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Old Apr 7, 09, 10:35 pm   #91
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the slippery language is a cause for concern. IANAL, but I negotiate contracts for a living, and I know wiggle language when I read it. Several want to discuss by telephone, because they do not want to commit to anything in writing. "We ask that you do not take pictures of monitors." What does that mean? It means that their lawyers have advised them that they not on legally solid ground if they try to outright forbid photographing monitors, but since they are only "asking", then there is nothing illegal about it. Of course, if it came down to a court case, a jury would probably find that being surrounded by agents and law enforcement who would then "ask" you to stop did not honestly leave you with the option of continuing.
Similarly, photographing will "be a cause for concern," "there is a good chance you will be stopped," etc. are all wiggle language that tries to discourage it without crossing the line into an illegal attempt to forbid you from doing so. Then there is the "there are signs posted at our airport" wiggle. Who posted them? Nobody knows, so the writer used the passive voice to note that the signs exist -- he's not breaking the law by attempting to illegally discourage activities protected by the first amendment, he's just observing that some signs (which he had nothing to do with) exist.

Anyway, thanks for the structured effort to get this out in the open, but it seems to me that it is going to take someone taking pictures, getting arrested and filing and winning a lawsuit before this ends.
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Old Apr 8, 09, 4:40 am   #92
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmocek View Post
Could you be a little more specific, please? I'm an ardent supporter of personal privacy, and I think I have misunderstood you.
People don't like the idea of the Government pawing through their bags, but it's OK if a private citizen photographs it?
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Old Apr 8, 09, 6:45 am   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by We Will Never Forget View Post
People don't like the idea of the Government pawing through their bags, but it's OK if a private citizen photographs it?
Photographing a Government actor pawing through their bags? Absolutely. We must spread the word and put an end to this disgusting practice.
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Old Apr 8, 09, 8:39 am   #94
  
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what is private?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmocek View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by We Will Never Forget View Post
Everyone goes @pesh!t about privacy from the Government, but we are willing to give it up to a private citizen?
Could you be a little more specific, please? I'm an ardent supporter of personal privacy, and I think I have misunderstood you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by We Will Never Forget View Post
People don't like the idea of the Government pawing through their bags, but it's OK if a private citizen photographs it?
I'm sorry, but I still don't understand what point you're trying to make. I'd like you to explain what was meant by your prior statement, which seems to be an attempt to compare violations of privacy on the part of government with that of private citizens. When pressed for further comment, you changed to a comparison of government searching someone's belongings to someone photographing the public interaction between people and agents of their government.

Searching my belongings has privacy implications, but it's more directly an infringement upon my Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. This is a bad example for this discussion, as we've already agreed to allow TSA to search us under certain circumstances.

Listening to my telephone conversation is a violation of my privacy. Bugging my home and listening to my conversations there is a violation of my privacy. Examining my library records or my health records is a violation of my privacy. Reading my journal or files stored on my computer while searching for dangerous things in my luggage is a violation of my privacy. Using a mirror to look up the skirt of someone standing in an airport terminal, or to photograph the same, is a violation of privacy. Do you disagree with any of this?

Photographing someone and TSA staff at a TSA search station in an airport terminal is not a violation of privacy. Do you disagree with this?
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Old Apr 8, 09, 10:04 am   #95
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmocek View Post
Statements that I consider to be cause for concern:
  • Baltimore Washington International (BWI): "If you take a picture at or near the checkpoint someone from TSA or airport police may ask you what you're up to." "There are signs posted at our checkpoints. stating that taking photos or video's at the checkpoint is prohibited COMAR 11.03.01.09B(2) these signed were put up by the airport."
In your reply to the MAA, you may want to ask them how a COMAR entry SPECIFIC to the Maryland Port Administration applies in an airport (governed by the MAA, a completely separate entity within the Maryland Department of Transportation and with its own SPECIFIC section of the COMAR).
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Old Apr 8, 09, 10:17 am   #96
  
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cuál es COMAR?

