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Penalties For Photography At Airports  
User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6199 posts, RR: 12
Posted (11 years 7 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5761 times:

Okay, I know taking photography at airports is not illegal, but people seem to still be harrassed for spotting or taking photographs in and near airports. My question is, what is the most they can nab you with if they wanted to get you in trouble for taking photos? Treaspassing? Disorderly conduct? Loitering? Disobeying a police officer? Heck, what if someone went right up to a security checkpoint and started snapping away at the xray machines and screeners in violation of posted signs? What's the penalty for that?


Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
35 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePRM From Ghana, joined Apr 2002, 348 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (11 years 7 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 5698 times:

In many countries it IS illegal to photograph at airports - especially in the Middle East.....so if caught the worst you can get is a charge of Espionage......not good.

So I assume you mean US airports, or at least US & "Western"? Certainly wouldn't think of snapping away inside the airport in such places.....


User currently offlineCkw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 713 posts, RR: 16
Reply 2, posted (11 years 7 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 5661 times:

Well I'm not sure about the US, but there are all kinds of "special" rules which apply when terrorism (or suspicion of it) comes into to play - for a start you can forget about all those "rights" you may think you have. Certainly in the UK they can throw you in a cell for 48 hours without making any charges.

Some years ago - at YUL - I was waiting to go through security. The guy in front set off the scanner alarm and said, "Oh that's just my gun" - obviously joking. Immediatly two RCMP officers appeared and escorted off somewhere despite his frantic "I was only joking!". Don't know what happened to him, but he wasn't on the flight.

Anyway, bottom line is I don't know what they can do to you - but I'm sure they can make your life miserable for at least a short while. Confiscation of film/equipment would be a real risk. I don't feel inclined to engage in any experimentation. I just obey the rules and do what I'm told.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6199 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (11 years 7 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 5599 times:

okay; I'm specifically talking about the U.S.


Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (11 years 7 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 5590 times:

First you have to break off between actions that are legal and those that are not legal.

If the action is illegal it will depend on if the crime is a felony or midsdemeanor. Making a JOKE about a bomb at a security check point is a federal felony. I would have to do some research, but if I remember correctly it is a 5 years/$10,000 fine. (feds are big on 5/10 stuff!) Of course that is the max penalty.

Now if you are taking photos in a place where you have a legal right to be and you are physically arrested someone is going to have to be very creative with what you are charged with. In California they could try for 148 P.C., Interfering with a Public Official. (police, fire etc...). If you were doing something legal, and were in a public place, you would have one hell of a civil suit open to you.

What it comes down to is play by the rules and you won't have a problem. And if you do follow the rules and soemthing happens you should consider legal action. (By "something happens" it has to be more than the police coming up to you and talking to you, taking down your name etc...If you are told to leave I would file a complaint with the appropriate agency. You have a legal right to be there as long as you are not invovled in criminal activity. Ask to speak to a supervisor right then and there or just do it and write a letter to the Chief's office or you city council people. It is a bit harder with private security guards, who tend to be the rather over zelous ones. But if you are PHYSICALLY ARRESTED you need to get legal help.)

I hope that all made sense. I find it funny that in the past year I have taken a few thousand photos at airports all over the Southwest U.S., at CDG, LHR and LGW, and have been talked to by the police ONCE. (And that was about 3 weeks after 9/11 when people were REALLY paranoid.) I was also contacted once at Sacramento by Airport Ops staff. No big deal.

Cheers T.


User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6199 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (11 years 7 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 5573 times:

2912n,

Thank you for your well-written response. Now I'm sure this varies by state, but is it a crime to refuse to leave when ordered by a security guard (or police officer for that matter) even if I'm able to prove I'm not breaking any law?



Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (11 years 7 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 5564 times:

"is it a crime to refuse to leave when ordered by a security guard (or police officer for that matter) even if I'm able to prove I'm not breaking any law?"

That is going to depend on where you are. If you are on private property then you can be asked to leave. (It gets into a grey area...If the private property is open to the public you may have the same rights as if you were on a public street.)

