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Beware of "Anti-Voyeur" Laws

Lawmakers are considering yet another "anti-voyeur" law, which would make it illegal to photograph or videotape a person without their knowledge. It's billed as an effort to protect us from voyeurs, but what is really behind it?
Several states already have them, other states, including our own, are considering them. Anti-voyeur laws seem like a good idea at first. After all, who wants to be filmed in a public bathroom or changing room without their knowledge or consent? I mean, that's just weird. Stories come out every other day about someone finding a spy cam set up in a bathroom vent, someone discovering a man pointing a cell phone cam up their skirt, or someone catching a building manager sneaking a camera into an apartment building's ductwork. Ew, gross.

And some laws are written in such a manner as to be specific enough to protect us from just that. Most, however, are a hodgepodge of obfuscation. What's really behind them?

Personally, I am filmed without my knowledge or consent all the time, and I would like to stop it. It happens in public spaces, where I am almost always under the watchful gaze of ODOT cameras, private security cameras, and police surveilance cameras. If you spend any time downtown, smile. It's happening to you, too. I don't know about you, but I'm certainly mindful of the fact that many of the pro-democracy students who were persecuted, imprisoned, and in some cases murdered by the chinese government after Tiananmen square, were fingered by such innocuous security devices as traffic cameras.

Do you think the anti-voyeur laws will target such frightening invasions of our privacy as these? Think again. Stores, businesses, security agencies, and police will still be allowed to secretly film your every move. But what will be targeted?

As promised, anyone who pokes a cell phone camera under a dressing room wall may very well be criminalized. But, frighteningly, so might anyone who secretly videotapes police abuse. So the person who shocked the world by allowing us all to see the beating of Rodney King, and by implication, the nightmarish hell all people of color were (and are) subjected to by racist pigs, would be a criminal. People might be afraid to shoot or share such footage now, because the "law" could punish them. What about mike-wallace-esque ambush interviews, or Michael Moore's setups of corporate pigs? What about soldiers abusing prisoners who don't want the world to know? Or the military that supports them? (The first person to be prosecuted after Abu Ghraib was not the person who committed the abuse, but the person who held the camera that told the story.)

There are a lot of powerful people out there who don't want some stories told. Like the "PATRIOT" act, which pretended to be about protecting us from "terrorists" but was really about taking down effective anti-capitalist and environmental activists, this is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Watch it carefully, and do what you can to stop it.

What they want to do is! 22.Sep.2004 12:15

Obvious, aka Bird dog

Stop our side from reporting the truth.

As is being done in Iraq.

They are scared as hell of news outlets like Air America Radio.

So they are planing each move to stop what they see as a danger to their white wash lies.

They are running all their plans as a corporation would.

Queen to F-5, Checkmate.

It seems that this type of law will pass 22.Sep.2004 13:57


It seems to me that a modified "anti-voyeurism" law is bound to pass, for many of the reasons mentioned in the above article. However, it's also true that this would impede independent journalism and/or artistic endeavors just as much as it would impede any young kid trying to set up a bathroom cam. So some qualifications would have to be made.

Personally, I could care less if I was being secretly monitored (as the article above points out, we are ALREADY being monitored, ALL the time) as long as the monitoring didn't get out of hand. For instance, as long as the monitoring was not done by a law enforcement agency or investigative branch of any corporation that was trying to incriminate me or entrap me in any way. Obviously, in those circumstances I would not approve of any secret monitoring. Also, if the secret monitoring was for sadistic or vengeful reasons or profit-driven, I certainly wouldn't approve of that either, and I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling that way.

Another freedom bites the dust 22.Sep.2004 16:58


No more Rodney King tapes is what it is about. Video tape evidence will be declared inadmissible because you did not have the a fending officer's permission to tape.

--- ---- ---- --- 22.Sep.2004 17:52

--- --- ---

Rodney King's beaters were never convicted of anything until after the riots. Urban people are used to cops abusing their authority. Poor people can't stop it, rich people approve. Suburban people and rural people have no idea what the fuck's going on outside their little worlds. I remember the first time I heard about a friend-of-a-friend's household getting wrecked and the people in it beaten up by the cops over a "sorry, wrong house" drug raid. Never read about that stuff in the paper, do you?

