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Donkin's World: Free Society? Not When You're Shopping

"I enjoy taking pictures and don't want to feel like a criminal if I walk around with a camera around my neck,'' declares Richard Donkin.

A few years ago I was challenged by security guards in the shopping mall of Grand Union Station, Washington, for taking photographs, It wasn't allowed, they said. I asked why. Rules, they said. http://donkinlife.blogspot.com/2007/08/land-of-free.html

Now these same rules are filtering in to the UK with the apparent support of police on the ground that anyone taking pictures in shopping centres could constitute a terrorist threat.

I understand the terrorist fears. We must all be vigilant to an extent. But when a society becomes afraid of its own shadow the terrorists have won something haven't they? When a man is confronted by security guards and police for taking a picture of his four-year-old daughter in a shopping centre, you have to begin asking whether we are living in a police state? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-15236758

How many CCTV cameras had already recorded the family's presence before they even sat down in the centre?

My biggest worry is that companies are making up their own security rules on the hoof, often in collusion with police, and no-one in government is doing a thing to stop them. Why should commercial premises be off-limits to photographers?

If terrorists, thieves, or anyone else want to study images of the Braehead Shopping Centre, Glasgow, they can do so in the comfort of their own homes by pulling it up on Google images here. http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Braehead+Shopping+centre&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=Cas&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns&source=lnms&tbm=isch&ei=-7uSTpOOOcuo8QPsztQT&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=2&ved=0CBsQ_AUoAQ&biw=1440&bih=738#q=Braehead+Shopping+centre&hl=en&client=firefox-a&sa=X&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=37b97f68abfb2ec2&biw=1024&bih=603

I don't want to be part of a society that takes a heavy-handed approach to parents taking pictures of their children. I enjoy taking pictures and don't want to feel like a criminal if I walk around with a camera around my neck.

In his novel, 1984, George Orwell wrote about the risks associated with too much state power. Perhaps some of those risks have been transferred now to the corporate sector.


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