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Originally Posted by DevilDog438 View Post
In your reply to the MAA, you may want to ask them how a COMAR entry SPECIFIC to the Maryland Port Administration applies in an airport (governed by the MAA, a completely separate entity within the Maryland Department of Transportation and with its own SPECIFIC section of the COMAR).
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll ask that when I have a chance.

I don't even know what the COMAR is. The questions I posed to Kelly Derthick, Maryland Aviation Administration customer service manager for BWI, on April 6, 2009, are:
  1. Could you please explain the signs posted at BWI checkpoints that Mr. Duckett, TSA Customer Service Manager at BWI, described? (He wrote to me, "There are signs posted at our checkpoints. stating that taking photos or video's at the checkpoint is prohibited COMAR 11.03.01.09B(2) these signed were put up by the airport.")
  2. What is "COMAR 11.03.01.09B(2)"?
  3. Are you aware of any local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances that would apply to a situation in which someone wishes to photograph or or videotape something he is able to see from publicly-accessible areas of BWI without interfering with TSA or airport operations?

I have not yet received a response.
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Old Apr 8, 09, 10:25 am   #97
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmocek View Post
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll ask that when I have a chance.

I don't even know what the COMAR is. [*] What is "COMAR 11.03.01.09B(2)"?

I have not yet received a response.
Post 6 of this thread should help, though it looks like it is referring to a different section.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DevilDog438 View Post
If I remember correctly, the signage at BWI refers to Code of Maryland Regulations 11.05.07.04


Be advised, this is a Maryland Port Administration regulation, which is not the actual agency that regulates the Airports in Maryland; that function is assigned to the Maryland Aviation Administration.
Here is a link to the code cited, which states:

Quote:
.09 Airport Security.
B. Security Regulations.

(1) Tampering or interfering with the lock or security access electronics of any door, window, gate, or other opening leading to the air operations area or any other restricted area at the Airport, or breaching any other security device is prohibited except under emergency conditions.

(2) Interference with security procedures or violation of security regulations or directives is prohibited.

(3) It is unlawful for an individual to knowingly and willingly enter an aircraft or an Airport restricted area including the air operations area, contrary to security requirements established by the federal government or the State.
Pretty weak as no discussion whatsoever of photography.

Last edited by ND Sol; Apr 8, 09 at 10:48 am
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Old Apr 8, 09, 10:26 am   #98
  
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COMAR = Code of MAryland Regulations

http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/
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Old Apr 8, 09, 1:23 pm   #99
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If I was the lawyer for the TSA, I would argue that we don't want you to take pictures of the monitor because you might see something which is private to the individual whose luggage is being searched. That is, when Pasenger XX goes in public, with items inside a brown paper bag, you can't photograph what is inside the brown paper bag. And, even though it is being carried in public, you can't insist that Pasenger XX open the brown paper bag for you to take a picture. Now Passenger XX goes to the airport and puts the brown paper bag in the machine, and the monitor shows that Passenger XX is carrying sex toys. The argument could be made that you are invading the privacy of Passenger XX when you photograph that monitor picture.

HOWEVER, the couter-argument is "If I can see the monitor in public so can other people and the argument about privacy no longer works. Hide your monitor so that no one can see it and we don't have a problem."
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Old Apr 8, 09, 2:13 pm   #100
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbrower View Post
If I was the lawyer for the TSA, I would argue that we don't want you to take pictures of the monitor because you might see something which is private to the individual whose luggage is being searched. That is, when Pasenger XX goes in public, with items inside a brown paper bag, you can't photograph what is inside the brown paper bag. And, even though it is being carried in public, you can't insist that Pasenger XX open the brown paper bag for you to take a picture. Now Passenger XX goes to the airport and puts the brown paper bag in the machine, and the monitor shows that Passenger XX is carrying sex toys. The argument could be made that you are invading the privacy of Passenger XX when you photograph that monitor picture.

