Wednesday, September 8, 2010

TSA General Aviation Poster Encourages Vigilance

Photagrapher Taking Picture of Aircraft
Photo Courtesy of Stevec77 @ Flickr
TSA’s twitter feed was abuzz today with tweets about an article concerning a General Aviation (GA) poster aimed at encouraging the GA community to be vigilant. The poster in question is one of several posters used as part of general aviation vigilance that was launched several years ago, but this one struck a nerve with photographers because it shows a person with their lens steadied towards a GA aircraft.

Some felt this poster didn’t go far enough in distinguishing between general photography and suspicious surveillance activity. These images are simply meant to represent a number of different scenarios that are common in and around GA airfields. In fact, many photographers would be prime candidates to use such vigilance programs to report suspicious activity since they’re extremely observant of their surroundings. TSA works closely with members of the GA community to implement security protocols and programs to ensure the safety of the industry.

For the most current information, visit our GA site.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team


80 comments:

David Parker Brown said...

I don't plane spot too often, but I do take a lot of photos while I travel. I used to take photos using my HD camcorder (which also took photos), but because of campaigns like these, I constantly get bad looks from passengers and security. I have had to change to a "normal" camera so I do not get harassed. I have been harassed by the TSA for taking completely legal photos in airports.

I am fine with advertising to make sure people keep an eye out, but there should also be training for security personnel and passengers that just because you are taking photographs, doesn't make you suspicious.

David
AirlineReporter.com

Anonymous said...

Hang the poster next to the coffee machine in GA, and someone might notice it.

Anonymous said...

Homeland Security has a history of harassing photographers. Explain away your point of view as much as you want, but I want to know why I was harassed for taking a picture of a gargoyle on the old Phoenix City Hall by a uniformed Homeland Security Officer. Had I known my right back then, I would have stood up for myself - I will next time and I am to you now.

If you do not want it photographed, do not allow it to be visible to the public.

Randy said...

Bob,

I'm sorry. I must be really slow today. What is the problem?

Randy

MichaelK said...

The thing is, if someone knows something is wrong, they already know to call the "proper authorities."

This isn't even something that needs an "awareness campaign."

walterparada said...

It is very important, I believe, for agencies, such as the TSA, to work closely with photographers, particularly local and commercial professionals, to establish an open dialog. The TSA should know what photographers are going for when photographing aviation while conveying such memorandums across departments, like Homeland Security.

It ostensibly become infuriating when those of authority scrutinize, or harass, legitimate photographers and question their actions, citizenship, and purpose of the photos. Such confrontations have even lead to arrests and needless legal action.

As a professional photographer -- one who is actually quite defiant at these questionable post-9/11 policies -- believes ALL photographers are still protected under the law where no person of authority should have license to harass and bully a photographer snapping shutter at a plane, building, statue, or street. It's getting to the point of ridiculous where authorities are blurring the lines between someone who is suspicious versus someone who is legitimate.

And I encourage all on-location/outdoor oriented photographers reading this to download an important, one-page document of "The Photographers Rights" by attorney Bert P. Krages:

http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm

Study this well and carry it in your camera bag!

Anonymous said...

Not good enough, Bob. As you said (buried) at the end of your post, we aviation photographers can be a great asset to the security around airports.
I personally have been able to report open gates around the perimeter fence, flocks of birds at the approach end of the runway, and suspicious behavior... and this was all BEFORE I became a registered aviation photographer at our airport. We are not doing anything illegal by taking photographs and enjoying our hobby.
Your poster is a serious detriment to the cooperation we aviation hobbyists are willing to extend to airport police and the TSA. Get rid of it.

A. Keith said...

As a professional aerospace and media photographer, I find the poster very troubling, and not at all helpful. If you're media, photography is a constitutional right. And further, the constitution guarantees presumed innocence. A poster like this labels anyone shooting at an airport fence line as a possible terrorist. We then are forced to go through stressful and embarrassing grilling by local law enforcement officers who often have less-than-adequate knowledge of the laws regarding the permissibility of photography from public spaces. I have personal experience with this at LAX while shooting for a book project. A much better poster would have been one with a photographer and off in the distance someone trying to scale the fence, with a tag line like "Photographers...if you see something suspicious, please shoot and report!"

