On the bright side, the mainstream media in the United Kingdom seems to be making a determined effort to expose the insanity and paranoia behind Section 44 of the Terrorism Act, which is the UK’s version of the Patriot Act, meaning it gives police blanket powers to harass and intimidate photographers.
But on the dark side, police in the UK do not appear to be softening their stance against photographers – even though an official memo was sent out to police departments ordering officers to stop harassing photographers under this law.
In the above video, journalist Paul Lewis of The Guardian tests out whether or not the memo had any effect on the overbearing and illogical approach to dealing with photographers taking pictures in public, even though it has already been proven it hasn’t.
Lewis started taking photos of London’s Gherkin Tower, a uniquely designed landmark that naturally draws photographers. He was immediately accosted by a security guard who demand to see his footage and told him he was not allowed to film the building.
Lewis refused to show him the footage, which of course, drew even more security guards, an undercover cop and eventually, a uniformed cop.
One security guard told him he was allowed to film the top of the building but not the bottom.
The undercover cop put his hand in front of his lens and told him to stop filming his face.
The undercover cop also told him that the security guards were “concerned about the way you are filming” – whatever that’s supposed to mean.
Then he told him, “If you got nothing to concern yourself about, you got nothing to concern yourself about,” when Lewis refused to show his footage.
The undercover cop told him to wait until the uniformed cops got there and Lewis asked if he has to wait. The undercover cop warned him he would follow him around if he refused to wait.
The undercover cop insisted that Lewis tell him why he is filming and Lewis refused on the grounds that his information would end up getting logged in a police file, which the cop confirmed.
Then the uniformed cop arrived on the scene and ordered him he to show his footage under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act.
After several minutes of bickering, Lewis finally allowed them to view his footage after they threatened him with arrest.