HOWEVER, the couter-argument is "If I can see the monitor in public so can other people and the argument about privacy no longer works. Hide your monitor so that no one can see it and we don't have a problem."
I think that the TSA would have a difficult time with that one since the invasion of privacy does not require a photograph, but simply an observation. It is only a matter of degree since the info would be recorded with a photograph. There are plenty of ways to hide the monitor if the TSA is so concerned about one's privacy.
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Old Apr 8, 09, 2:37 pm   #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmocek View Post
I'm sorry, but I still don't understand what point you're trying to make. I'd like you to explain what was meant by your prior statement, which seems to be an attempt to compare violations of privacy on the part of government with that of private citizens. When pressed for further comment, you changed to a comparison of government searching someone's belongings to someone photographing the public interaction between people and agents of their government.

Searching my belongings has privacy implications, but it's more directly an infringement upon my Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. This is a bad example for this discussion, as we've already agreed to allow TSA to search us under certain circumstances.

Listening to my telephone conversation is a violation of my privacy. Bugging my home and listening to my conversations there is a violation of my privacy. Examining my library records or my health records is a violation of my privacy. Reading my journal or files stored on my computer while searching for dangerous things in my luggage is a violation of my privacy. Using a mirror to look up the skirt of someone standing in an airport terminal, or to photograph the same, is a violation of privacy. Do you disagree with any of this?

Photographing someone and TSA staff at a TSA search station in an airport terminal is not a violation of privacy. Do you disagree with this?
What governments do is SUPPOSED to be public, transparent and visible. What private citizens do is SUPPOSED to be personal, private and hidden. Why is it so many people seem to want to turn this simple concept upside down?
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Old Apr 8, 09, 2:42 pm   #102
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ND Sol View Post
I think that the TSA would have a difficult time with that one since the invasion of privacy does not require a photograph, but simply an observation.
That's a good point, and one that Sbrower raised as a counterargument to his first point.
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Old Apr 20, 09, 3:53 am   #103
  
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update on survey of 50 airports' polices re: photography of publicly-accessible area

Updates since April 7:
  • Received first contact from Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ). Said there are no state or local laws prohibiting public areas of the airport. Provided referal to airport PR. Said advance coordination is needed to film at or near TSA checkpoint. Then said advance coordination is requested, and that this is a local practice not available in writing. Confirmed that this is only a suggestion, not a requirement.
  • Kathy Derthick, Customer Service Manager at Baltimore Washington International (BWI) said she turned my questions over to the Division of Communications Manager.
  • Port Columbus International (CMH) provided contact at Port Columbus Public Safety. Turned over to TSA Assistant Federal Security Director of Screening my question about the definition of "interference" in context of photography of TSA activities.
  • Received first contact from Washington Reagan National (DCA). Said Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority "has some regulations and requirements for notification to be able to take pictures."
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) airport board said "commercial" in the context of photography at airports is not defined, but that they would use the customary meaning: "undertaken for the purpose of making a profit," and also that if someone asked where my permit was when I was performing non-commercial photography, I should explain that I'm not engaged in commercial photography and don't need a permit. TSA manager agreed.
  • Received first contact from Orlando International (MCO). Said photography is fine in most areas of the airport and that "If there are concerns, signs will usually be posted in those areas. Said TSA has some concerns about photography of "certain equipment or operations," and that I may be asked not to take pictures of those areas. Said people take pictures in and around TSA checkpoints often.
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX) says he has seen the discussion here on FT, that he, as a government employee working in a position of customer service, is not surprised to have the information he sent publicized, and encourages me to encourage readers not to use contact information posted here for the purpose of creating a nuisance, as doing so would hinder their ability to address other people's concerns. Airport PR Dept. also responded. Said TSA will not allow photography or video of their equipment and that City of Phoenix restricts only commercial photography.
  • Pittsburgh International (PIT) forwarded my question to the Airport Authority. They said that the signs at the checkpoint read "no media photos and news cameras" beyond the checkpoint, and that those do not prohibit photography by passengers beyond the checkpoint. Said "passengers are free to take pictures in any public-accessible area." After I asked both Airport Authority and TSA to confirm my summary of their responses, Ms. Snell at TSA again said that it is unfortunate that there is not a "cookie cutter answer" available.
  • Tampa International (TPA) said enforcement of laws and policies at the airport is duty of TPA Police Department, that TSA is a tenant, and that if necessary, they will cooperate with law enforcement.

