Among the most sacred rights of Englishmen and women is the right to protest and complain about the government. Unknown to those protesting in the streets of the land is that police are taking photographs, and videos of those in the crowd. The Metropolitan police advises other groups on how to store data about those in protesting crowds. Its storage system indicates names of those in the protest as well as other information about these individuals. According to a recent investigation by the Guardian surveillance teams are targeting journalists who cover demonstrations. Christina Ferguson, notes, ” a searchable database containing photographs of people who are not even suspected of criminal activity may well violate privacy rights under article 8 of the Human Rights Act.” Why is anyone taking names of those in a crowd?
Many journalists are angry that police photograph them or take videos while they are covering a protest. In so doing, the police are somehow linking a journalist who is doing her job with the ideas or desires of the group that is protesting. I have often wondered what would happen if police cease doing such things and spent their time trying to capture criminals.