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Robrt (1414)

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robert at perl dot org

Journal of Robrt (1414)

Saturday November 16, 2002
10:07 PM

Photographing Public Buildings

[ #8986 ]
I was at the doggy place today photographing dogs for their website. I'd gotten in the habit of walking over to the grass across the street in front of the power plant to take pictures, because they looked so much nicer.

Today, a security guard told me that I couldn't take pictures there. "Why?", I asked. She wasn't really sure. Something having to do with the power plant being a potential terrorist target. If I moved back 2 feet so I was on the sidewalk, I was off the property and could photograph as much as I wanted. Silly, huh? The guard was nice, and apparently determined that three german shepherds, two women, and myself were not a terrorist threat.

Still, something is wrong when you can't photograph a public building. Especially the non-power parts of it. There is a picture on the web here that would be much more useful. Not to mention the hundreds of better angles and the fact that someone could be across the street with a telephoto lens hiding in a car.

I'm not sure who to complain to (if anyone) about the incident. I understand why they are concerned, and that the security guard was just doing her job, but it's a silly rule.

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  • On NPR the other day I heard that railfans are being hassled by police because they are suspeciously looking when they are sitting and counting trains.

    -- ask bjoern hansen [], !try; do();

    • Well, the story on All Things Considered [] was about one group of railfans dealing with the Ft. Worth police and the FBI. It may have been a "hassle", but even the interviewee admits that what he was doing could seem suspicious and he understands the concern.

      He says the police and federal agents were very nice and professional. He wasn't arrested, only detained until the FBI counter-terrorist agent could get there.

      It's a suspicious activity. People concerned about security respond to suspicious activity.
  • What would you do if you were in charge of the physical security of a power plant and the FBI told you it was a terrorist target?

    Remember, any good terrorist, and apparently there are some good ones, study their targets pretty well. Bad guys good at their jobs don't hide in the bushes and do tricky things. More that likely they'll walk up to the fence with a friend, or three dogs, and start taking pictures. When the guard asks them what their doing, they'll apologize and move on.

    This way, not only do