If you are in a public place, where the general public has a right to be, you can be there and engage in any activity which is not otherwise illegal. Thats why no one could get rid of the Hare Krishnas at the airports, or now it seems to be the guys who collect signatures for petitions outside of the grocery store....

My advice would be this...If you are asked to leave by the police cooperate. But ask to speak to a supervisor and/or file a written complaint with the police department and city government.


User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6199 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (11 years 7 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 5537 times:

If the private property is open to the public you may have the same rights as if you were on a public street.

By the way, I was told by a commissioned police officer to leave a PUBLIC street outside any restricted areas off the approach end of an airport runway where I was spotting.



Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offlineAA 777 From United States of America, joined May 2002, 807 posts, RR: 13
Reply 8, posted (11 years 7 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 5527 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

The most I've ever gotten at JFK was the "You cant take pictures, you must leave" speach by the Rent-a-cops

Like that will stop me

AA 777
Matt



CRJ-700 FO
User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (11 years 7 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 5531 times:

You will have to research and see if there is any restriction on being there. I know that at one of our local military fields there is a public road that runs along the approach end of the runways. Great place to stop and look, but it often created hazards, so it is now posted, "NO STOPPING NO PARKING NO LOITERING" You may have the same issue.

On the other hand....

The police are flooded with warnings about potential threats to high profile targets. Then they are called by every tom, dick and harry who sees something they think is suspicious. They HAVE to check these things out. They get enough calls about someone hanging out taking photos by the airport, they get tired of the hassle and just tell people to leave. Not neccessarily the right way, but the easy way to deal with an issue. (The time will come when they blow off some tip and something happens. Guess who gets hung? For example, "Hey, we have a bunch of Arabs taking flight instruction here in the U.S. Wonder if someone should look into that?" "Nahhh, its no threat. It would violate their civil rights if we investigated." Someone got bit in the ass. Hang something like that over peoples heads and they will err on the side of caution.



User currently offlineSkymonster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (11 years 7 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 5506 times:

I know that at one of our local military fields there is a public road that runs along the approach end of the runways. Great place to stop and look, but it often created hazards, so it is now posted, "NO STOPPING NO PARKING NO LOITERING"

If that's the same military airfield I'm thinking of, I was once in the no parking zone and out of the car taking pictures. A traffic cop pulled up and said "You can't park here. Back down to just before where the sign says no parking, and we can't do anything. You can then walk up here to take your pictures" He even gave us his name so if there was any more problems, we could refer folks to him.

I guess that in the above case, if the parking problem was solved, the issue would then come down to loitering. There was alot of discussion in the past about whether being engaged in the legitimate activity of taking photographs constituted loitering. Pre 9/11, it seemed that the conclusion was that if you could demonstrate active current and possibly past involvement in photography of airplanes, they you weren't technically loitering. I would guess a fair bit of debate would take place with the local cops if anyone was to take that stance now!

Andy


User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6199 posts, RR: 12
Reply 11, posted (11 years 7 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 5514 times:

When I got ran away from spotting, the cop said they were concened since there's a nuclear power plant right down the road, as well as being near the airport. He wasn't rude about it, and we politely left, but the funny part is that the friend I was with has legitimate access to the nuclear facility (he's a nuclear engineering major) and I have legitimate access to any TAMUFC aircraft since I'm an instructor out there.


Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (11 years 7 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 5432 times:

Jhoooper-

I would venture a guess that somewhere along the admin line at your airport an administrator has decided that photos are bad. That information gets passed down the line as "don't let people loiter around the airport." As with just about everything else, the cop at the bottom of the chain just says, "okay...." and tells people to move on. A bit hard for him to argue with his bosses.

I was thinking of an example today while sitting on the beach watching the jets fly into North Island. (One lonely Marine guard in his shack watching so the joggers don't stray onto the base). The only airport in my area that has tight security is Palomar McClellen. (They had a mid air there today--2 light civil tried to enter the pattern at the same time and location. 3 dead.)

