If you live in the UK and like to take photographs then you should be concerned. On Feb 16th 2009 the government are implementing 'Schedule 8' an amendment to the 'Counter-terrorism Act 2000'. Within this is 'Section 76'.
The police have already abused the powers given to them under previous anti-terror laws and are often ignorant of the law, falsely believing that it is illegal to photograph or video them. You only have to see this video to know...
The Act at first read doesn't seem of much concern. It's not until you realise the full implications of the wording that it becomes worrying. You can find the full account of the new law HERE.
Sub-Section 58A of Section 76 reads thus:-
“58A Eliciting, publishing or communicating information about members of armed forces etc (1) A person commits an offence who—
(a) elicits or attempts to elicit information about an individual who is or has been—
(i) a member of Her Majesty’s forces,
(ii) a member of any of the intelligence services, or
(iii) a constable,
which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or
(b) publishes or communicates any such information.
(2) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that they had a reasonable excuse for their action.
(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—
(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to a fine, or to both;
It should be made clear that you don't have to be a terrorist to be prosecuted under this law but only need to possess information, video, or photographs which the government may believe is useful to terrorists.
One portion (Section 58A,(a),(iii)) in particular concerns me most. If I video the police out on the public street, (which I have done often) and they happen to be near a government building, a railway station or other 'sensitive' location it could be construed as 'useful information' for a terrorist act. The problem is the vagueness of the law as well as the onus for me to justify the reason for taking pictures. I shouldn't need an excuse, because I'm not a terrorist. The police are already uneducated in the law. I have been confronted by them quite aggressively at times and quizzed as to why I'm taking pictures. They go to great lengths to give me the impression that what I am doing is illegal... and DAMN IT... now it is!
The National Union of Journalists and the British Press Photographer Association have expressed their concerns and intend to demonstrate their 'displeasure' in London on Monday 16th Feb... photos may not be available.
So from now on, the pictures and information on my blog may be curtailed.... I NO LONGER CONSIDER MYSELF TO LIVE IN A FREE COUNTRY... be warned
For further reading on the matter, see HERE