Jason McDowell said...

If the TSA truly believes what they say in this post, they'll they'll dedicate resources to establishing and maintaining Airport Watch programs (http://www.metroairports.org/police/docs/mspairportwatch8.5x11tri.pdf) and they'll reopen outdoor observation decks.

Joe Fernandez said...

Aviation photographers and spotters can be found at practically most major and smaller airports around the world. They document aviation history and also serve as "eyes in the sky" who report unusual activity since they have good knowledge of airports. Spotters also report aviation violations and other incidents that do not get reported to the control tower as some spotters carry scanners and cell phones. I have reported past incidents myself in which one required the closure of a runway due to debris from a "serious scrape" and another was to report a main landing wheel get loose from a DC-8 during landing.....both incidents could have led to a major accident involving debris (FOD). Some airports are even considering a program to fingerprint and badge local photographers as part of their volunteer program. With this, they would be allowed to photograph most outside areas and report security/safety concerns as well as maybe be considered for future positions and assignments with the airport. This poster could have been made a different manner because due to the way it is depicted, it will definitely increase public concern by reporting innocent hobby photographers, even at photo designated areas or view lots. As a photographer for over 35 years, I would like to see this changed and welcome the TSA to come with us and learn more about our hobby, past - present - and future. We love aviation and work with airports whenever possible.

Aaron said...

Vigilant of what? The poster doesn't say. The poster only shows a man in a hoodie taking pictures.

Here's a simple question: Is the act depicted in the photo a threat or suspicious activity? If so, why? If not, why include the photo on the poster?

Anonymous said...

I am a railroad enthusiast and we and our hobby have been subjected to an extraordinary amount of harassment thanks to campaigns such as this. I can only imagine the damage this poster will do to airline enthusiasts.

The Department of Homeland Security and other authorities cannot be trusted to respect photographer's rights. The New York Civil Liberties Union is currently suing DHS for arresting and harassing photographers who LEGALLY take pictures of federal buildings in Lower Manhattan from public space. Posters like this give tacit permission to overzealous law enforcement officers to harass and abuse photographers.

Photography is NOT a crime - stop the harassment!

Jesse said...

The poster show's a hooded photographer wearing dark clothing. The implication being that this photographer is a threat to the safety of the aircraft. The reader of the poster is further implored to report what they see. Do you really think someone with such sinister intentions would make themselves so conspicuous?

Every day hundres of thousands of people take pictures at airports with their phones and pocket cameras. If I wanted to get away with something I'd be blending in with them.

abelard said...

Perhaps the TSA leaders can step up to the plate and educate the TSOs in the field about the rights of photographers.

Twice in the past two years I have been approached by TSOs while shooting photos atop the parking garage at Terminal 4 at Sky Harbor in Phoenix that I was not allowed to do so and that if I didn't stop, Phoenix Police would be summoned. I told them to call the police then and we would sort it out at that time. Of course, it was all nonsense as the police never showed up nor would they have told me that I was not allowed to take photos at a municipal airport.

Stop harassing photographers.

Zak said...

Most spotters and aviation photographers will indeed report any suspicious activity they see around airports. They can actively help making airports and aviation more secure.

Now, if TSA is aware of that - as the blog post says - then why does TSA use a (staged) image of a photographer on a poster that asks people to report suspicious activity?

It should be obvious that this will inevitably lead to photography being regarded as suspicious activity. A misunderstanding we have to fight far too often already, anyway.

Why do you target people who are in a perfect position to help you?

It doesn't make sense.

Stefan

Anonymous said...

As a TSA employee, I understand how SOME suspicion might come upon someone who is taking pictures of say the airfield, or is hanging around in areas that people normally don't hang around in. When I first came to TSA, it bothered me that people could take photos around the checkpoint area, this practice was not prohibited, but I thought it should be. Only because of the nature of what we do on the checkpoint, I thought and still think for that matter, that photos within a certain distance of the checkpoint should be prohibited. But as I gained experience as a TSO, I became aware that the majority of picture taking is of friends and family who are flying out, and this is totally harmless. What I don't like is when someone tries to take a picture while I'm screening someone, I don't want to be in your photos, not to mention that other passengers are in the screening area, children etc,and these individuals may not want to be in your pictures either. Getting to the GA topic, again, if it's an area that normally isn't traversed by passengers/photographers, I would deem it suspicious.

