Just how much does the government need to know about our personal activities as photographers? Judging by the flood of reports the ACLU posted on their website, which contain suspicious activity reports collected by the feds on various private citizens, many of whom happen to be working photographers, the government may want to know a little more than what most find comfortable.
According to a story released by NPR, Hal Bergstrom, a photographer based out of California, was questioned on multiple occasions after he was observed photographing bridges and industrial scenes. Outside of being frequently harassed by security guards and local law enforcement, even when shooting on public property, Bergstrom has also answered a knock at fthe door from federal agents wanting to know what he was up to. They asked him questions such as, “Do you hold any ill will toward the United States of America?”
What is most unsettling about having your every move recorded and questioned is the fact that it’s not clear what the reports are being used for. At least 53 federal agencies are currently collecting data alongside multiple regional agencies. While it’s likely that the information will simply be dismissed after each case is investigated, the fact that it is happening at all is somewhat unsettling for many.
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