Thursday, 1 July 2010

Section 44 Is Dead

Great news - the European Court of Human Rights has rejected an attempt by the government to appeal the court's ruling in January that Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, giving police the powers to to stop and search people without grounds for suspicion, is in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

A Home Office spokesman told Amateur Photographer magazine: "The Government has already committed to reviewing counter-terrorism legislation which will include the operation of the Section 44 stop-and-search provisions... We are currently giving full consideration to the judgement and its implications." Roughly translated, this says 'we have no idea what happens now'.

With evident confusion amongst serving police officers too, Amateur Photographer is giving away a free lense cloth with its 10 July issue with the rules on photography in public places printed on it.

Meanwhile, the campaigners from 'I'm A Photographer Not A Terrorist' are gathering outside New Scotland Yard at 12 noon on Sunday 4th July to celebrate the death of section 44 with a 'victory flashmob' - I look forward to seeing a few friends there and hopefully to congratulating Jules Mattsson in person for robustly standing up for his rights.


The Metro reported yesterday that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has again issued schools with advice that makes it clear they should not to stop parents from taking pictures at sports days. In a press statement [PDF], Deputy Commissioner and Director of Data Protection, David Smith, said:

"A photo of your child at their first school production or winning the 100m race on sports day preserves precious memories. The Data Protection Act in no way stops parents from taking such photos. A common sense approach should be taken to photography at school events. Photos for personal use, such as family albums, are not covered by the Act. Schools that cite the Act to prevent parents from taking pictures are wrong."

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