Sandra said...

The entire "See Something, Say Something" is nothing more than a campaign to keep the populace fearful and compliant.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the TSA should take some hints from Greater Manchester Police:

GMP poster

Anonymous said...

Dear TSA,
As a professional aviation photographer I find the ad campaign to be both tasteless and offensive. I implore you to do away with it ASAP. Would you make an ad with a doctor, lawyer, teacher or priest in their professional environment and encourage outsiders to report them if they act in a manner conducive to their profession? Of course not! That is why this ill-conceived ad campaign must be abolished.

There are literally millions of photos of aircraft on the internet that anyone can view. Why would a terrorist bother taking photos in public when they could look at better images at home any time they want? Further more if terrorists wanted to take images of planes they could use telephoto lenses from miles away and never be seen. The campaign just goes to show your ignorance of the reality of the situation.

WE ARE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE and WE will not give into FEAR. WE WILL NOT accept your COLD WAR tactics and tattle-tale games to be manipulated into being at each others' throats. WE WILL NOT JUMP everytime you say "boo." WE BELIEVE in LIFE, LIBERTY & the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

Photography is not a crime.

Freedom is not a crime.

Living our lives is not a crime.

Jim Huggins said...

Bob, you wrote:

These images are simply meant to represent a number of different scenarios that are common in and around GA airfields.

It doesn't matter what TSA's intentions were in putting these images out. The images themselves create the impression that photography is inherently suspicious behavior, independently of TSA's intentions in the matter.

It doesn't matter what message y'all intended to convey; it matters what message you actually conveyed. Y'all should pull those images immediately.

Anonymous said...

I wrote a letter to Ada Johnson with the DHS. Here is what I wrote.

Dear Ms. Johnson,

I am writing you today to ask you if the following poster was actually printed and distributed by the TSA? If so, I would like to voice my extreme displeasure about it.

I, along with many other aviation enthusiast have received a bad reputation since 9/11 for no valid reason, at all.

This poster insinuates that just because a person has a camera and next to an airport fence, this person is a dangerous individual, and possibly a terrorist.

This is not true, not true at all. I have been an airliner enthusiast for over 25 years, I've been published in magazines, written articles for airline magazines and have also been paid by numerous aircraft manufacturers for my photographs of their aircraft.

It is my belief that people like myself, who tend to know many other aircraft enthusiast in a given area, would be your agency's first line of defense if we see something suspicious.

For your organization to publish a poster showing a person with a camera as someone that should be viewed with suspicion is a complete misrepresentation of aviation photographers and enthusiast.

In closing, I am also going to show this poster to all of my aviation enthusiast friends and encourage them to write you voicing their displeasure about this, as well.

I look forward to your reply.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, many photographers would be prime candidates to use such vigilance programs to report suspicious activity"

Yes. They would.

And instead of reaching out and building relationships you vilify and alienate them.

You have created a culture that treats pax as adversaries. Shouting and barking imperiously. Your problems are not a 'few bad apples'. You have deep rooted, systemic problems and are in denial about them.

Eagle_Spotter said...

To the nameless TSA employee that doesn't like being photographed while performing your duties. I'm sorry you don't it but you work in a public environment where there is no expectation of privacy.

There is nothing in the nature of what you do that needs to be hidden from public view, because if it's not in the public view it means your trying to hide or lie about something... Which there more to this can of worms but is OT. If you don't like it quit and go work somewhere else where your not in the public eye or where there is a expectation of privacy.

Curtis it's ironic you mention photographers taking photos outside the parameter of airfields. It seems like TSA workforce especially the SPOTs need a reminder as well especially after two well documented cases recently (SDF & IAH) where photographers where harrassed and retaliated against. In both cases the photography was in the public area if a terminal, and in the case at IAH the BDOs followed the photographer in the public area of the terminal and the called in HPD to harass and detain the photographer for some made up reason..

