorist.


User currently offlineIamlucky13 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 242 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 8 months 4 days ago) and read 5896 times:

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 10):
I didn't want to plead the fifth because they could then suspect me of something and call in someone who had the power to arrest me and I could be sitting in a court house right now or worse

I agree. I wouldn't mention anything about the fifth amendment, first of all because phrasing it that way would make them suspicious, and secondly, because you really hadn't done anything incriminating, so it's somewhat irrelevant to point out that you have a right not to talk. Just a simple, "I'm sorry, but I don't know you guys so I'm really not comfortable talking about my personal life like this." If they persist, I might get a little more forceful: "Look, you said you were interested in what I was doing with the pictures. My relationship has nothing to do with that, and frankly your persistence about it is a little creepy."

That's not acting suspicious. It's expressing your discomfort.

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 10):
I showed them my ID so even if they wanted to run it when they got back to the office they wouldn't see anything on it. As long as they didn't ask my SS number - which I would have conveniently forgot the number at that point

The ID is fine. I don't like supporting the expectation that people should show an ID for any arbitrary reason...that kind of thinking will eventually lead to a law requiring as much, which is effectively requiring permission from the government to simply be, but you should use discretion when taking a stand on that point.

DO NOT ever give your social security number to anyone for purposes unrelated to taxes (and in some states, issuing a driver's license): accountant, employer, appropriate tax or social benefit officials and maybe banks. There would have been no reason whatsoever for them to ask it, and it would be illegal for them to demand it of you (cops are not tax officials). Federal law requires anyone even asking for a social security number to cite upon request the authority for making the request, how it will be used, whether giving it is mandatory, and what the consequences will be if you refuse (for example, your bank's subscriber agreement may consent to using it for purposes related to your account and require some form of ID if you don't provide it). Despite very foolish and widespread attempts to correlate it to ID's that have contributed in part to the current ID theft prevalence, the law is pretty explicit that use of the SSN is controlled.

[Edited 2009-12-29 11:04:04 by iamlucky13]

[Edited 2009-12-29 11:05:07 by iamlucky13]

User currently offlineCvervais From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 610 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (4 years 8 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5824 times:

Is there somewhere on the DHS site where it shows what a DHS ID card should look like? Anyone can make a official looking ID card these days.

User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (4 years 8 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5815 times:

I've mixed views about what's being said here but those replying from the UK are in a different situation as we here have (for the moment) less enforceable anti-photography laws than you lot in the US. In fact a police chief in London recently demanded that forces across the country give photographers less grief - although with the latest hostility in Detroit this will perhaps become more sensitive and subjective.

I can't comment on your side of 'The Pond' but here it is illegal for an officer to request your name/ID unless he has reasonable enough suspicion that you are engaging in terrorist activities. Quite what his superior would have to say about the partner questions had it happened here who knows, but I'm guessing a good dressing-down! On the flip side, if you've nothing to hide I don't see the harm in voluntarily offering your name; as I normally do unless spoken to like an idiot (which unfortunately does happen).

Things are volatile. Do your bit; keep the peace. If no-one's stopping your activities or being rude it never hurts to be co-operative. We all know how politically correct the authorities have to appear and hence anyone not fitting the terrorist description (for whatever reasons) or being blatantly obvious about their activities has to be questioned too. Ridiculous really when they spend far too much time with people who obviously aren't up to no good - makes it all the much easier for those who want to harm the public to slip the net.

Karl


User currently offlineJohnJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1657 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (4 years 8 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5803 times:



Quoting JakTrax (Reply 14):
I've mixed views about what's being said here but those replying from the UK are in a different situation as we here have (for the moment) less enforceable anti-photography laws than you lot in the US.

Which anti-photography laws would those be that we have in the U.S.? A few transit agencies and Amtrak have forbidden photography on their property; if you're in a public park or other public place you can take pictures of anything you wish in the United States.


User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 16, posted (4 years 8 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5792 times:

John,

Maybe I should have been clearer. The whole issue with having to show ID when requested I think is different here - we certainly are under no obligation when asked by officialdom so long as we're not doing anything blatantly illegal.

Many photog's I've spoken to recently say you get a harder time in the US by the 'jobsworths', who I believe can be so pushy it almost 'becomes law'. I've been lead to believe that anti-terror laws there are more open to misuse by the authorities, although of late we've been seeing it here too.

I know of a friend of mine who was bundled into a jeep and taken for a ride just for standing on a car-park at a US airport looking at 'planes. He was of course released but official behaviour like that here would I'm sure result in serious consequences of law abuse.

