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Censorship Your Rights Online

Kuwait Bans DSLR Cameras Use For Non-Journalists 446

Posted by kdawson
from the don't-give-'em-ideas dept.
DaveNJ1987 writes "Kuwait has banned the use of Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras in public places for anyone who is not a journalist. The ban, which was passed by the unanimous agreement of the country's Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Information and Ministry of Finance, prevents the public from using DSLR devices on the streets of the Middle Eastern State. Tourists are to be affected by the new laws and must be aware of this before travelling to Kuwait. Smaller digital cameras and camera phones are exempt from the ban."
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Kuwait Bans DSLR Cameras Use For Non-Journalists

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  • by mschaffer (97223) * on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:27PM (#34321644)

    What about regular SLR cameras? Why ban D(igital)SLR cameras?

  • Re:funny and ironic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:32PM (#34321748) Journal

    An ironic twist I think... I know many people whose DSLR pictures totally suck because the camera is beyond their ability to master even simple photographs. Also, ironically, anyone who would want useful information from digital pictures can readily shoot quality pictures with non-DSLR digital cameras. Is this for real?

    I think the idea is to cut back on some form of spying. Lets face it, if you are a journalist, you want REALLY good pictures for your articles, like national Geographic quality if possible. Thats why they're allowed DSLR's.

    But if I'm a spy, and I see a hand off going on between some military personel and some 'civilian' - I'll be all dressed up as a tourist with my nice HUUUUUGE Telephoto lens, snap a few quick shots. If someone gets suspicious you either delete the pictures if you don't have much time or if you think you can without noticing, switch out the memory card.

    Asta Lasaugna, don't get any onya.

  • Re:funny and ironic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:33PM (#34321768) Journal

    Forgot to mention: the point being that you can't get that kind of zoom level with a regular digital camera, in case I didn't make that point obvious.

  • Re:funny and ironic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:37PM (#34321824) Journal
    It sounds like classic security theatre to me. It has, somehow, become an article of faith in jackboot circles(the world over, apparently; our Limey friends on Airstrip One seem to be the most enthusiastic; but the notion is international in its appeal) that 'terrorists' simply cannot function without extremely high quality photographs, taken personally with professional grade equipment, even if their target is some tourist trap with 10+ million publicly available images on the web... It has further, somehow, become an article of faith(among both jackboots and photo-n00bs) that DLSRs are the magic ticket to being the next Ansel Adams, while anything without interchangeable lenses might as well be a webcam from 1993.

    How exactly these beliefs persist, I'm not quite sure, when any moron who spends ten minutes in the camera aisle at Best Buy can see that contemporary happy-snapper gear is pretty competent(particularly when paired with contemporary flash memory that will give said happy-snapper 10,000 chances to get it right for under $40...) and trivially available stuff like Photosynth [photosynth.net] demonstrates the power of huge numbers of shoddy images combined with some algorithmic cleverness...
  • Re:funny and ironic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:38PM (#34321844) Homepage

    Non-SLR digital cameras have gotten very good in recent years. As an old-school 35mm SLR user, there are times I'd love to have a DSLR, but a 10MP non-reflex camera with a 10X optical zoom lens (such as the one I have) can take pretty much the exact same photos, albeit with marginally lower image quality due to the optics. So they're accomplishing nothing except to require amateur photographers to use smaller and less expensive cameras.

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:50PM (#34322040)
    I'm guessing digital SLRs are banned because the photos can be easily copied/uploaded whereas those on actual film cannot. Control the flow of information.
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:08PM (#34322260) Homepage

    calling bs on this. Provide citations of ANY of the above happening.

    Well, they issued new guidelines [ephotozine.com], relaxed restrictions on "registered photographers" [epuk.org], stopped using section 43 and 44 of the Terrorism act [police.uk], had a 'snitch campaign' [boingboing.net], hassle people with commercial permits [amateurpho...pher.co.uk], and even push people down stairs [prisonplanet.com].

    If you aren't aware of the myriad ways in which the London Police have gone completely batshit crazy with photographers .... well, you haven't been paying attention to the news. Do a google search for "london photography police", and read.

    There are loads of documented cases of some cop or another deciding they have a law on their side which allows them to do almost anything to photographers. And, in fairness to London, I'm sure this isn't the only place this happens.

    The citation for what the GP suggests is bloody easy to find.

  • Tourists?! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Copley (726927) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:15PM (#34322384)

    "Tourists are to be affected by the new laws..."

    What tourists?! I live and work in Kuwait... As a country, it's really not a tourist hotspot! Any tourist coming here, even if they took snaps of the the most interesting features, would leave with only images of scrubby desert, busy highways, shopping malls, a few skyscrapers, and the Kuwait Towers.