Now Palmoar is a dinky airport with just a few commuter a/c coming through to provide service to LAX. Hardly a terrorist threat. Yet they have the tightest security. Concrete barriers, RUDE private security guards, the whole deal. It ties right into the management, who have decided that they are going to have a SECURE airport. They make the old SAC bases look like parks! Sigh.


User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (11 years 7 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 5445 times:

Oh yes, Andy...

Actually they have gotten a little pissy about people near the approach end of Miramar because some people were standing near the fence and got hit by some jet wash/exhaust. Of course they want to sue (Americans just luv dem lawyers....). So they really try to keep people moving.

There is also an issue on the property adjoining Miramar. It is Marine property but has several protected species on it. Fairy Shrimp being the main one I think. (Really...) A couple of years ago the police chased an armed robbery suspect who crashed his car into the off road area, getting stuck in some mud. Well this mud is where the shrimp reside. Even though the police were chasing this armed suspect some idiot from the environmental Gestapo came over, told the police to GET OUT and threatend THEM with arrest if they did not comply. Very strange world we live in.

Tony


User currently offlineAirhead711 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 249 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (11 years 7 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 5365 times:

"what if someone went right up to a security checkpoint and started snapping away at the xray machines and screeners in violation of posted signs? What's the penalty for that?"



I don't know what the penalty is for that.But I think they would be quite harsh on you if you were taking photos of the checkpoints.Kids,don't try this at home.  Big grin


User currently offlinePPGMD From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 2453 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (11 years 7 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 5352 times:

About airport security:

I was dropping someone at the airport to get a rental car. I was there for less than a minute (barely enough time to say goodbye), and a cop was already banging on my window. You got to be kidding me, the airport gets 2 RJs, a MD-80, and now another RJ. What threat does this airport represent?



At worst, you screw up and die.
User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 19
Reply 16, posted (11 years 7 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 5331 times:

The number of flights does not make the threat.
Under your reasoning it would be less of a problem if someone shot down one of those RJs with an SA-7 there than if they shoot one down at for example Boston Logan.
Effectively, since there is less manpower at the smaller facilities they have to be far more on edge because they know they can't cover everything constantly (whereas on large airports they usually have enough people to monitor the entire perimeter).

I agree with most what is said here:
- don't do anything illegal
- cooperate with the security staff (whether police or private guards), and be friendly with them
- if you think their request/order is wrong, ask their name and how to contact their supervisor. Then leave and contact that supervisor to file a complaint
- these people are just doing a thankless job in difficult times. If they do their work correctly they get sneered for being too harsh on people, if they mess up and something happens they get blamed for not doing a proper job. Remember that next time you talk to one of them, compliment them on keeping airtravel safe (without sounding sarcastic of course, mean it).



I wish I were flying
User currently offlineTrintocan From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2000, 3224 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (11 years 7 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 5324 times:

Over in Antigua (ANU) they do post the penalties for taking photos at the airport - I do not recall the exact figures but they are a fine of about EC$5000 or 3 months' imprisonment.

Trintocan.



Hop to it, fly for life!
User currently offlineSkymonster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (11 years 7 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5234 times:

Palomar McClellen

Tony,

Is that what I know as Carlsbad / Palomar?

If so, whilst I'm quite happy to accept your view on why the security is a little over the top, there certainly used to be a company operate out of there called (I think) Phoenix Aviation, operating rather grey Lear Jets on all sorts of dubious electronic counter-measures missions for the USN. Are they still there, and if so does this explain the zealousness????

Carlsbad/Palomar used to be such a nice place too - all those Convairs parked up!

Andy


User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8
Reply 19, posted (11 years 7 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5234 times:

Andy,

I'm not sure who still oeprates out of Palomar, I think Phoenix just operates out of North Island now. (I see their Leer's coming in frequently). Even if they are there they are a very low key operation. Heck, Hughes used to have their development base for the MD500 Defender there and security was never like it is now. In all honesty I think someone in airport management has just gotten carried away. I was there last spring to pick up someone, had wife and kid in the car and the security guard was a jerk to me. Ehhh, some people will always be that way.  Smile Not me of course...