I'm no expert on US law by the way - I can only go on what I've heard. I'd be willing to bet I'd face less hassle doing my hobby at the average UK airport than at one in the US.

Karl


User currently offlineNASCARAirforce From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3178 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (4 years 8 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 5783 times:



Quoting Iamlucky13 (Reply 12):
The ID is fine. I don't like supporting the expectation that people should show an ID for any arbitrary reason...that kind of thinking will eventually lead to a law requiring as much, which is effectively requiring permission from the government to simply be, but you should use discretion when taking a stand on that point.

I agree with you. I am very Libertarian in my views and don't support any kind of national ID etc. We are on a slippery slope - every time something like this happens - the average sheep supports more freedoms taken away from us just for some temporary security. I believe we are already living in somewhat of a Police State.

They just looked at the ID for a couple seconds but they didn't write down anything on the license

Quoting Iamlucky13 (Reply 12):
DO NOT ever give your social security number to anyone for purposes unrelated to taxes (and in some states, issuing a driver's license): accountant, employer, appropriate tax or social benefit officials and maybe banks. There would have been no reason whatsoever for them to ask it, and it would be illegal for them to demand it of you (cops are not tax officials). Federal law requires anyone even asking for a social security number to cite upon request the authority for making the request, how it will be used, whether giving it is mandatory, and what the consequences will be if you refuse (for example, your bank's subscriber agreement may consent to using it for purposes related to your account and require some form of ID if you don't provide it). Despite very foolish and widespread attempts to correlate it to ID's that have contributed in part to the current ID theft prevalence, the law is pretty explicit that use of the SSN is controlled.

well yeah I was born at night, but not last night. They would not gotten an SSN out of me no matter how many times that they asked because there is no reason for them to get it.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 14):
I can't comment on your side of 'The Pond' but here it is illegal for an officer to request your name/ID unless he has reasonable enough suspicion that you are engaging in terrorist activities.

An officer can ask for your ID for anything here - all the time for any traffic violations. You can just be walking down the street at a certain time of the night and a cop can come up checking IDs

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 14):
Ridiculous really when they spend far too much time with people who obviously aren't up to no good - makes it all the much easier for those who want to harm the public to slip the net.

If DHS spent less time going after spotters and would have spent more time reviewing their various watch lists and stuff - this Mullalad guy would not have gotten on that NW A330

Quoting JohnJ (Reply 15):
Which anti-photography laws would those be that we have in the U.S.?

Go to half of the US Airports and pull out a 200-400 mm lense and see how long it takes before a cop, security or operations official asks you to leave, tries to trespass you, or checks your ID.

I have heard of people taking pictures of bridges like the Golden Gate, Brooklyn etc and get questioned by cops etc.

Quoting JakTrax (Reply 16):
I'm no expert on US law by the way - I can only go on what I've heard. I'd be willing to bet I'd face less hassle doing my hobby at the average UK airport than at one in the US.

Depends what airport. I have never had problems at airports with designated spotting areas - like BNA, CVG, DFW. Really the only airprot that I have had problems with is my hometown airport MCO where the police are like the Gestapo, and this is the first time I had problems at a park near TPA because there is a DHS office right by it. I haven't had too much problems up at DTW, but I am sure that will change now.


User currently offlineNicolasRubio From Argentina, joined Sep 2005, 584 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (4 years 8 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5773 times:

I am going to Disney World and Miami Beach for two weeks in January. I was planning on spotting one day at MIA and another day at MCO... but this scares the hell out of me! Although I have a US VISA valid through 2018, I am still a 20-year-old-Argentinean guy taking pictures of airplanes... which in American would mean "potential terrorist and Al Qaeda leader".


Gripped 7D + Sigma 10-20mm + 17-40L + 50mm f/1.8 II + 70-200mm f/4L IS + EF 400mm f/5.6L + 580EX II
User currently offlineJohnJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1657 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (4 years 8 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5768 times:



Quoting JakTrax (Reply 16):
Many photog's I've spoken to recently say you get a harder time in the US by the 'jobsworths', who I believe can be so pushy it almost 'becomes law'. I've been lead to believe that anti-terror laws there are more open to misuse by the authorities, although of late we've been seeing it here too.

Misuse of authority by the police doesn't make it law. The fact is, on public property in the United States you can take a picture of anything you like. That doesn't mean that you won't be taken to task for taking the picture, but it won't hold water in a court of law.

