A key issue is whether photographs can be taken of people in public places without their consent, without incurring liability for infringement of privacy.
Recent court rulings have drawn a distinction between merely taking photographs, retaining them, and publishing them.
An important preliminary question is whether Article 8(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights is "engaged" or not. If it isn't, a photographer can happily snap away with impunity.
The case of Wood v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis has provided the latest guidance. The claimant, a media co-ordinator for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, objected to being photographed in a public street by police as he left a
The Court of Appeal said the photography did "engage" the right to privacy under Art. 8(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights and was unlawful.
Lord Justice Laws said it was clear individuals still have no right to prevent another person politely merely taking their photograph in public.
Andrew Miller (Ellesmere Port and Neston) (Lab): Can I seek an assurance from my right hon. Friend that the circumstances that led to the photographs being taken in Downing street do not lead to further pressures on the
rights of photographers, both professionals and amateurs, to take photographs in this country, especially as this event coincided with an incident in the past few days where somebody was allegedly challenged by a police officer for taking photographs of
a bus garage? We need to learn lessons from the event and draw together the common-sense work being led by my hon. Friend the Minister for Security, Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Policing to come up with the right code of practice to ensure that
photographers can do their jobs and amateurs can take photographs with freedom.
Jacqui Smith: I strongly agree with my hon. Friend, who has met the Minister for Security, Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Policing to discuss his concerns. I see no reason why the unfortunate events on 8 April should limit the ability of
photographers to take photographs, and neither do I believe, as he knows, that some of the limits result from recent legislative changes that we have made, as has been suggested. There is more work that we can do to ensure that photographers are clear
that their right to take photographs is protected in all cases where it is not causing a specific risk. That is certainly a right that my hon. Friend and I would uphold.
So presumably all the police officers so frequently preventing photographers from taking pictures are corrupting the law for their own convenience