User currently offlineSkymonster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (11 years 7 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5232 times:

Tony,

Thanks... And oh well, if I get down to SAN in the next couple of months or so (which is a possibility) I guess I'll just miss out on Palomar then!!!  Sad

Andy


User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8
Reply 21, posted (11 years 7 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5223 times:

Well let me know if you are in this neck of the woods! A pleasure to meet one of the "masters!"  Smile

User currently offlineTomh From United States of America, joined May 1999, 960 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (11 years 7 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 5195 times:

Jhooper,
I'm curious to know your motivation when asking..."what if someone went right up to a security checkpoint and started snapping away at the xray machines and screeners in violation of posted signs".....

In the scenario you describe, I would think today that broken bones could be the result of a defiant attitude a security checkpoint. Then who you gonna call-the doctor or the ACLU?

A reasoned approach to photography is required. It always was, but it is especially true these days. I think most of us need to keep in mind that while we are experiencing difficulties with what we percieve to be our "rights" as aircraft photographers, the younger ones among us especially need to think of future employment and the difficulty in getting a job when your record states "Resisted legal Authorities while one airport property."


User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (11 years 7 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5191 times:

..."what if someone went right up to a security checkpoint and started snapping away at the xray machines and screeners in violation of posted signs".....

As I understand it, the only photography that is actually illegal at U.S. airports is exactly this - the photography of the security positions.

Charles


User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6199 posts, RR: 12
Reply 24, posted (11 years 7 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 5160 times:

Tomh,

You make several good points. The purpose in me asking that question is to try and determine the difference between what they SAY they can do to you and what they can ACTUALLY do to you. I'm tired of hearing from rent-a-cops that they can put me in jail, etc. for taking pictures of airplanes. I used the security checkpoint example as an extreme, since this among other things was never a problem pre-9/11, and I know how people just love to make up laws that don't exist. (perhaps the checkpoint law does exist, but I would like to read it for myself if someone has a link to the specific statue which prohibits it). I'm all for following the law, but if it ain't illegal, then I expect the authorities to leave me alone.



Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
25 Tomh : Thanks for clarifying. My thinking is that the nation is in flux when it comes to security issues, and no one answer or set of answers is likely to pr
26 Post contains images 2912n : Tom- I agree with you in that things are in a state of flux when it comes to security issues. No one is really sure about how to treat some things, sh
27 Post contains images Leftypilot79 : Hey Tony, I've met you before. Im the limo driver for Cloud 9. Great photos by the way. I love the North Island stuff. I think I found another potenti
28 Post contains links and images Leftypilot79 : Opps....is this from the Commuter Term? View Large View MediumPhoto © Tony Zeljeznjak Some of the UPS guys have seen this shot and like it. This
29 Post contains images 2912n : The UPS 767 is from the roof of the hanger at the old Ryan property. Awesome view from up there, but very restricted access. (I could spend the whole
30 Post contains images B757300 : The problem for Jhooper & myself who both live in CLL is the idiots who run Texas A&M University. They are so sure that TAMU is a target for a terrori
31 Post contains images 2912n : Well the idea of an Aggie as a competent terrorist....I don't think so.... (Sorry....)
32 ExitRow : 2912n, I have a friend that lives on First Avenue, directly under the approach. Last time I was back in SAN, we went on her roof and the view was eeee
33 Jhooper : B757300, Wow! You've done your research. I wonder what impact these "security enhancements" at CLL will have on us in the TAMU Flying Club, as none of
34 2912n : Exit...I would love to get up on one of those roofs. One day I will have to go up and eat at Mr. A's and bring the camera. But the expense.......(It i
35 Airportmanager : Here in Ecuador, there is no law, and usually nobody seems to care. I've spent hours climbed on the perimeter wall taking pictures of planes. The airp
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