    But, yes, it's a daft rule, and it may well affect the local amateur photography enthusiasts. However, Kuwaiti law is not consistently applied: If you're a Kuwaiti citizen, you'll often get away with something that a non-Kuwaiti would not - especially if you have a bit of 'wasta' (i.e. your father knows the second-cousin of the minister's uncle!)

  • by waldonova (769039) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:21PM (#34322486)

    "Banned" Nikon D40 DSLR
    6.1megapixel
    Standard 18-55mm zoom lens

    "Legal" Nikon P7000 digital camera
    10.1 megapixel
    28-200mm zoom lens

    Both cameras feature an "automatic" setting that allows the camera to take great pictures. The legal one looks much less conspicuous and doesn't have to be held at your eye to take a photo.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:32PM (#34322650) Homepage

    Really? Not noticed this, and I'd have thought that I would, what with living there and everything.

    But, surely you're aware of many of the high-profile things that have happened in London with police and photographers? They certainly talked about a permit system [epuk.org] for "registered" photographers. (Now, that appears to be within a narrow area, but ...)

    After registration, which can take up to 28 days, photographers wanting to photograph on the street will have to again attend either Charing Cross police station to be issued with a thin fluorescent waistcoat fitted with an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tag which is to be worn over other clothing.

    Seriously, you may live there, and maybe this goes under-reported for you ... but google for "london photography police".

    There have been several Slashdot stories over the last few years covering this kind of stuff. He's hardly pulling claims out of his backside. London police have been well documented telling people they can't photograph in public spaces when that is patently false.

  • by acedotcom (998378) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:34PM (#34322676)
    last time i was in Chicago, i was trying to take a picture of a seagull with my Canon 50D, i was told that i could not despite the fact that i was on public property along the Chicago river. the officer told me it was for "security". and i had no idea why until i got home, I was on the same block as the Boeing world headquarters and i GUESS that i COULD have been taking a picture of the Boeing building SO it was just easier to tell me know. i didn't really bother with arguing, i didnt want to spend another vacation getting patted down by the FBI, even though i should have.

    Thankfully, we dont have LAWS like the one in Kuwait!
  • by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:09PM (#34323164)
    The GP was referring to the GGP talking about his SLR which implies film, and he's right you can't easily delete a picture. You can however take the back off and completely obliterate it in a way which is a challenge for digital images.

    On a side note, despite what some security officers or law enforcement might say, they can't force you to delete the photos under any circumstance. Either it is not illegal for you to take the photo or it is and you'd be destroying evidence. Which they can't order you to do.
  • by acedotcom (998378) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:16PM (#34323246)
    having been arrested and detained on two occasions for fighting for what i believe in, i can honestly say FUCK YOU. sorry you didnt like my attitude that ONE TIME, but im honest about it. and when i am one a FAMILY VACATION with my kids, I'm skip the civil disobedience for once. Could i have done more...fuck yes, do i feel bad about it...not at all. pick your battle, dont be a fucking retard just because the law says you can. Unlike you im not going to talk big on the internet and judge other people about their decisions. oh yeah, here is a video of me getting arrested [youtube.com] . now kindly, SHUT THE FUCK UP.
  • Re:Yeah sure. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the_womble (580291) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @10:09PM (#34326388) Homepage Journal

    Except most of the murders are not committed using guns, and even if you excluded gun murders the US would still have a very high murder rate by developed country standards. On the ohter hand lots of places have high gun ownership and low murder rates.

    When the UK strengthened enforcement of its guns laws (i.e. making for effort to find and seize illegal guns) the result was an increase in knife murders.

    I have always lived in countries where civilian use of guns is tightly restricted, and my instinct is to sympathise with the ban, but I think the "guns don't kill people. people kill people" lot have the facts on their side.

  • Re:Yeah sure. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @03:39AM (#34328252)
    It gets compared because various nutters in the USA use the Australian gun buyback as an example where the lack of guns created a Mad Max/Road Warrior post-apocalyptic situation.
    It didn't affect many people since not many people had semi-automatic weapons anyway. It was a reaction to an event where a guy with a semi-automatic rifle killed 35 people and wounded 21 others. The answer to all the "they could have defended themselves with a handgun" idiots is to think about reality and not movies where the hero can hit a fly testicle at a mile with his magnum. If the victims had handguns they would still be dead.
  • Re:Yeah sure. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lars_stefan_axelsson (236283) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @05:36AM (#34328798) Homepage

    I have always lived in countries where civilian use of guns is tightly restricted, and my instinct is to sympathise with the ban, but I think the "guns don't kill people. people kill people" lot have the facts on their side.

    Ah, but that's clearly not reading the statistics right. The correct formulation would be, "Guns don't kill people. Americans kill people." If you contrast the prevalence of guns in e.g. Norway (tons of guns, more than the US) the adage becomes "Americans with handguns kill people."

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