U.S. Department of Transportation Responds to ACLU by Telling Us What We Already Know, Photographing the Exterior of Federal Buildings is Perfectly Legal

OT response to the ACLU regarding photo harassment

A few months back I blogged about a letter from Erin M’s photostream where the ACLU of the National Capital Area had sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation asking them to clarify their policy regarding photographing the exterior of their building after several instances of photographer harassment. Well here we are some three months latter and the U.S. Department of Transportation has finally responded to the ACLU, basically telling them what we already know, that it’s not illegal to photograph the exterior of their buildings and structures. In the letter, dated August 19, 2009, to Arthur Spitzer at the ACLU, from Ronald A. Jackson, Assistant General Counsel for Operations at the Department of Transportation, Jackson writes in part:

“I write in response to your letter of May 29, 2009 to our Deputy General Counsel, Rosalind Knapp, concerning whether the Department of Transportation has a policy or practice of prohibiting individuals from photographing the exterior of our buildings.

We do not, and in the instance that you discuss in your letter, our uniformed security guard was incorrect in telling the individual that he was not permitted to take photographs. For that, we do apologize.”

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  1. Andy Frazer says:

    I wonder if this letter could be interpreted to include D.O.T. ships? Quite a few people have been stopped by Alameda P.D. in the past two years for photographing the D.O.T. Ready Fleet of ships in the former Alameda Naval Air Station. This only happens at night. I wonder why the police think it’s OK to photograph the semi-mothballed ships during the day, but not at night?


  2. TranceMist says:

    Two simple phrases:

    “Our uniformed security guard was incorrect” …

    “For that, we do apologize.”

    How simple, painless, and powerful.

    (It’s gotten so bad that those two phrases could be put on a T-shirt.)

  3. pompo says:

    Thanks! I gotta print that and keep it in my camera bag…

  4. […] U.S. Department of Transportation Responds to ACLU by Telling Us What We Already Know, Photographing… […]

  5. moto kurye says:

    very nice gread article thanks