No confirmation yet if this is legitimate, but wi-fi networking news says:
This seems like a troublesome idea as it shifts the political reporting balance significantly out of the blogosphere for the democratic national convention. At least it's not a cellphone ban though. The future-saavy blogger Regine from we-make-money-not-art says "Read also 601Am for an insight about the (dis)organization of the event."
Reader Len Norton wrote in with a great tip in response to the uncamera'd post describing a pdf/palmbook similar to the ACLU's Bust Card but released by Attorney Bert P. Krages. The free document is a quick and well written guide for photographers who want to know where and when they legally can snap their photos.
From the front page of their distribution site:
"The right to take photographs is now under assault more than ever. People are being stopped, harassed, and even intimidated into handing over their personal property simply because they were taking photographs of subjects that made other people uncomfortable. Recent examples include photographing industrial plants, bridges, and vessels at sea. For the most part, attempts to restrict photography are based on misguided fears about the supposed dangers that unrestricted photography presents to society.
Ironically, unrestricted photography by private citizens has played an integral role in protecting the freedom, security, and well being of all Americans. Photography in the United States has contributed to improvements in civil rights, curbed abusive child labor practices, and provided information important to investigating crimes. These images have not always been pretty and often have offended the sensibilities of governmental and commercial interests who had vested interests in a status quo that was adverse to the majority in our country."
From "The Photographer's Right":
"Who Is Likely to Violate Your Rights
Most confrontations are started by security guards and employees of organizations who fear photography. The most common reason given is security but often such persons have no articulated reason. Security is rarely a legitimate reason for restricting photography. Taking a photograph is not a terrorist act nor can a business legitimately assert that taking a photograph of a subject in public view infringes on its trade secrets. On occasion, law enforcement officers may object to photography but most understand that people have the right to take photographs and do not interfere with photographers. They do have the right to keep you away from areas where you may impede their activities or endanger safety. However, they do not have the legal right to prohibit you from taking photographs from other locations."
"Despite misconceptions to the contrary,
the following subjects can almost always be photographed lawfully
from public places:"
Other sections include: "They Have Limited Rights to Bother", Question, or Detain You", "They Have No Right to Confiscate Your Film", "Your Legal Remedies If Harassed", and "How to Handle Confrontations". All of which is on one small reference page that you can fold up and put in your wallet.
Makes me want to print up a bunch for my photography and photojournalist friends.
JWZ and the livejournal crowd have this to say on the subject.
Update: "the whole photographic freedom debate just annoys me...it seems so clear to me :-)" [Rich_Gibson]
[Link thanks Len!]
North Korea's cellphone ban seems to be more complicated than previously stated. While the following quote from Howard Ringhold supports the censorship hypothesis for the reason behind the banning, freenorthkorea reveals that the train bombing was an assassination attempt by "anti-North Korean government forces" on the disliked leader, Kim Jong-il.
"Ohmynews is a website in South Korea that employs 26,000 citizen-reporters. Those citizen-reporters and their readers vote on which articles should appear on the front page. It's wildly popular, particularly among the young cybergeneration. Earlier this year, Ohmynews did something remarkable. The candidate that was favored by many of their readers and reporters was behind in the polls in the days before Korea's Presidential election, and the exit-polls in the early hours showed him losing. A call to action on Ohmynews led to readers sending nearly a million emails to their friends, urging them to get out and vote, along with an uncounted number of text messages to their friends' telephones. That unprecedented online get-out-the-vote effort tipped the election – and the first interview President-elect Roh gave was to Ohmynews."
This indicates that North Korea's neighbor has recently had a change in government directly due to improvements in communication in the form of the internet and cellphones. While censoring the internet is easy, censoring text messages is almost impossible unless you restrict or outlaw cellphones.
In addition, if the the train bombing in Ryongchon on April 22 "had been conspired by anti-North Korean government forces to harm North Korean leader Kim Jong-il" the ban seems justified, at least from the view of the North Korean dictator. For someone so disliked, cellphones seem an obvious target to quell dissent.
"A North Korean official who was recently on his business trip to China said, “The North Korean National Security Agency has investigated the incident since it took place and concluded that rebellious forces had plotted the explosions targeting the exclusive train of Kim Jong-il. The security agency, in particular, gained evidence that cell phones had been used in triggering the explosion and reported to the North Korean leader that the use of cell phones should be banned for the sake of the leader’s safety.
A North Korea defector who crossed the border a few days ago said, “It doesn’t seem to be a temporary measure, because even handsets have been conscripted following the cell phone use ban.” “The Postal Service, which manages the cell phone business, has unilaterally conscripted handsets without offering any compensations. It's a typical example of a dictatorial state,” the defector pointed out." [freenorthkorea.net]
In any case, while North Korea's citizens are being held back in the dark ages, their government is still watching.
In related news, Italy takes the opposite approach, and spams it's hipster crowd with pro-voting text messages.