Friday, September 10, 2010

The TSA - Misguided Government Propaganda Targets Photographers

Well, your government is at it again! The Transportation Security Administration, not content to make photographers lives miserable enough, has decided to use - literally - as their poster child - photographers, to illustrate terrorists.

First - let's get one thing straight - if a terrorist wants to see a map or other landscape around anything - they'll use Google Maps.

Second - they wouldn't be so damn obvious. I mean, what terrorist who snuck into the US and is in a terror cell wants to get kicked out for taking photographs? I'd think they'd want to get sent to heaven with 72 virgins after doing something worthy of martyrdom? Heck - photographers are martyrs enough at the hands of underpaid photo editors, and without the 72 virgins!

All kidding aside - the TSA is way way out of line here, and as someone who has suffered at the hands of unruly law enforcement over the years - including the TSA - I know all too well how bad it already is.

Carlos Miller, over at Photography is Not A Crime (here) does a great job of highlighting this point (and seems to be the originator of the TSA poster image), which was followed on by Wired (here).

The TSA would like to defend itself, of course. They've tried blogging about terrorist appearances here -

With this great graphic:
So why bother using a "photographer" to illustrate it? Take away the long Canon lens (any self-respecting terrorist would be a Leica user, to be sure) and you don't know where that "guy" (or is it a woman?) is looking? Why, they're looking at the private jet? Frankly, the figure of a lone person would be a better illustration.

Back in December, did a great piece on what's wrong with TSA's terrorist policies, check it out here.

In the end, this is just one more mis-guided attempt by the far-less-than-efficient US Government attempting to thwart the rights of a free people.
(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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Anonymous said...

Well, this explains the post 9/11 mindset that led to all the unnecessary harassment of photog's. Ironic, TSA does this while other police departments in Europe and America are specifically backing off, telling their officers that photography is not a crime after over reaction and numerous abuses of photographers (and resulting lawsuits) during the last decade. Hmmm, I bet TSA started working on this ad campaign years ago and due to bureaucratic bumbling and layers of incompetence it's only now reaching print.

Citizens, see your tax dollars at work.

Andre Friedmann said...

Harassing photographers is feel-good theatrics, and has nothing to do with safety or security. Americans are suckers for feel-good theatrics. Expect to see more.

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