In this case the photographer is a lawyer so Curtis I would like to know why is TSA continuing to harass and violate the constitutional rights of persons outside of the sterile area and checkpoint? This should be interesting to see how it plays out as TSA is way out of line in these cases. What is it going to take Curtis to get the harassment and civil right violations? A lawsuit? TSA employees going to jail ( not only the employees involved but there supervisors, mgmt, etc as well)?

If this post doesn't appear by midnight Friday (since posts are being censored or left in the cue unposted) I will be adding this to my letter to the OIG along with my unanswered complaint about recent harassment at dfw by TSA employees while taking pictures from not only the public side of the terminal but also my favorite perch to plane spot that is not on DFW property but public property not owned by any government (local, state or federal). I know my rights (you might want to google -- photographers rights curtis) and stand up for them. The look on the TSA employees face was priceless when the Irving PD officer not only to get lost as he had no leg to stand with the baseless "accusations" on but that the cop wasn't going to give him any of my information.

Anonymous said...

The 9/11 terrorists didn’t photograph anything. Nor did the London transport bombers, the Madrid subway bombers, or the liquid bombers arrested in 2006. Timothy McVeigh didn’t photograph the Oklahoma City Federal Building. The Unabomber didn’t photograph anything; neither did shoe-bomber Richard Reid. Photographs aren’t being found amongst the papers of Palestinian suicide bombers. The IRA wasn’t known for its photography. Even those manufactured terrorist plots that the US government likes to talk about — the Ft. Dix terrorists, the JFK airport bombers, the Miami 7, the Lackawanna 6 — no photography.

Bruce Schneier 2008:

Anonymous said...

"public property not owned by any government (local, state or federal). I know my rights..."

And you are a lawyer?

So, if the property is NOT owned by either local, state or federal governments wouldn't that make it private property?

Anonymous said...

So, what's the fear? Someone going to take photos? Then what?

If anyone cares to think the security through, photos are close to the most innocuous activity people may engage in. What's a terrorist going to do with photos? You don't need a photo to plan something. Is a terrorist going to expose himself before the terror act? Probably not.

Are TSA people afraid of being photographed while stealing, harassing or dope-dealing? Or is it just a control thing?

Ayn R. Key said...

Wow.

Good going TSA, you just created a whole new batch of people who dislike you with great intensity.

You weren't satisfied with the number of people who already hated your agency?

The nice thing about this blog is it enables new people who have new cause to hate your agency to talk to us old timers so they can find out even more things that are wrong with the TSA.

Anonymous said...

Eagle spotter said:
To the nameless TSA employee that doesn't like being photographed while performing your duties. I'm sorry you don't it but you work in a public environment where there is no expectation of privacy.

There is nothing in the nature of what you do that needs to be hidden from public view, because if it's not in the public view it means your trying to hide or lie about something... Which there more to this can of worms but is OT. If you don't like it quit and go work somewhere else where your not in the public eye or where there is a expectation of privacy.
***********************************
Expectation of privacy? No...maybe not...but the ability to complete the task at hand without being interupted by a flash bulb in my eyes, yes I have an expectation of that.....if your picture taking interferes with what I'm doing, I'm going to tell you about it, like it or not. Take it OFF the checkpoint, and do it somewhere else, and one question for you Mr. Eagle Spotter, would you want your children or other family members in someone else's photos? Not me....so take your camera off the checkpoint, and take your pictures all you want on the other side. I don't need an expectation of privacy, I have a valid expectation to be able to do my job without distraction.

Anonymous said...

I know what your job is, and I know the limits of your authority. You do not have the authority to stop anyone from taking pictures of aircraft, airports, people, pilots, or ground equipment. That has not stopped you from harassing people in the interest of the purported safety theater.

All you are doing with this misdirection is making it easier for someone bent on mischief to evade the watchers and put people at risk.

Stop your campaign of thought crime, and pre-crime. You are not pre-cogs, and you have no right to interfere with people exercising their constitutional right to assemble, and expression.

This campaign, like everything else the DHS does is filled with fear-mongering where none exists, and puts citizen against citizen. I would be safer if the TSA never existed, and my property would be safer as well. A complete failure, from start to end.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? This is what the TSA is spending money on?

When was the last time the TSA caught a hoodied terrorist surveillance team photographing an airport?

HobbyPhoto said...

