Transportation Security Administration Catches Heat for Poster Implying Photographers are Possible Terrorists

Following two much-discussed stories last year, famous architecture photographer Grant Smith getting accosted and searched by the police for taking photos and footage from a hidden camera as another photographer was nearly arrested in Los Angeles for taking shots in a train station, it’s seemed like a quieter year for hearing big complaints over photogs being unfairly maligned by their governments. That is until now. Currently making the rounds is a new poster published by the Transportation Security Administration, which shows an image of a hooded evil-doer taking photographs of an airport’s runway. “Don’t let our planes get into the wrong hands,” it reads. Once it started being passed around, the TSA was apparently inundated with messages from people upset that the message it was conveying was that all photographers are potential terrorists, in particular those who like to take photos of planes. In response, the TSA has posted a message on their blog, vaguely apologizing and trying to make amends to photographers, though stopping well short of saying they’d discontinue use of the poster or alter its image. Here’s a bit:

Some felt this poster didn’t go far enough in distinguishing between general photography and suspicious surveillance activity. These images are simply meant to represent a number of different scenarios that are common in and around [general aviation] airfields. In fact, many photographers would be prime candidates to use such vigilance programs to report suspicious activity since they’re extremely observant of their surroundings. TSA works closely with members of the [general aviation] community to implement security protocols and programs to ensure the safety of the industry.