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Security expert Bruce Schneier: are photographers really a threat?

Posted 13 June, 2008 in Op-Ed

Bruce Schneier answers the question:

… Clearly any terrorist is going to first photograph his target, so vigilance is required.

Except that it’s nonsense. The 9/11 terrorists didn’t photograph anything. Nor did the London transport bombers, the Madrid subway bombers, or the liquid bombers arrested in 2006. Timothy McVeigh didn’t photograph the Oklahoma City Federal Building. The Unabomber didn’t photograph anything; neither did shoe-bomber Richard Reid. Photographs aren’t being found amongst the papers of Palestinian suicide bombers. The IRA wasn’t known for its photography. Even those manufactured terrorist plots that the US government likes to talk about — the Ft. Dix terrorists, the JFK airport bombers, the Miami 7, the Lackawanna 6 — no photography.

Given that real terrorists, and even wannabe terrorists, don’t seem to photograph anything, why is it such pervasive conventional wisdom that terrorists photograph their targets? Why are our fears so great that we have no choice but to be suspicious of any photographer?

Continue reading at The Guardian



Great article, thanks.

Mark Colquitt

Even with pinhole photography I’ve been moved on under ‘anti-terror’ laws and that’s just a wooden box, I don’t need to tell you what happened when I borrowed a friend’s photosniper!
This article is a great find, I’d print it out and keep it on me if I could find a security-gorrilla who looks like he could read!

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