Cops have rights too

SMH - A Sydney man had his mobile confiscated by police and was threatened with arrest after he filmed officers at work, in an incident civil liberties advocates say is becoming a frighteningly common occurrence. Nick Hac, of Springfield Avenue, Kings Cross, says officers snatched his BlackBerry and searched through his email, photos and videos, before deleting a video he filmed of them conducting a drug operation about 10pm last Friday.
I haven't entirely made up my mind about this one folks. Alright, the guy was just filming the cops going about their business and I suppose it's his right to film things in a public space. But there are limits to that sort of activity right, after all some vermin is not allowed to hang around a daycare centre and film kids going in and out of the place, right? Even though he is in a public space.

Coming back to filming cops, we need to think about this a bit more, he wasn't filming a monument or tourist attraction or something. He was filming police officers going about their work, in their workplace. Their workplace is pretty much just about everywhere, not the station where they are based at.

Some might say, oh it's alright to film them because if they ain't doing nothing wrong, they have nothing to worry about. Well, then can the cops swing by your workplace and film you? After all, if you ain't doing nothing wrong, you got nothing to worry about, right? Yeah, didn't think so. If they have no right to privacy, then why should you.

Moving along, it might seem alright at the time, but when we're on the street and something is unfolding before us, we don't know what's really going on there. From the story in the paper, it was a drug operation, which may involve undercover officers. Now if you're filming them, they have no way of knowing what you are up to, they don't know who you are, stupid citizen or scumbag they just don't know about yet? Either way they run the risk of having their cover blown, which in turn means, lives are put at risk, theirs, their families and all who are associated with them. After all this ain't NYPD, in the real world, people get their throats slit for that sort of thing.

At the moment, we are not allowed to film or photograph certain buildings like rail way stations, I think we need to extend this to police officers and the work they're busy doing. Another thing is that cops are already tied up with all sorts of procedures and legalities when dealing with criminal scum, so do we want to burden them even further with the risk of having their actions reviewed by some paper-pusher down the track, when it might be your life in the balance.

What say you?

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