Come on people, it is just a poster meant to represent "suspicious activity" not all photographers! Stop being paranoid, the government is not out to get you! This is a general awareness campaign and not an attack on photography enthusiasts.

Awareness campaigns are important to everyone. How soon we forget the events of the past. We need to stay ever vigilant and one way to help people do that is campaigns such as this.

I, for one, will thank anyone for their vigilance if they question me about my photography subjects or actions. While I may be a legitimate photographer, there are others that are planning and plotting against our society. If a few moments of inconvenience for me deters or stops someone from carrying out the next 9/11, then I welcome it.

Anonymous said...

Way to "analyze the social media"!

LOL

Anonymous said...

Yep, watch out for photographers standing openly in public photographing public things. (Which is constitutionally permitted.)

Don't worry about foreign nationals in flight schools.

Don't worry about the detailed surveillance that's available on Google Maps and Google Street View....

Focus your efforts people. You're charged with protecting the American public.

Anonymous said...

More job justification? How long before TSA person (maybe one of your 'mind readers') nabs a citizen for looking in the 'wrong place'?

It serves the American people right. The planes are still crowded. Citizens still willingly submit to humiliation to board their commercial flights. Nothing will change until a substantial number of citizens say; "Enough!", turn on their heel and use alternative transportation, electronic conferencing or just stay put.

RB said...

Another TSA Anon said the following......

Expectation of privacy? No...maybe not...but the ability to complete the task at hand without being interupted by a flash bulb in my eyes, yes I have an expectation of that.....if your picture taking interferes with what I'm doing, I'm going to tell you about it, like it or not. Take it OFF the checkpoint, and do it somewhere else, and one question for you Mr. Eagle Spotter, would you want your children or other family members in someone else's photos? Not me....so take your camera off the checkpoint, and take your pictures all you want on the other side. I don't need an expectation of privacy, I have a valid expectation to be able to do my job without distraction.

September 9, 2010 8:47 PM
................
TSA Anon, I would suggest you check with your legal department before getting your feathers all puffed up.

Taking photos of the checkpoint is legal. You have no expectation of privacy and interferring in someones legal activity is a civil rights violation.

Anonymous said...

Why did you get rid of the poster? Is it so that people don't understand the anger of the first several comments?

Anonymous said...

When will we rid ourselves of the TSA, the most invasive, anti-American, and frankly USELESS agency I have ever come across, in any country, ever.

George said...

Law enforcement officers and "security" people have always seemed to have an inherent enmity toward photographers. That's probably because photographers can potentially document embarrassing things that they'd prefer to keep secret.

So it's not surprising that photographers have become a target in the War on Terror. Conveniently, there are a lot more photographers than terrorists, so targeting photographers gives everyone from police officers to rent-a-cops frequent opportunities to feel like they're contributing to the War by hassling photographers.

It's not just uniformed officials who are using photographers as convenient proxies for terrorists. I'm a serious amateur photographer who works alone. I too often get accusatory questions from ordinary people who see me photographing something that doesn't include family members. It clearly isn't idle curiosity that motivates questions about what I'm taking pictures of and why I'm taking them.

I have learned that the best approach is to pretend that they're not reacting to the irrational fear incited by posters like this, but are genuinely interested in the art of photography. I welcome them sweetly, and gush effusively about the principles of composition and what I'm trying to achieve artistically, and even let them look through the viewfinder. The sweetness and openness always seems to assuage their fears, and occasionally the act of explaining gives me an idea of how I can make the picture better. I wish I didn't have to justify my activities to suspicious citizens, but that's an unfortunate effect when Authorities find it useful to encourage people to fear everything.

The worst thing, of course, is that those terrorists who aren't content with Google Earth will most likely use ubiquitous and unobtrusive cellphone cameras to case their targets. So making people fearful of people carrying dedicated photographic equipment don't merely stifle the rights of photographers doing perfectly lawful things. It's uselessly going after the wrong target!

Unfortunately, the TSA's leadership apparently thinks perpetuating the fear of photographers is somehow beneficial.

Anonymous said...

What is really sad is I am not aware of terrorists using lenses as big as the one in the picture. When a terrorist gets arrested for taking pictures with a Canon 1D and L series glass (or Nikon equivalent) then the TSA and department of Homeland security has the right to give me a hard time around federal facilities.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Seriously? This is what the TSA is spending money on?