What I mean is, video evidence against cops doesn't seem to help much anyway. They're not accountable to the people in the first place. They have the right to kill us and make up any story they want. We have the right ... to sue them. Everything starts out off balance.

This suburbanite 22.Sep.2004 18:39

is not blind

I find it interesting that you lump everyone smart enough not to live in city squallor as out of touch.

Just my observation from the 'Burbs.

- - - - - - - - - 22.Sep.2004 19:19


Yes, very good points. Justice is now technically blind. What the cops count on is no oneduring anything when they knock on the door. It worked for the Germans. But if that changed.

... - ... -

kamera killers? 22.Sep.2004 20:25


So I read on some site I came across that you can knock out a camera with a high powered laser pointer-is this true? Wish I'd bookmarked the site

If cameras are outlawed, only outlaws will have cameras! 22.Sep.2004 21:31

Mixed Metaphor

Seriously, it's interesting to contrast this story with the cameras going up in Chicago -- http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/09/297943.shtml, and all that have been going up for years now.

Who watches all these cameras? And who watches the watchers?

Here is an excerpt from the NYT back a few years that brings together the notions of surveillance and voyeurism.

"During my time in the control room, from 9 p.m. to midnight, I experienced firsthand a phenomenon that critics of CCTV surveillance have often described: when you put a group of bored, unsupervised men in front of live video screens and allow them to zoom in on whatever happens to catch their eyes, they tend to spend a fair amount of time leering at women. "What catches the eye is groups of young men and attractive, young women," I was told by Clive Norris, the Hull criminologist. "It's what we call a sense of the obvious." There are plenty of stories of video voyeurism: a control room in the Midlands, for example, took close-up shots of women with large breasts and taped them up on the walls. In Hull, this temptation is magnified by the fact that part of the operators' job is to keep an eye on prostitutes. As it got late, though, there weren't enough prostitutes to keep us entertained, so we kept ourselves awake by scanning the streets in search of the purely consensual activities of boyfriends and girlfriends making out in cars. "She had her legs wrapped around his waist a minute ago," one of the operators said appreciatively as we watched two teenagers go at it. "You'll be able to do an article on how reserved the British are, won't you?" he joked. Norris also found that operators, in addition to focusing on attractive young women, tend to focus on young men, especially those with dark skin. And those young men know they are being watched: CCTV is far less popular among black men than among British men as a whole. In Hull and elsewhere, rather than eliminating prejudicial surveillance and racial profiling, CCTV surveillance has tended to amplify it."

Full article at  http://babelogue.citypages.com:8080/granderson/stories/storyReader$84.

Maybe all these bathroom voyeurs should go out and get a real job with the feds.

Same thing at OHSU 23.Sep.2004 06:46

Security Breach

At OHSU, the security guards routinely spy on women, ogling and leering at them. In the past, they had speakers they could use to communicate with anyone near their cams. Sometimes, they would actually do cat calls and wolf whistles, like teenage dorks. They laughed when the women would look around and try to find the source...they had such a bizarre sense of power. Yes, they're watching you, and yes, humans are dorks.

This is a privileged right! 23.Sep.2004 08:27


Since acquiring a digital camara six months ago, I feel empowered with the fact that a picture speaks 1000 words. I'm prepared to catch evildoers in action and have already captured some compelling stuff. To take away the publics ability to document 'crimes' is in itself a crime.

Who's behind this and how can one take action???

Who is behind it and How to take action 23.Sep.2004 09:17


Who is behind it: Those who want to continue to control the stories we tell as a culture. The same people who insist that "journalists" embed themselves and then kill them if they don't. The same people who control the lies told by the corporate media. And even the petty little fiefdoms run by gangs such as the portland police bureau.

What you can do about it: Many things. Alert everyone you know. Insist that your congressional representatives withdraw support for these laws. Block corporate cameras and blind police state cameras. REVOLT! And whatever you do, KEEP TAKING PICTURES. Keep telling the stories.

Stephanie's Law 24.Sep.2004 16:31


see article on New York State's "Stephanie's Law" by the Surveillance Camera Players

very relevant here

Good Ole Suppression 25.Sep.2004 02:28

Richard Kobzey rek64@hotmail.com

She creeps in everywhere...

Judeo-Christian Anti-Islamic Republic of America 25.Sep.2004 02:37


Where's that?