18 days since I submitted my questions to 50 airports, 25 of them have responded.

Last edited by pmocek; Apr 20, 09 at 3:58 am Reason: add links to ABQ, DCA, and MCO
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Old Apr 20, 09, 3:54 am   #104
  
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TSA re: airport photography policies: Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ)

Quote:
Date: Wed, 8 Apr 2009 17:33:02 -0400
From: "Spencer, Susanne" <Susanne.Spencer%AT%dhs.gov>
Subject: FW: Got Feedback : Albuquerque International Sunport Airport (ABQ)
To: Phil Mocek
Cc: GotFeedback <Gotfeedback%AT%dhs.gov>

Phil,

There aren't any state or city laws/ordinances that prohibit photography in the public areas of the airport. However, it is advisable to contact the Airport's Public Affairs Officer Dan Jiron at djiron%AT%cabq.gov or by telephone at 505.244.7780.

If you wish to film at or near the TSA checkpoint, advance coordination would need to be made with Maggie Santiago at Maggie.santiago%AT%dhs.gov or by telephone at 505.246.4106.

Sincerely,

Susanne Spencer
Transportation Security Administration
Albuquerque, NM
Desk: 505-246-4131
Quote:
Date: Wed, 8 Apr 2009 15:40:28 -0700
From: Phil Mocek
Subject: Re: FW: Got Feedback : Albuquerque International Sunport Airport
(ABQ)
To: Susanne Spencer - TSA <Susanne.Spencer%AT%dhs.gov>
Cc: GotFeedback <Gotfeedback%AT%dhs.gov>

Thank you, Ms. Spencer, for your response.

Why would advance coordination with Ms. Santiago be required in order to film at or near the TSA checkpoint? I'm not aware of any related TSA policies other than the one that says any photography or video recording must not interfere with TSA operations. If your local policies differ, where can I read a copy of them?

--
Phil Mocek
Quote:
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2009 10:45:27 -0400
From: "Spencer, Susanne" <Susanne.Spencer%AT%dhs.gov>
Subject: RE: FW: Got Feedback : Albuquerque International Sunport Airport(ABQ)
To: Phil Mocek
Cc: GotFeedback <Gotfeedback%AT%dhs.gov>

Phil,

We ask for advance coordination so that we can advise of and/or reinforce any restrictions for filming and shooting photos of the TSA operation. This is a local practice and not available in writing. Also, having coordinated in advance, we can advise the Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) stationed at the checkpoint and our workforce of the upcoming activity. This can make it easier on the person who is wanting to film or photograph as LEO and workforce are likely to approach and question the individual about what they are doing. Furthermore, the checkpoint area including the queue is a restricted area - just for ticketed passengers. Advance coordination would be necessary especially if the individual was not a passenger.

I hope this answers your question.

Sincerely,

Susanne Spencer
Transportation Security Administration
Albuquerque, NM
Desk: 505-246-4131
Quote:
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2009 07:57:21 -0700
From: Phil Mocek
Subject: Re: FW: Got Feedback : Albuquerque International Sunport
Airport(ABQ)
To: Susanne Spencer - TSA <Susanne.Spencer%AT%dhs.gov>
Cc: GotFeedback <Gotfeedback%AT%dhs.gov>

Ms. Spencer, Wednesday, you wrote that advance coordination was required. Today, you wrote that you only ask for it. Is it a requirement or a recommendation?

Today, You wrote that a "local practice" that is not available in writing applies to the situation. How can someone ensure that he is in compliance with such a policy if he cannot read it?

Today, you wrote that advance coordination is requested so that you can "advise of and/or reinforce any restrictions for filing and shooting photos of the TSA operation." I asked you if any such restrictions exist at your airport, and I have explained that your colleague Bob Burns at TSA has published the fact that the only restriction TSA places on such activity is that it must not interfere with TSA operations. Do you have local TSA policies that supercede the national ones that Mr. Burns described?

In my case, I would not need or request assistance with any questions the law enforcement officer at the TSA checkpoint might ask. I would be under no obligation to answer, so would politely decline to do so.