When was the last time the TSA caught a hoodied terrorist surveillance team photographing an airport?

September 10, 2010 12:25 AM
............

When is the last time TSA caught any terrorist?

Anonymous said...

Dang, can't you guys even get the easy stuff right without stepping in it?!?

That chip on your shoulder is getting so large, as an organization you can't even see around it anymore. Way to go, TSA.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous TSO said:

"would you want your children or other family members in someone else's photos? Not me...."

You mean other than the surveillance video taken at the checkpoint, and the photos taken by the AIT that show the genitalia of my children?

Of course the alternative is to allow a TSO to physically touch my children using their "enhanced pat down" techniques.

Anonymous said...

This is an incredibly ill-conceived campaign. Idiotic might be a better word. TSA needs to respect the full, unabridged rights of photographers to operate in and around airports. We are hobbyists, aviation enthusiasts, photography enthusiasts and professionals.

The presupposition that just because someone is taking pictures makes them a potential suspect is foolish and is further indicative of TSA's out of control agenda.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Why did you get rid of the poster? Is it so that people don't understand the anger of the first several comments?

September 10, 2010 10:51 AM
.................

Replaced with a photo of a person taking pictures of WWII aircraft.

Yeah, better arrest that person, they are really suspicious.

Anonymous said...

You guys got it all wrong. The TSA is not saying that photographers are suspicious, they are saying that pilot are! See the photographer is a TSA Vigilante keeping us free from terror pilots and their single engine weapons of mass destruction. Least we forget the damage a Cessna 150 could bring upon this county. Even more scary is the free movement of the citizens of the US. They might, GASP!, also then start to share ideas!

Global Traveler said...

A class at my daughters school had an assignment that consisted of determining the meaning of pictures and posters that did not appear to clearly articulate their meaning, (even when captions were included). It was a part of a communications class assignment. This poster and two other versions were picked by the students along with several others including a Nike poster and an IPOD add.

Believe it or not, while I was unclear of the meaning, the students in the class unanimously determined that the message was to the photographers: Be vigilant and report suspicious activity that you see. It was determined by tenth graders that TSA was asking the photographers to keep a look out, not be on the lookout for photographers.

What do you make of that?

I think that since they have no dog in this fight, they can see the poster without prejudice and make a more informed determination of its intent.

Just a thought. You see what you see much more clearly when you are not emotionally invested.

Sandra said...

George wrote: "...the TSA's leadership apparently thinks...."

The trouble is, George, that TSA's leadership doesn't think about much of anything, all they can do is react.

George said...

@Global Traveler: Just a thought. You see what you see much more clearly when you are not emotionally invested.

That's true, but it doesn't excuse or justify what the TSA is doing. First, at least some people can interpret the poster to mean that the TSA considers photographers somehow associated with terrorism. If that's not the message the TSA intends to send (and I suspect it might be), then the poster needs to be discontinued as inappropriate.

Second, many of us are "emotionally invested" in the so-called War on Terror. That's what our government wants, at least to the extent that we feel enough fear to make us willingly surrender our liberty and privacy to "officers" in uniforms. They apparently believe that the Homeland will be more secure if everyone is afraid of everything.

Anonymous said...

Our once great, once proud nation has come to this? Government workers playing petty terror games on the American people? Is there no shame?

Mind reading (SPOT), rumor mongering, bullying, strip searching. More like Salem, Massachusetts, 1692 than the USA should be in 2010. What will history say?

Anonymous said...

I would be willing to start some dialouge with the local authorities. and if i could go up the chain of command at the federal level, i would like to do it. i am unemployed, and have nothing better to do right now, but stick up for my fellow photographers, professional, amateur, and in between. i think that if someone were to educate these people on our hobby, and profession, they might get the idea, that most of us were on the up and up, just having fun at the airport.

George said...

@Sandra: The trouble is, George, that TSA's leadership doesn't think about much of anything, all they can do is react.

Sure, no thinking is evident evident among the visible employees at checkpoints. Why bother with thinking when yelling is so much easier? But that doesn't mean that their bosses invisibly ensconced behind the locked doors at Headquarters aren't constantly thinking.