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 17):
An officer can ask for your ID for anything here - all the time for any traffic violations. You can just be walking down the street at a certain time of the night and a cop can come up checking IDs

There is no law in the United States requiring you to carry identification - unless you are in a car. A police officer can certainly ask you for ID, but you're under no obligation to provide it unless, again, you're in a car. However, if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that you've committed or are about to commit a crime, in many states you are required to identify yourself verbally, but don't have to give any other information.

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 17):
Go to half of the US Airports and pull out a 200-400 mm lense and see how long it takes before a cop, security or operations official asks you to leave, tries to trespass you, or checks your ID.

An airport is not public property. Cypress Point Park, however, is and you had every right to be there and take all the pictures you wanted. I've been there; it's a great place to watch planes, and it's a public park.

All this said, if these guys really were from the DHS and not a couple of yahoos on a power trip, answering some of the questions relating to you was probably a good idea. I absolutely would not have provided ANY information regarding my wife or girlfriend.


User currently offlineNASCARAirforce From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3178 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (4 years 8 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 5708 times:



Quoting NicolasRubio (Reply 18):
I am going to Disney World and Miami Beach for two weeks in January. I was planning on spotting one day at MIA and another day at MCO... but this scares the hell out of me! Although I have a US VISA valid through 2018, I am still a 20-year-old-Argentinean guy taking pictures of airplanes... which in American would mean "potential terrorist and Al Qaeda leader".

MIA actually has some spotting areas set up like with holes in the fences - so its pretty spotter friendly. Don't waste your time at MCO - due to the security issues, the European heavies are now arriving after dark and unless you just want to see Southwest, Air Tran, Jet Blue Southwest Southwest its not that great. Worst yet, MCO is the most unfriendly to spotters probably in the U.S. I guarantee if you spend more than 10 minutes on the property you will have cops or security coming up to you and possibly a big group of them. It's not worth the hassle.

Quoting JohnJ (Reply 19):
There is no law in the United States requiring you to carry identification - unless you are in a car. A police officer can certainly ask you for ID, but you're under no obligation to provide it unless, again, you're in a car. However, if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that you've committed or are about to commit a crime, in many states you are required to identify yourself verbally, but don't have to give any other information.

Just wait, they will use an event like this to push for National IDs - there has been talk since 9/11, possibly before for us to carry National IDs - hopefully enough people will fight it.

Quoting JohnJ (Reply 19):
All this said, if these guys really were from the DHS and not a couple of yahoos on a power trip, answering some of the questions relating to you was probably a good idea. I absolutely would not have provided ANY information regarding my wife or girlfriend.

Again I didn't want to start reciting the Constitution around the DHS. The Department of Homeland Security as far as I am concerned is a modern day Gestapo under the guise of "trying to protect us". It may have the little cutesy name and I hate to sound like a foil hat but I think there are some ulterior motives besides security for setting this department up.

I felt the best thing to do was smile and nod and "pretend" to cooperate with them - give them any name for my girlfriend... maybe I should have said Salma Hayek or Monica Bellucci, but I probably would have been arrested then. I combined my girlfriend's first name (which infact is her nickname) with my ex's last name - both of which are Spanish names, so it sounded realistic. I knew as soon as I mentioned I come out here while my girlfriend is at work on my days off they would start asking questions about her so i prepared myself to give a fake name thinking ahead so I could answer quick. That seemed to appease them and I got rid of them shortly after.

I didn't want to do anything ballsy like recite the constitution because as far as I know under the Patriot Act the Bill Of Rights is null and void and these guys could have pulled out the Patriot Act for this. Again, another cutesy name like the Patriot Act is supposed to make the sheep feel safe and like its a Patriotic thing to do, but if any of our founding fathers saw the Patriot Act they would start another revolution. Refusing to give them info I figured would keep them around longer.

If they are going to fact check my girlfriend's name and come back after me for that, then we really have a serious problem in this country.


User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 21, posted (4 years 8 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 5701 times:



Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 17):
Go to half of the US Airports and pull out a 200-400 mm lense and see how long it takes before a cop, security or operations official asks you to leave, tries to trespass you, or checks your ID

Precisely my point. Doesn't matter what the actual law says when these guys go on a power-hungry rampage. If they want rid of you, they'll find a way. It's irrelevant whether it stands up in a court of law or not - I still had my day's photography ruined by some arsehole who didn't have proper authority!

From what I can gather the difference here is that, most of the time, officials go away if you politely educate them about what the law actually says.

