FBI begins installation of $1 billion face recognition system



As RT reported earlier this week, the city of Los Angeles now considers photography in public space “suspicious,” and authorizes LAPD officers to file reports if they have reason to believe a suspect is up to no good. Those reports, which may not necessarily involve any arrests, crimes, charges or even interviews with the suspect, can then be filed, analyzed, stored and shared with federal and local agencies connected across the country to massive data fusion centers.

via FBI begins installation of $1 billion face recognition system across America — RT.

How will affect those are into ‘street photography‘ or just capturing candid shots of  people .  The park, the beach, the trails and anywhere where the space is not private may be off limits. Is that possible? Will all photographers be limited to studio work?Where do you think this is going?


THE LEGAL STUFF on Photographer’s Rights

I.Before we get started here, we have to point out that even though we’re smart and awesome and devastatingly attractive, we’re not lawyers. None of this should be construed as legal advice. If you have a legal issue, get in touch with a lawyer. Much of this information was gleaned from attorney Bert P. Krages‘ website, so we’ll go ahead and recommend him.


I. Anyone in a public place can take pictures of anything they want. Public places include parks, sidewalks, malls, etc. Malls? Yeah. Even though it’s technically private property, being open to the public makes it public space.

II. If you are on public property, you can take pictures of private property. If a building, for example, is visible from the sidewalk, it’s fair game.

III. If you are on private property and are asked not to take pictures, you are obligated to honor that request. This includes posted signs.

IV. Sensitive government buildings (military bases, nuclear facilities) can prohibit photography if it is deemed a threat to national security.

V. People can be photographed if they are in public (without their consent) unless they have secluded themselves and can expect a reasonable degree of privacy. Kids swimming in a fountain? Okay. Somebody entering their PIN at the ATM? Not okay.

VI. The following can almost always be photographed from public places, despite popular opinion:

  • accident & fire scenes, criminal activities
  • bridges & other infrastructure, transportation facilities (i.e. airports)
  • industrial facilities, Superfund sites
  • public utilities, residential & commercial buildings
  • children, celebrities, law enforcement officers
  • UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, Chuck Norris

VII. Although “security” is often given as the reason somebody doesn’t want you to take photos, it’s rarely valid. Taking a photo of a publicly visible subject does not constitute terrorism, nor does it infringe on a company’s trade secrets.

VIII. If you are challenged, you do not have to explain why you are taking pictures, nor to you have to disclose your identity (except in some cases when questioned by a law enforcement officer.)

IX. Private parties have very limited rights to detain you against your will, and can be subject to legal action if they harass you.

X. If someone tries to confiscate your camera and/or film, you don’t have to give it to them. If they take it by force or threaten you, they can be liable for things like theft and coercion. Even law enforcement officers need a court order.


  • Be respectful and polite. Use good judgement and don’t escalate the situation.
  • If the person becomes combative or difficult, think about calling the police.
  • Threats, detention, and taking your camera are all grounds for legal or civil actions on your part. Be sure to get the person’s name, employer, and what legal grounds they claim for their actions.
  • If you don’t want to involve the authorities, go above the person’s head to their supervisor or their company’s public relations department.
  • Call your local TV and radio stations and see if they want to do a story about your civil liberties.
  • Put the story on the web yourself if need be.


  • We’ve condensed these facts a great deal. We recommend downloading The Photographer’s Right and keeping a couple of copies in your camera bag if you’re shooting somewhere you might expect trouble.
  • Andrew Kantor has written a good article and a PDF summary of your rights, including some of the ins-and-outs of publishing your pictures.
  • The Legal Handbook for Photographers is a great resource covering all aspects of photography and the law.
  • Live outside the United States? Try these links for photographer’s rights inCanadathe United KingdomAustralia and New Zealand.________________________________________________________________Before 7AM – first paddle boarder, first fisherman and maybe, first dog.

Then what about this?


4 comments on “FBI begins installation of $1 billion face recognition system

  1. I love street photography and shoot a lot of images at Niagara Falls State Park of people enjoying the magnificence of the Falls and scenery. I posted them on my site and too many readers condemned that I used images of people without permission. I posted a lawyers take, like you did with your rules above but that did not mean much to the readers. They looked at it as a personal imposition.

    Yet on a photography site, it might have been considered good photography. It depends on the audience I guess. I took down the post. I think you did a good job here with both images and explanation. Also, the Sons are back. Yippy.

  2. You just never know – I guess if the people you are capturing complain, then that might be an issue. I’ve never run into that. One time I was at the small, but very busy airport here and taking pictures. Someone came out and told me to stop, if it had been film I am sure they would have ripped it out of my camera. As was, I thought they would take my camera or memory card. They asked if I had a pictures with tail ID that I blur that out. I haven’t been back . . . this was after 911 and I am sure there were lots of security issues here.

    So you are happy the Sons are once again causing mischief and mayhem . . . although I am not a ‘biker babe’ I do work with bikers in the ministry of Bikers for Christ International. Getting read to work on some flyers and monthly newsletter for them.
    Keep looking up.

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