Also, at this time, I am only interested in policies affecting people who are authorized to be in the location that they would be photographing or filming.

I look forward to your responses. Thank you for your continued assistance.

--
Phil Mocek
Quote:
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2009 17:09:40 -0400
From: "Spencer, Susanne" <Susanne.Spencer%AT%dhs.gov>
Subject: RE: FW: Got Feedback : Albuquerque International SunportAirport(ABQ)
To: Phil Mocek

Mr. Mocek,

The information I have provided to you is a recommendation. We only encourage individuals to contact TSA in advance so we can facilitate the photography.

Sincerely,

Susanne Spencer
Transportation Security Administration
Albuquerque, NM
Desk: 505-246-4131
Quote:
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 09:17:03 -0700
From: Phil Mocek
Subject: Re: FW: Got Feedback : Albuquerque International
SunportAirport(ABQ)
To: Susanne Spencer - TSA <Susanne.Spencer%AT%dhs.gov>
Cc: GotFeedback <Gotfeedback%AT%dhs.gov>

So shall I disregard your statement that advance coordination is *required*?

Also, On April 10, You wrote that a "local practice" that is not available in writing applies to the situation. How can someone ensure that he is in compliance with such a policy if he cannot read it?

Do you have local TSA policies that supercede the national ones that Mr. Burns described?

--
Phil Mocek
Quote:
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 12:20:23 -0400
From: "Spencer, Susanne" <Susanne.Spencer%AT%dhs.gov>
Subject: RE: FW: Got Feedback : Albuquerque InternationalSunportAirport(ABQ)
To: Phil Mocek

Again, the information I have provided to you is a recommendation. We only encourage individuals to contact TSA in advance so we can facilitate the photography.

Susanne Spencer
Transportation Security Administration
Albuquerque, NM
Desk: 505-246-4131
Quote:
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 09:24:17 -0700
From: Phil Mocek
Subject: Re: FW: Got Feedback : Albuquerque InternationalSunportAirport(ABQ)
To: Susanne Spencer - TSA <Susanne.Spencer%AT%dhs.gov>
Cc: GotFeedback <Gotfeedback%AT%dhs.gov>

I apologize for my confusion, but you first said it was required. You wrote:

> If you wish to film at or near the TSA checkpoint, advance
> coordination would need to be made with Maggie Santiago at
> Maggie.santiago%AT%dhs.gov or by telephone at 505.246.4106.

I take it that was a mistake.

Also, On April 10, You wrote that a "local practice" that is not available in writing applies to the situation. How can someone ensure that he is in compliance with such a policy if he cannot read it?

Do you have local TSA policies that supercede the national ones that Mr. Burns described?

--
Phil Mocek
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Old Apr 20, 09, 3:56 am   #105
  
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TSA re: airport photography policies: Washington Reagan National (DCA)

Quote:
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 2009 09:11:38 -0400
From: "Mazhari, Daryush" <Daryush.Mazhari%AT%dhs.gov>
To: Phil Mocek
Subject: RE: Got Feedback : Washington Reagan National (DCA)
Cc: GotFeedback <Gotfeedback%AT%dhs.gov>

Dear Mocek,

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has some regulations and requirements for notification to be able to take pictures and you can check their website for contact information.

I have placed their website on this note for your convenience. http://www.mwaa.com/

Regards,
Daryush Mazhari
SHM/CSQIM
Quote:
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 2009 15:43:51 -0700
From: Phil Mocek
Subject: Re: Got Feedback : Washington Reagan National (DCA)
To: Daryush Mazhari - TSA <Daryush.Mazhari%AT%dhs.gov>
Cc: GotFeedback <Gotfeedback%AT%dhs.gov>

Thank you.

I was referred to you by your colleague, Bob Burns, at TSA, who suggested that if you weren't able to provide information about applicable local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances, you would be able to connect me with someone who does. Are you aware of any such laws, statutes, or ordinances? If not, can you refer me to someone in particular who can? If so, please provide a name along with e-mail address, postal address or phone number (in that order of preference).

Thank you for your continued assistance.

--
Phil Mocek
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