Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I don't live in New York but...

This article regarding proposed bans on photography in the New York subway system in the Gothamist a website about New York City and everything that happens in it, got me thinking.
If these kind of infringements on photographers rights can occur there, then why not here?
I felt, as a concerned member of the world photographic community that I should do something, so I gave my feedback to the Metropolitan Transport Authority of New York:
Subject: Proposed changes to Rules of Conduct - an 'outsider's view.
I do not live in New York, I am actually an Australian citizen. I am asking you to please consider my concerns just as seriously as if I were an American citizen living in New York however.
I am a dedicated amateur photographer and am wondering exactly why you would want to curtail the rights of hobbyists to photograph innocuous subject matter whit no real rationale that I can see besides paranoia, and misplaced reactionary restrictions based on paranoia at that. I understand sensitivity to perceived threats but I just don't see what banning 'amateur' photography in any public space is achieving, anyone who really wants to photograph these areas will do so without being obvious about it, the only people who suffer are enthusiasts.
How many photographs, plans and the like of the New York's Transportation system already exist in the public domain? Shutting the gate after the horse has bolted helps no one.
I have already read many disturbing reports about rude and aggressive behavior by New York Police and Transit Authority against individuals in regards to this matter. Words like 'Gestapo like behavior' have been used, more than once.This is surely a concern to the Metropolitan Transit Authority, or if not should be.
How do you think all this would affect my and many other potential tourists travel plans in the United States of America? My family and I would certainly have second thoughts about visiting New York, and third thoughts about using the metropolitan transport system there.I would also be expressing my concerns to all I know and those I don't through whatever mode of communication available if your proposed changes were to go through.
Please consider the real harm being done with these proposed changes. Creeping infringement of civil liberties is a grave danger in these troubled times. Public perceptions of freedom, civil liberties and the treatment of ordinary citizens may have some effect on the tourist dollar also. Perhaps this may be of some concern to the people of New York as well, especially those who profit from tourism.
You may think my concerns are trivial or unfounded, but I put this question to you ~
If I, in Australia have heard about this matter and have been concerned by it, how many others have?

After about 3 more pages of clicks, my email was finally sent...
The reference number for your e-mail is \'041130-000247\'.
Thank you for your inquiry. You will receive a response as soon as possible; however, some responses can take up to 15 business days.

Hopefully the transit authorities will know where Australia is....

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