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PV Alert: Can I Take Photos at the Checkpoint and Airport?

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Old Mar 31, 09, 6:27 pm
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PV Alert: Can I Take Photos at the Checkpoint and Airport?

Yet another attempt at letting a post marinate overnight...

http://www.tsa.gov/blog/2009/03/can-...and.html#links
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Old Mar 31, 09, 6:46 pm
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They haven't posted any new replies on any of the other posts since Monday, March 30. They must have been preparing this carefully-worded non-post.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 7:17 pm
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Originally Posted by PV
However… while the TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances might. Your best bet is to call ahead and see what that specific airport’s policy is.
State and Local Laws about taking pictures in a public place?

FWIW, I've taken a few pictures near checkpoints and I've never had a problem.

Now that I know what PV's stand is, I think I'll snap a few close up photos to add to a stock photo collection, if nothing else.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 8:38 pm
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I was told that it is fine unless you are not disrupting the screening procedure. I guess the supervisors determine whether or not you are being disruptive.

Why would anyone want to take pics at that terrible place anyway? If anything I'd want to forget most checkpoints.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 8:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Crazyace718 View Post
Why would anyone want to take pics at that terrible place anyway? If anything I'd want to forget most checkpoints.
Plenty of reasons. As I exited the AA side of Terminal B @ BOS a few years ago, I saw 2 teenaged girls being 'screened' by a middle-aged male screener who felt the need to run his hand down the zipper of one girl's jeans while she assumed 'the position'. I don't care if it was w/the back of his hand, he had absolutely no business going there. Or the screener @ LAX who, while hand-searching checked baggage, stopped to pick his nose (in the middle of T4 right in front of the passengers). Or his buddies, on another trip, who were taking belongings out of the checked bags, waving them around, & laughing.

It's about documenting the behavior & abuses that many of us see on a daily basis. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?
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Old Mar 31, 09, 8:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Crazyace718 View Post
Why would anyone want to take pics at that terrible place anyway?
Recording evidence of criminal activity.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 8:51 pm
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I took TSA Bob's advice and asked about photo policies at 50 U.S. airports

I took Bob's advice and used TSA's "Got Feedback?" form to ask about photography policies at each of 50 major U.S. airports.

I submitted the following:

On March 31, 2009, Bob at the TSA blog wrote that TSA does not prohibit any photography of publicly-accessible parts of airports [1]. He also wrote, "while the TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances might. Your best bet is to call ahead and see what that specific airport’s policy is. I suggest you use the Got Feedback program to directly contact the Customer Support Manager at the airport you’re going to be traveling through. They will have an answer for you and if they don’t, they can connect you with somebody who does."

Do any such local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances apply to people who wish to photograph publicly-accessible areas of your airport? If so, which ones?

References:

[1]: <http://www.tsa.gov/blog/2009/03/can-i-take-photos-at-checkpoint-and.html>
I submitted the form for the following airports: AZ Phoenix, CA Los Angeles, CA Oakland, CA Ontario, CA Orange County, CA Sacramento, CA San Diego, CA San Francisco, CA San Jose, CO Denver, DC Washington (Dulles International), DC Washington (National), FL Ft. Lauderdale, FL Miami, FL Orlando, FL Tampa, GA Atlanta, HI Honolulu, IL Chicago (Midway), IL Chicago (O'Hare), IN Indianapolis, LA New Orleans, MA Boston, MD Baltimore, MI Detroit, MN Minneapolis/St. Paul, MO Kansas City, MO St. Louis, NC Charlotte, NC Raleigh/Durham, NJ Newark, NM Albuquerque, NV Las Vegas, NY New York (John F. Kennedy), NY New York (La Guardia), OH Cincinnati, OH Columbus, OR Portland, PA Philadelphia, PA Pittsburgh, PR San Juan, TN Memphis, TN Nashville, TX Dallas/Fort Worth (Regional), TX Dallas (Love Field), TX Houston (Intercontinental), TX Houston (William P. Hobby), TX San Antonio, UT Salt Lake City, and WA Seattle-Tacoma.

I'll follow up here with results.

EDIT: following are links to a post in this thread for each of the airports for which I have received contact:
EDIT: added BWI and CLT

see also:
2009-04-07 - count of nonresponsive airports, causes for concern
2009-04-10 - update on survey of 50 airports' polices re: photography of publicly-accessible area
2009-06-24 - minor update on 50-airport survey of photography policies
2009-08-04 - cross-reference related TSA blog post
2010-12-21 - policies verified via telephone contact

Last edited by pmocek; Dec 21, 10 at 5:45 pm Reason: add links to later posts
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Old Mar 31, 09, 8:57 pm
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Originally Posted by pmocek View Post
I took Bob's advice and used TSA's "Got Feedback?" form to ask about photography policies at each of 50 major U.S. airports.