They think about ways to cover their bottoms even more securely, so they can't be blamed when the next attack inevitably occurs. They think about ways to avoid accountability for their ineffectiveness. They think about ways to ignore embarrassing revelations from GAO audits.

They think about new hassles and intrusions to inflict on travelers, preferably involving costly untested technology from well-connected suppliers. They think about ways to eliminate liberties and privacy that they consider burdensome and inconvenient. And they think about lies and spin to bamboozle and/or frighten us into accepting it.

But most of all, they think about ways to expand their empire, their authority, and their budget. That's what bureaucracies naturally do. When "national security" entitles them to exemptions from the oversight accountability required of ordinary government agencies and lets them hide everything behind a shroud of secrecy, they're free to indulge in their wildest bureaucratic fantasies.

Anonymous said...

Hrm.. Is it just me, or does someone need to mention Bert P. Krages II's (Portland Oregon) The Photographer's Bill of Rights?
http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf

I am not an attorney, but Bert P. Krages II is. I trust his ability to intepret law more than a TSO's. I can't even trust a TSO to recognize my passport, let alone recognize my civil rights.

Anonymous said...

Where's the poster?

When I went to Germany in 1986, what distinguished communist East Germany from West Germany was not just the limit on what materials could be brought into the country, but that airports, railroad crossings and whatever else couldn't be photographed.

TSA security checks seem to always be looking for whatever the previous "threat" was. Was there an RPG-rigged camera discovered that I didn't hear about?

Anonymous said...

Taking pictures of aircraft performing aerobatics at an airshow is now suspicious activity?
Somebody at the TSA better tell The Blue Angels, The Thunderbirds, and other aerobatic display teams such as The Snowbirds this. Should probably toss the US Army's Golden Knights onto that list. Also the US Army Rangers 2Bat, the 101st, and a few others.

Typical TSA intelligence.

mjc said...

Let me fix it for you: TSA Aviation poster encourages fascist paranoia and does nothing to protect airplanes against terrorism. We encourage all citizens to do whatever thugs in uniforms say, even if it is wrong, unconstitutional, and illegal. Only terrorists care about their civil rights and question authority.

Anonymous said...

MJC hit the nail on the head. It's one thing for the leadership at Homeland Security to backtrack and apologize. It would be a completely different thing if they had enough of a backbone to stop the rank and file employees who harass citizens for asserting their rights.

Anonymous said...

Here is how they treat photographers near airports in Germany (with great success I might add)

http://joepriesaviation.net/photoalbum/displayimage.php?pos=-1096

Phelps said...

Real terrorists don't take photographs of their targets. New York, London, Madrid, OKC, Lebanon, Palastine... it just isn't part of what they do.

Movie terrorists do, though.

Is it too much to ask that the TSA stop worry about what they see out of Hollywood and start worrying about real terrorists? Enough theater security!

Anonymous said...

Hey TSA the best people that do your job for you are aviation photographers. They are trained observers that REALLY CARE about the safety and well being of aviation. Wake up and start to tap that resource instead of alienating it. This poster is yet another sad symptom of broken government and out of touch & uncreative bureaucrecy.

Anonymous said...

If a TSO who is "highly trained" cannot even recognize a NEXUS or Passport Card, how are they supposed to distinguish between an aviation hobbyist and a bad guy?

Anonymous said...

I don't believe I ever saw a blog post on the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), TSA's radical assault on General Aviation. Why has such a significant program been swept under the rug on this blog? Anyway, the truth is that General Aviation can't stand TSA. Neither can plane spotters or photographers. We cooperate with you to the extent that it keeps you from taking away our liberties.

Anonymous said...

Reason #758 why I stopped flying.

TSM said...

Quoted:
" Anonymous said...
Hrm.. Is it just me, or does someone need to mention Bert P. Krages II's (Portland Oregon) The Photographer's Bill of Rights?
http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf

September 10, 2010 10:10 PM"
-----------------------------
You mean the one that ends with this statement: "This guide is not intended to be legal
advice" ?

Guess you didn't read all the parts. Like where he says: "General Rule" (NOT "Law") and "Some Exceptions to the Rule" and "....has the right to
approach a person in a public place
and ask questions".

