Beware: Miami Beach Hidden Camera Guy
A flickr contact of mine, 71sbeetle, submitted this photo to my group The Real Miami Beach. Apparently, this guy pretends to sunbathe while reading a magazine, but he's secretly taking photos. It cracks me up that the "magazine" is promoting disco pants. Is that a fashion spread from 1980?
Js1beetle says there's a law about photographing anyone within 25 feet ...
Have any of you seen this guy or heard of this law? I haven't ... Surely there are millions of tourists with cameras on the beach every year. This dude is just being particularly slimy. Let's discuss! And that means YOU, Carlos Miller.
if you're 25ft or closer, you need to ask permission to take a picture, beyond that, you don't have to. Just ask any beach police, they'll tell you, it's the law.
Thanks to 71sbeetle for letting me post the picture here.
It's amazing how people tend to pull photography laws out of their asses.
There is no such thing as a 25 foot law regarding photography anywhere in this country if you are standing on a public space.
This guy is probably photographing topless women without them noticing, but legally he is not doing anything different than if I were out there with my telephoto lens pointing the camera at a pair of boobs.
That makes sense, Carlos. I was wondering about that regarding zoom lenses.
Carlos is exactly right, of course. To expand: public property = no right to privacy.
Originally Posted by Carlos Miller
It would be cool if you guys had actually gotten a photo of his face.
And that disco pant ad is current and from American Apparal.
American Apparel? Wow, so they are marketing disco to young adults who were babies (if even alive) in the 80s! LOL!
While I can't find anything for Florida, I read that Texas has an "improper photography law", which prohibits people from photographing people even in public if there is sexual gratification involved:
Knowing the downward trend of our freedoms, I'm sure this will become the law of the land everywhere in the US soon enough. Unfortunately, denying a horny voyeur the right to surreptiously photograph his subjects in public places also means potentially denying anyone from shooting candid photos in public...if the subjects are even remotely sexually desirable under the arresting officer's subjective interpretation.
Texas has an Improper Photography law defined as taking a photograph of someone or visually recording them without the person's consent and with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person. If they guy is convicted, he could get two years in jail and have to register as a felony sex offender.
...and who decides what's sexually desirable?
Do you remember Danskin? I went in an American Apparal store the other day (unwillingly), and it reminded me of the Danskin stores from back in the 80s.
Legal or not, the act of him secretly photographing is wrong to me.
It's one thing to see a photographer out doing his job, where you can either move out of the way or ask that your picture not be taken; but it's another when you don't even know it's going on. Next thing you know, your picture's on some website or something, and you never knew, never gave consent.
Where does his right to do that end and my right to know what's going on and have a say in the matter begin?
The problem is that it becomes a slippery slope. If you prohibit the horny beach voyeur from doing his thing with a law that outlaws any type of surreptitious public photography of subject matter likely to cause sexual arousal, then we also have to ban the guy who goes down to Fantasy Fest in Key West and photographs the girls walking down Duval Street wearing only thongs and body paint. Or a guy who likes to photograph beach scenes in which there happen to be women lying out in bikinis.
I was reading that this Texas law was used against photographers shooting pictures of women and children at various public events in which people were wearing skimpy attire. There have also been reports of people questioned at high school sporting events simply for taking pictures of the activities.
Maybe the way to circumvent the privacy concerns created by people like the horny beach voyeur is simply to outlaw all photography in specific restricted access places. Outlawing it only based on sexually arousing subject matter means allowing the cops to become thought police, interpreting the possible motivations of the alleged perpetrators. In a world that has become paranoid because of incessant media hype about sexual predators, this is a dangerous thing.
It looks like Texas isn't the only state with surreptitious erotic photography or "video voyeuring" laws.
According to this website, the states listed below "also prohibit what is known as upskirting and down-blousing." These laws "prohibit surreptitious or concealed photography and video recordings of an individual's body, under or through that person's clothing, without the individual's knowledge and consent, regardless of whether the individual is in a private or public location":
* Florida (Video Voyeurism, Fla. Stat. Ann. § 810145)
* New Hampshire
* New York
* North Carolina
* Rhode Island
* South Dakota
I understand that it can become a slippery slope. But to me, there is a clear difference between someone with a camera - anywhere in public - shooting pictures vs. someone who is hidden or using a hidden camera.
In that case, no, I don't think they have a greater right than I do.
People who are in Fantasy Fest or nude in a beach know what they're doing, know that there are or could be cameras around. And yet, even they should have a reasonable expectation that when they go pee, no one will be taking their picture.
Just as I have a reasonable right to expect that when I'm at the park or beach with my son, some guy with a hidden camera isn't snapping pictures of either one of us. Because if I were in either places and saw someone taking pictures, I would move out of their way; that would be my choice.
With a hidden camera, there is no choice, no awareness. And I have a real problem with that.
I take several hundred photos every month form nature to streets, houses & structures that I like. Generally not involving people. Recently I asked a fiend who is specialized in intellectual property law if I can use the photos of houses for my own website or for business purpose. I can.
The guy on the picture probably just a perv, but he could be a PI. Either way if he doesn't' break any law, we have no right to judge him. If he does this with the wrong people, he can find himself in more trouble than he had bargained for.
On the other hand, If somebody doesn't like his or her picture to be taken out in public places, have the right to stay at home. Taking photos can be restricted in some places, but forcing it everywhere can create a backlash.
It's such a tricky issue. If you say that it's okay for someone to shoot whatever pictures they want as long as the subjects are in public and the camera isn't hidden, then that opens the door for someone at a nude beach with a zoom on their camera to collect close-up crotch shots of everyone without their knowledge, as long as the camera isn't hidden. After all, a lot of the time, you might not realize that someone 50 feet away has zoomed in on you...they could be shooting any number of things.
Originally Posted by Tere
On the other hand, I enjoy shooting candid shots of people at the beach and on the boardwalk when I do photo essays on different locations around the area. People in those situations often tend to be scantily clad, and if we applied the Texas law described above and some law enforcement entity were to decide I was deriving some kind of gratification or amusement by doing this, I could be put in jail and labeled a felony sex offender. That's also scary and becomes a free speech issue.
I'm offering a $100 bounty to the first person who emails me a picture of Hidden Camera Guy's face.
That is an interesting law, Doug. There really is no way to control photography without imposing on freedoms, but I can understand a law banning obvious pervy stuff like upskirt shots.
Also, if Hidden Camera Guy had my phone, he wouldn't even have to hide. I could, in theory, shoot a live streaming video of people and they would never know. In this day and age, it is literally impossible to be completely protected.
Originally Posted by Maria de los Angeles
Wow...that sounds very Big Brother!
I guess I should hang on to a pic of me with two bobbies from my England trip in 1992! It might be a collector's item now! Either that or contraband...
Originally Posted by Doug
The explanation is clear and understandable. I bet they would let you take pictures with the regular street bobbies if you ask them nice. It's a tourist attraction and tourism is a serious business in England.
"Britain's Home Office said that the law was designed to protect police officers on counterterrorism operations. In many cases, officers could allow photographers to keep taking pictures. In other cases, they could ask them to stop or threaten them with arrest."
Unfortunately, anyone really wanting to do harm can still get pictures of the cops or a building structure using stealthy means. They'd probably be the last person wanting the cop to know a picture was in fact being taken.