Karl


User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 22, posted (4 years 8 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 5698 times:

Another thing (slightly off-topic) is that - if I recall rightly - no recent terror activity has been carried out or attempted by using open air, public place photography as reconnaissance. Why bother photog's when clearly this 'method' of terrorism organisation is seldom used?

Karl


User currently offline727LOVER From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 6422 posts, RR: 17
Reply 23, posted (4 years 8 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 5690 times:



Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 3):
and a Delta employee with an expired badge got through

Lives in Omaha???

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 10):
I think what shocked me the most was that it happened by TPA, which is one of the more spotter friendly airports as I never had problems there and most people don't have problems there - so I wasn't prepared for it. MCO on the other hand I can expect this kind of grilling but I always wear my MCO badge when I spot on MCO property to show them I do have ramp access.

Yeah, but remember, you weren't on TPA property.

Quoting NicolasRubio (Reply 18):
I am going to Disney World and Miami Beach for two weeks in January. I was planning on spotting one day at MIA and another day at MCO... but this scares the hell out of me! Although I have a US VISA valid through 2018, I am still a 20-year-old-Argentinean guy taking pictures of airplanes... which in American would mean "potential terrorist and Al Qaeda leader".



Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 20):
Don't waste your time at MCO - due to the security issues, the European heavies are now arriving after dark and unless you just want to see Southwest, Air Tran, Jet Blue Southwest Southwest its not that great

Dude, he's from Argentina. Southwest, Airran, Jetblue are probably like Singapore, Qantas & Malev to us. But yes, MIA & FLL he should be fine.



Listen Betty, don't start up with your 'White Zone' s*** again.
User currently offlineSaintex From Canada, joined Apr 2009, 176 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (4 years 8 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 5667 times:



Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 20):
maybe I should have said Salma Hayek or Monica Bellucci, but I probably would have been arrested then.

Depending on what their actual positions "with the DHS" were, they may not have powers of arrest and/or detention. They could certainly call the local PD and try to get them to do so.

I suspect they were just a couple of low-level agents(sic) with nothing better to do.


25 NASCARAirforce : If anything its a deterent to terrorists. Terrorists see guys with cameras, they are less likely to attempt something sneaky. I don't get it Yeah I w
26 Speedracer189 : Did you get any pics of these people.[Edited 2009-12-30 20:31:29 by speedracer189]
27 Sluger020889 : Ozell is referencing Justin Idle, the King of Kissimme, the Order of Orlando, and so on and so forth, the legend goes by many names, Sir being the on
28 Iamlucky13 : Correct, or nearly so. Yes, an officer can ask for an ID, and also correct you generally you have no obligation to provide it. From some research rel
29 NASCARAirforce : He's the King of All Over the Place I guess - lives in Omaha, King of Kissimmee, saw also that he is a member of the NYC Spotters group. Didn't he go
30 NASCARAirforce : Ozell I was hoping to run into you that day out there - I thought maybe you would have come up to get the Ryan 767. Probably good thing you didn't -
31 Post contains links and images 2H4 : I've often thought about renting a 152 and hopping over to certain airports for the sole purpose of getting on the other side of the fence. Case in po
32 727LOVER : I did. I was on the 8th floor of short term and photographed it as it was passing the hotel. I'm trying to figure out WHY they were there. Someone ca
33 NASCARAirforce : Go to Thunder Over Michigan Airshow and the park is open to walk around in since that is where they have the show. During Thunder Over Michigan I sto
34 2H4 : That's not my shot. I just grabbed it from Bing maps "Bird's-Eye View". Yes, on two separate occasions. What surprised me was how quickly they approa
35 NASCARAirforce : This was at the static park? I am thinking maybe the cops were more concerned about vandalism to the planes rather than a security issue. The only ti
36 2H4 : Right by the static park, yes. I never even had a chance to get out of my car. I parked, and within a couple of minutes, Officer America rolled up an
37 NASCARAirforce : I'm thinking there might have more been a problem with people climbing the fence and vandalizing the planes. From what I recall though, there isn't a
38 GOCAPS16 : HAHA!!! Didn't he get fired from Comair recently and now parking rental cars at Avis?
39 NASCARAirforce : I doubt he got fired recently from Comair - more likely laid off if he worked at MCO because the Comair operation at MCO been dead for a year. My bos
40 DLX737200 : Thank you but I never went to Riddle. I go to the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Thanks a lot Kev! I didn't get fired. My entire station was laid o
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