Seems like that guide upholds everything the TSA has been saying about photography all along!

Guess it's all in the interpretation!

Blogger Bob said...

I think some are under the impression that these posters are posted at all airports. No so...

This poster (one of several) is only posted at General Aviation airports. TSOs do not work at General Aviation airports and will not see this poster. The poster is focused on the GA community.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Bob, what does that have to do with the TSA/DHS mentality that this poster clearly reveals and propagates?

Anonymous said...

Bob, it does not matter whether the photography takes place at a commercial airport or at a general aviation airport. In addition to being part of the local airport watch, I like to spend some of my free time documenting the plethora of "backyard airports" within a 50 mile radius.

Yes, there are even plane spotters who like photo-documenting GA airports. Now what are people going to think of first when they see me?

Your poster is bad news. Get rid of it NOW before people and police overreact and crack down on "illegal and/or suspicious behavior" that is simply part of an innocuous hobby, leading to a major backlash for the TSA.

George said...

Anonymous, September 14, 2010 9:57 PM: Get rid of it NOW before people and police overreact and crack down on "illegal and/or suspicious behavior" that is simply part of an innocuous hobby, leading to a major backlash for the TSA.

You don't understand. The TSA considers itself infallible. They don't care what anyone else thinks, since there's nothing anyone can tell them that they don't already know better.

Thus, if people complain about something they do, they ignore it. If the complaints become loud enough to create a public relations problem, their Propaganda Department will put out the appropriate spin and lies to neutralize the problem.

That's what Bob's original post was. They evidently felt that enough people reacted inappropriately to the poster to require Propaganda Department action, so Bob did his job. Once he published the original post that justified the poster, the issue was definitively disposed of.

They'll let us comment here because it's a safe place to vent to each other. But the people who created the poster will never know that people object to it.

Anonymous said...

Consider me the screaming radical in this case, then. Someone has to do it.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous: And instead of reaching out and building relationships you vilify and alienate them.

Of course. TSA has no interest in actually protecting anyone, only enforcing their own power. If you're not a TSO, you're the enemy, and photographers aren't TSOs.

Anonymous said...

"If you're not a TSO, you're the enemy, "

And there you have put your finger on the problem.

TSA has a culture that too often has an indifferent or adversarial relationship with passengers.

They have put money into failed and questionable programs instead of investing in ways to foster real, honest and considerate cooperation with the passengers.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever thought that it is a photo of a photographer taking a photo of a suspicious photographer...no let’s just have something to gripe about

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob in the initial post said that the poster was "one of several" that TSA has published. He repeats this claim in his comment posted September 14, 2010 @12:47 PM.

Bob, I'd appreciate it if you could post a link to images of some of the "several" other posters that this is "one of".

How about it, Bob? Can you offer us a peek at the other posters?

T-the-B at FlyerTalk

Anonymous said...

If I was a terrorist doing reconnaissance for a job, the last tool I would use is a big DSLR with a 500mm lens on it. I would use a small personal recording device and just wander around shooting video in an entirely discreet way.

I mean, duh!

Anonymous said...

Once again the tsa shows it's lack of competency in securing the homeland.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure glad I found this TSA Propagandist blog. Gotta keep up on the enemies within. Photography is not a crime.

Anonymous said...

I say everyone.. snap away at your local airport! Stick up for yourselves photographers. Don't give in and let this cycle of idiocy continue because it will get worse if we don't do anything.

Anonymous said...

To protect aviation accidents we should mark the high rise obstacles by Aviation lights

ForestWander said...

Not sure this is a good idea to promote.

One thing to consider is, if someone is casing the area and taking pictures to plan an attack.

How would you distinguish who was the bad guy.

Not sure I would want anyone to be taking pictures around areas like this unless they have been thoroughly checked out.

IMHO

James Fowlkes said...

This is the eternal catch-22, personal freedom and fun versus trying to keep the America safe. I have a friend who is into aerial photography. He was picked up by a govt agency, not sure if it was TSA or not. Anyway, he was just questioned and released but it sure scared the heck out of him. he wasn't doing anything wrong, just taking pictures for his business/hobby.

Real Madrid said...

These images are simply meant to represent a number of different scenarios that are common in and around GA airfields