Know Your Rights: Photos

Courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee from
Courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee from

A video of a photographer being blocked at the University of Missouri has created a tidal wave of controversy.

Insider has noticed on Facebook people are a bit confused of  when it’s permissible to take photos. While this may seem like just an issue for journalists, it affects anyone who has a smart phone.

For example, the video that showed Eric Garner being put in a choke-hold by New York City Police Officers.

The American Civil Rights Union made this video that explains your right to take photos.

Here are some basics you should know.

When you are in a public space, you are allowed to take photos of anything in plain view. That includes people, police and federal buildings.

When you are in private space, the person who owns the property can set the rules. If the photographer doesn’t comply, he or she could be charged with trespassing.

The Supreme Court has ruled police may not confiscate your electronic device without a search warrant. However, the police can order you to stop any activity that is interfering with law enforcement operations.

If you feel your rights have been violated, some organizations to contact are the ACLU, Student Press Law Center and Freedom for Individual Rights in Education.

Arielle Hines is the editor of CMU Insider. You can contact her at 

This is not intended to serve as official legal advice. Please contact an attorney if you need legal assistance. 

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