Legal Issues

by Glyn Moody


Filed Under:
hungary, permission, photography



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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  • icon
    silverscarcat (profile), 17 Mar 2014 @ 12:08pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2014 @ 1:02pm

    a new civil code that outlaws taking pictures without the permission of everyone in the photograph.

    Does it also apply to TV cameras, because just how long will that take in a football stadium.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2014 @ 1:14pm

      Re:

      generally, permission is given as part of the ticket (read the back of one of those, it's pretty insane what you're giving up to go to a sporting event).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Derek (profile), 17 Mar 2014 @ 1:13pm

    Waving

    "Does it also apply to TV cameras, because just how long will that take in a football stadium."

    Especially since everyone is waving. :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2014 @ 1:17pm

    i doubt whether the paparazzi are going to be very happy either. they get paid from the pictures they take. if they have to ask permission from every person, they are not gonna get those 'unusual shots' anymore

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 17 Mar 2014 @ 1:29pm

      Re:

      Dangit, you just had to bring them up, now I'm all conflicted on the new law...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2014 @ 1:33pm

      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!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2014 @ 1:46pm

    How about security cameras? If I walk down the street I am sure dozens will take my picture without my consent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2014 @ 1:47pm

    New law needed

    Any police officer who refuses to be recorded while on duty or who interferes with anyone recording them is subject to summary execution.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Scote, 17 Mar 2014 @ 3:21pm

    Great for extortionists in tourist areas

    I can see that lots of tourists may get caught up in this law when Hungarian scam artists get into tourist photos and demand payment - and they'll have the law on their side.

    This new law is ridiculous, and another instance of OK for the government, illegal for everybody else police state law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 17 Mar 2014 @ 5:02pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Howard (profile), 18 Mar 2014 @ 4:28am

        Re: Re: Great for extortionists in tourist areas

        Don't be ridiculous, the current party will just blame the party before for doing some obscure shit deterring tourists.

        Besides, our "service industry" already doing a pretty good job at driving off tourism on its own by doing shit for outlandish prices.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    dave blevins (profile), 17 Mar 2014 @ 5:19pm

    ask permission

    Not "ask", "get". Screaming, "Give me your permission to snap a photo", is quite different than documenting each individual that may be in the photo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2014 @ 4:58am

    I can just see it now...

    Guy 1: "What're you in for?"
    Guy 2: "I murdered my wife and two kids. Yourself?"
    Guy 1: "I took a photo in a public place..."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2014 @ 7:10am

    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".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Zangetsu (profile), 18 Mar 2014 @ 11:10am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 18 Mar 2014 @ 5:49pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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