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RECORDING

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CAMERAS ARE EVERYWHERE

It does not matter where you go, there is always the possibility that you are being video recorded. Whether you walk down the street, go to a store or shopping centre, business premises or even a doctor's waiting room, the chances are that you will be recorded by CCTV cameras.

You may not like the idea that you are under surveillance by video cameras in literally every place, but this is how modern society operates these days. The law allows recording literally everything anywhere except for the recording of intimate private parts of people or when they are performing private functions such as going to the toilet or having a shower.

RECORDING IN PUBLIC

The one thing that everybody must understand is that there is no expectation of privacy in any public place. Outside of your private premises, anybody can video record you in any public place and what's more, they do not need your permission or consent to do so. Many people are under the impression that if somebody wants to record them in any public place, that they need to be given consent. Not at all. Anybody can record you in the street, park or any other public place and there is absolutely nothing you can do that can stop them from doing so.

The most important thing to remember is that the eyes cannot be trespassed. Nobody has the legal right to stop you looking at something, therefore nobody has the legal right to stop you recording what your eyes can see. If you record somebody's private premises from a public place, that is perfectly legal and if they don't like it, they can build a high wall around their premises.

RECORDING IN PRIVATE

Recording people in private places such as homes is different, however this can still be done under certain circumstances. For instance, if you feel that you need to record a matter of legal importance, the law allows you to do so and it stipulates that it must be to protect your legal interests. And the fact that you are recording in such a manner does not even have to be disclosed to anybody. But it is always good to video record legal matters, such as interviews with police or other authorities. Hard video and audio evidence beats any verbal testimony in court every time.

RECORDING CHILDREN

I will state on the record that I hate paedophilia with a passion and have always advocated the mandatory death penalty for convicted child molesters. However, many people don't understand the law in regard to photographing kids and there have been many instances of angry parents abusing and even assaulting people who were photographing or video recording their kids.

Recording kids in public places is exactly the same as recording anything else in public. There is no expectation of privacy whatsoever. People are not required to ask permission from the parents of children in public in order to record them. Nobody has the right to stop people recording or photographing their kids in public and if they try to do so, or resort to violence, they could find themselves in very deep legal hot water.

What parents need to be told is that they and their kids are constantly being recorded, whether they like it or not and there is nothing that they can do about it. When they walk down the street, there are CCTV cameras recording them. The same thing happens in every shopping centre, every building and in most cafes and restaurants, doctor's waiting rooms and almost everywhere else. So if you are accosted by enraged parents because you are recording their kids, just remind them of these facts and that what you are doing is completely legal - and if they try to prevent you from exercising your legal rights, they could be prosecuted and sued.

BAITING BY CAMERAS

With the advent of Youtube and other video portals on the Internet, people have discovered that they can generate incomes from uploading video clips of various things and receiving payments for the advertisements attached to those video clips. Some people have made a profession out of baiting people and capturing their reactions on those video clips.

The problem with most people is that they do not realise that anybody in a public place can record whatever they can see - the eyes cannot trespass, therefore neither can their cameras. So a person can actually stand on the footpath outside your home and record anything that can be seen - even through open windows. Residents who spot these video recordists pointing their cameras at them when they are on their own properies often get very upset, but they need to understand that if they can be seen from a public place, such as the footpath, they can be recorded and their consent is not required. They can even be recorded through their windows.

FIRST AMENDMENT AUDITORS

In the USA, a cottage industry has developed from what Americans call their First Amendment rights that guarantee freedom of speech under the US Constitution. So these self-appointed guardians of the Constitution, these people who call themselves "First Amendment Auditors" go out with their cameras and stand outside various premises, such as businesses and record what they can see from the street, mostly pointing their cameras at people on those premises.

Almost invariably, people on those premises will object to themselves and their companies being recorded and they will accost the cameramen and demand that they stop recording. What they don't realise is that they have been baited through their ignorance of the legal and constitutional rights of those cameramen. Invariably when they call the police, they are told that the cameramen are within their rights to be recording anything that they can see from a public place. Meanwhile, those cameramen have collected video clips of angry people and cops who are told to get lost because no laws had been broken. Those video clips are uploaded to Youtube and other video portals to amuse viewers and generate revenue from advertising.

It seems that most people do not understand that video recording from a public place is competely legal. For instance, there are countless video clips taken outside of military bases, police stations and prisons, where security guards, police and prison officers charge out and accost the cameramen and demand that they stop video recording those premises. They claim that the cameramen are breaking laws or being a threat to security, however invariably they are wrong. They are never able to quote those alleged laws, simply that those laws do not exist. The fact that those cameramen are quite visible and not skulking around taking their shots from hiding means that security cannot be an issue.

But the cameramen almost invariably get the sort of reactions on video that they want - angry guards, angry cops and angry civilians who simply do not understand that they have been baited for those reactions and they have become cannon-fodder for those cameramen.

DEALING WITH CAMERAMEN

People need to educate themselves. They need to understand what can and cannot be done in public and in private in regard to recording. Here is a summary of what ever person should know:

You need to understand your rights and how the law works. But even lawyers and police have no idea of certain laws and rights, so you should educate yourself and be able to uphold your legal and civil rights at all times. I have personally had encounters with police who tried to order me to stop recording them and I had to educate them, which led me to realise that most cops don't have a clue about most laws, which is very unfortunate.

The best way to always protect your legal and civil rights is to record encounters with police, other officials and any adversaries, understanding that just as you have a right to record others, they have a right to record you. So if you are out somewhere and see somebody pointing a camera at you, just know that they are within their legal rights to record you from any public place. Ignore them completely and you won't get baited and made to look foolish.

If you intend to go out in public and make recordings, especially of so-called sensitive areas such as police stations, courthouses, military facilities or prisons, always make sure that you make those recordings from a footpath, walkway, bridge or any other designated public place. If you embark on such a venture, remember that forewarned is forearmed and if cops or anybody else tell you that you are not allowed to record, let them know in the strongest terms that you can do so from the public place where you are at - and they have no business ordering you to stop recording or anything else.