New Law Means Photographers In Hungary Must Ask Permission First; Bad Hungarian Cops Rejoice

from the not-waving,-but-drowning dept

Last year, we wrote about a weird law in Sweden that forbade photos from being taken indoors without asking permission. Now Hungary has gone even further. As The Guardian reports, the country has brought in:

a new civil code that outlaws taking pictures without the permission of everyone in the photograph. According to the justice ministry, people taking pictures should look out for those “who are not waving, or who are trying to hide or running out of shot”.

Although the Hungarian government claims this is simply codifying existing practice, there’s one area where it is likely to have a big impact, as the lawyer Eszter Bognár explains:

“I don’t think this is going to change the practice of photographing ‘normal’ people, because they don’t have the possibility to ID the person taking the photo, but it’s going to be more difficult to take pictures of policemen.”

And Márton Magócsi, senior photo editor at news website Origo, warns:

“The real danger is that private security companies or the police will try to keep reporters and photojournalists out of certain areas, or prevent them and members of the public from taking photographs of their actions,” he adds.

That’s something we’re seeing increasingly, and it seems to be part of a general trend to counter the inconvenient ubiquity of high-quality cameras, now routinely found on mobile phones. The photos and videos they record can be used as compelling evidence of illegal police actions that before might have escaped punishment for want of any proof. The new Hungarian law means bad apples in the country’s police force will find it easier to avoid this kind of scrutiny.

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Comments on “New Law Means Photographers In Hungary Must Ask Permission First; Bad Hungarian Cops Rejoice”

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silverscarcat (profile) says:

Of course!

Why train cops to respect citizens?

A citizen is just a criminal who hasn’t committed a crime yet, according to them.

You know, at this point, I’m starting to think it might be better for citizens to start hiring criminals who don’t wear badges. At least they don’t have protection from the courts if they screw up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It’s also a boon to criminals who want to go after their victims from behind bars.

Criminal: Yes judge, that’s the mean photographer who took a picture of me running away from her while carrying her purse. I’ve suffered grievous harm as a result of their picture, in the form of being arrested for stealing her purse.

Judge: Shame on you Jane Doe, you should know better then that. Just because a criminal breaks the law doesn’t give you the excuse to break the law to by photographing them. It doesn’t matter what harm this poor man did or didn’t suffer from your illegal photography without his permission, the law is the law, I sentence you to 2 years in jail!

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Great for extortionists in tourist areas

Actually, that would be a good side effect, as something like that would likely drive a good number of tourists away from going to the country, and a sudden drop of income from tourists going elsewhere would likely get the politicians’ attention real quick, as few other things would.

Anonymous Coward says:

I saw a couple of times filming sessions in public places. There were printed signs posted all over in vicinity, which said that by being there you automatically “agree” to be part of film (incuding commercial ad in one case). If not, you must leave area immediately. I always wondered about legality of such an “agreement”.

Zangetsu (profile) says:

The new law and video

Isn’t video just a constant stream of “photographs”? Thirty photographs per second? So does this mean that any security camera catching public areas also needs to obtain permission from everyone it captures? Traffic cameras? Is this a new way to fight traffic tickets? After all, you did not provide consent. I pity news papers as they will no longer be able to print photographs. Imagine taking a picture of a crowd at a demonstration and try to get everyone’s name.

GEMont (profile) says:

Good Cop, Bad Cop

“The new Hungarian law means bad apples in the country’s police force will find it easier to avoid this kind of scrutiny.”

You are of course assuming that there are some good apples in that country’s police force bushel basket.

How many police officers there have complained about this new law?

I will lay odds that the answer to that question is Zero.

I will assume that’s the same number as the number of good cops in Hungary… hopefully, some good cops will prove me wrong.

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