Council denies ‘data protection’ photo ban (update)

December 10, 2008

Edinburgh council denies that an event steward – employed by a private company on the council’s behalf – stopped a photographer taking photos on grounds of ‘data protection’.

Earlier we reported that David Elder (pictured) had been planning to take pictures of fairground rides and panoramic views at the city’s Winter Wonderland event.

But, after setting up his tripod, David said that an official told him he would be in breach of data protection laws.

In an interview with Amateur Photographer David added that he was also told he could only take pictures of his ‘immediate family’.

The retired lawyer described the official’s behavior as ‘ridiculous’.

A spokeswoman for The City of Edinburgh Council has since denied the steward stopped him on grounds of data protection. ‘We have no record of him, saying that,’ she told us.

But she refused to tell us what the steward did say to the 72-year-old, saying this is a confidential matter.

The council spokeswoman added: ‘He was not stopped. He was asked to move the tripod so they could clear the footway.’

However, David insists his tripod was not in anyone’s way. ?Having been a keen amateur photographer for over 40 years I know better than to put up a tripod and camera in a spot that would impede the public ? apart from anything else there?s a risk they could have been knocked over and damaged.?

In a statement a spokesman for the ‘Edinburgh’s Christmas’ organisers said: ‘We have a responsibility for public safety and welfare, so we simply ask that anyone planning to use camera equipment make themselves known to the site stewards so that an on-site photography pass can be arranged.

‘It is our aim to accommodate both professional and amateur photographers on site where we can, and since this isolated incident, we have reiterated our policy to stewards so any future disappointment is avoided.’

David was using a Canon EOS D60 camera with a 28-80mm lens.

He accused the council of adopting a ‘scattergun approach’ to their photography rules.

David told us that, moments before he was stopped, a group of police officers had said ‘not a dickie-bird’ when they saw him setting up his equipment.



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