I'll follow up here with results.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 10:00 pm
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initial response from PDX re: airport photography

Originally Posted by pmocek View Post
I took Bob's advice and used TSA's "Got Feedback?" form to ask about photography policies at each of 50 major U.S. airports.
I received the following response from Tina A. Burke, TSA's Stakeholder and Customer Support Manager for Oregon Portland International Airport (PDX):


Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 21:49:39 -0400
From: "Burke, Tina A" <Tina.Burke%AT%dhs.gov>
Subject: RE: Got Feedback : Portland International (PDX)
To: Phillip Mocek
Cc: GotFeedback <Gotfeedback%AT%dhs.gov>

Mr. Mocek,

Can you tell me what it is you'd like to do/photograph and I'll see what
I can find out.

Thanks,

Tina

Tina A. Burke
Stakeholder and Customer Support Manager for Oregon
Portland International Airport (PDX)
Transportation Security Administration
#503.889.3055 (o)
#503.201.4563 (c)
www.tsa.gov


I responded:

Hi, Ms. Burke. Thank you for your prompt response.

I didn't have anything in particular in mind. I'm just interested in policies regarding photographing public places, so I followed the suggestion of Bob at TSA to find out more via their "Got Feedback?" program. You can read Bob's blog post on the TSA blog at <http://www.tsa.gov/blog/2009/03/can-i-take-photos-at-checkpoint-and.html>.

In an attempt to give you something more specific to work with, let's say that I want to video record and/or photograph everything that I can see as a passenger arriving at the airport, walking through the terminal, being searched at the TSA checkpoint, and waiting to board my flight at the gate. I won't enter any areas that I am not allowed to enter. I will only use small, hand-held equipment (possibly hanging it from my neck at times), without a tripod, without a flash, and I will not interfere with any airport or TSA staff as they do their jobs.

Last edited by pmocek; Apr 2, 09 at 2:09 pm Reason: obfuscate e-mail addresses
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Old Apr 1, 09, 12:00 am
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Originally Posted by txrus View Post
Plenty of reasons. As I exited the AA side of Terminal B @ BOS a few years ago, I saw 2 teenaged girls being 'screened' by a middle-aged male screener who felt the need to run his hand down the zipper of one girl's jeans while she assumed 'the position'. I don't care if it was w/the back of his hand, he had absolutely no business going there. Or the screener @ LAX who, while hand-searching checked baggage, stopped to pick his nose (in the middle of T4 right in front of the passengers). Or his buddies, on another trip, who were taking belongings out of the checked bags, waving them around, & laughing.

It's about documenting the behavior & abuses that many of us see on a daily basis. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?
It seems like there were plenty of witnesses during all the incidents. I'm sure you wouldn't need a picture if several other passengers co-signed. Why didn't you report these guys?
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Old Apr 1, 09, 9:30 am
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Originally Posted by Crazyace718 View Post
It seems like there were plenty of witnesses during all the incidents. I'm sure you wouldn't need a picture if several other passengers co-signed. Why didn't you report these guys?
Who says I didn't? However, given the TSA's lack of accountability to their screeners bad behavior, as I said before, a picture is worth a thousand words & might actually force TPTB to finally do something. Plus a picture makes it much harder for the screener to deny his/her actions.
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Old Apr 1, 09, 11:37 am
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Originally Posted by pmocek View Post
I received the following response from Tina A. Burke, TSA's Stakeholder and Customer Support Manager for Oregon Portland International Airport (PDX):

Tina

Tina A. Burke
Stakeholder and Customer Support Manager for Oregon
Portland International Airport (PDX)
Transportation Security Administration
#503.889.3055 (o)
#503.201.4563 (c)
www.tsa.gov
Can we make a compilation of this contact info? Might be helpful. (Or entertaining to use for prank calls )
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Old Apr 1, 09, 11:54 am
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Originally Posted by amejr999 View Post
Can we make a compilation of this contact info? Might be helpful. (Or entertaining to use for prank calls )
"Stakeholder and Customer Support Manager for Oregon"

Does this mean that this person founded TSA in Oregon?

Or that they are ready to plunge the stake through the heart of the beast killing it for all of time.
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Old Apr 1, 09, 1:59 pm
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update on survey of 50 airports' polices re: photography of publicly-accessible areas

Originally Posted by amejr999 View Post
Can we make a compilation of this contact info? Might be helpful.
I'm happy to do so.

(Or entertaining to use for prank calls )
Please don't suggest that, even in jest.

I've received responses from 10 people representing 11 airports. I'll compile responses and post them this evening. Preview: most have expressed no knowledge of anything prohibiting non-commercial (not sure how that's defined) photographing or video recording of publicly-accessible areas of airports as long as doing so does not interfere with airport or TSA staff or slow the screening process for other passengers. Several have expressed the opinion that photographing or video recording at a TSA checkpoint, or more specifically, photographing or video recording TSA's equipment at the checkpoint, would likely result in "trouble" of some sort, possibly including the involvement of law enforcement personnel. One reported that our exchange had been forwarded "to HQ" and that she was informed that my questions will be answered in more detail.
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Old Apr 1, 09, 3:01 pm
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Originally Posted by pmocek View Post
... as long as doing so does not interfere with airport or TSA staff ...
I predict that any photography of TSA staff would be considered interference by them ..... of their delightful immunity from accountability and presumed anonymity.
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