Jake Adelstein at the Japanese Subculture Research Center has written up an interesting article regarding the ongoing Olympus scandal, focusing on the organized crime allegations that have been brought against the company:
In year 2008, something happened at Olympus that turned the company from an entity focussed on seven major business areas, into a company completely out of focus, blurred by a total of seventeen business areas, to include real estate, investments, consulting, waste disposal, labor dispatch, and running travel agencies. Igari Toshiro, former prosecutor turned anti-yakuza crusader, who was Japan’s greatest expert on white-collar organized crime aka the keizai yakuza (経済ヤクザ）and many veteran organized crime detectives have stated that one of the first signs that a company has been infiltrated by anti-social forces is a sudden and totally new change in company direction–especially into areas like waste disposal, labor dispatch (temporary staffing), and real estate—all areas where anti-social forces have carved out a large niche for themselves.
Just days after being fired, former Chairman Michael Woodford was quoted as saying, “There were $800 million in payments to buy companies making face cream and Tupperware. What the hell were we doing paying $800 million for these companies?”
OLYMPUS: Bringing It Into Focus [Japan Subculture Research Center]
Image credit: OLYMPUS PEN E-P1 by sinkdd
Earlier this year we saw the launch of two search engines — Stolen Camera Finder and GadgetTrak Serial Search — that help find stolen cameras by searching photos on the web for the serial numbers. The idea is neat, but no one knew whether it would actually help recover stolen gear or not. Turns out it does work.
If your photographs ever include the faces of strangers, you might not want to move to Slovenia. Boštjan Burger, a Slovenian photographer that shoots immersive 360° panoramas, has been ordered by the government there to take down roughly 11,000 photo from his website and delete them from his backups because they violate privacy laws. His crime? Showing faces, street addresses, and license plates in his panoramas taken in public locations. Rather than face a year in jail and a €12,000 (~$20,000) fine, photo pages on his site now read “DISPLAY OF VIRTUAL REALITY PANORAMA IS DISABLED DUE THE SLOVENIAN GOVERNMENT INSPECTION”.
Turns out living in the European Union doesn’t automatically grant you basic photographers’ rights.
(via PanoToolsNG via Facebook )
Thanks for the tip, Mark!
If ordinary citizens have the right to photograph police in public places, what about the other way around? That’s a question that’s sure to be asked often in the coming days, as 40 law enforcement agencies across the US are planning to use iPhones to photograph civilians for the purpose of identifying wanted perps. The system, called Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System (MORIS), costs $3,000 apiece and will be able to do facial recognition searches on a database of known criminals. Photographers’ rights will apply to cops too — police won’t be required to ask permission before snapping a photograph of your face!
(via Amateur Photographer and WSJ)
On Saturday, the Leica store in Moscow was targeted by two masked men who used a sledgehammer to break through the door and shatter all the windows. Apparently the thieves didn’t know too much about Leica gear: they stole a $300 flash unit but left a $23,000 Leica S2 medium format camera sitting on the shelf. Leica has published a list of stolen items and their serial numbers here, and is asking customers to compare serial numbers when buying gear from unauthorized sources.
(via Leica Camera Russia Blog via Leica Rumors)
Yesterday we shared a disconcerting art project by Kyle McDonald in which he installed apps in Apple Stores throughout NYC to secretly photograph customers staring into the computers. We predicted that Apple wouldn’t be too happy about it and, lo and behold, it’s pissed. The company has reportedly enlisted the help of the US Secret Service to investigate McDonald’s actions. Mashable writes,
[...] four Secret Service men in suits woke him up on Thursday morning with a search warrant for computer fraud. They confiscated two computers, an iPod and two flash drives, and told McDonald that Apple would contact him separately.
McDonald, who has a master’s degree in electronic arts, admits the project might make some people uncomfortable. Before he began, he got permission from Apple’s security guards to take photos in the store, then asked customers if he could take their photos (with a camera). Had they all said no, he says, he wouldn’t have proceeded.
It’ll be interesting to see how this case turns out, but it appears to be another example of a common sense fail when it comes to photography.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a new law last week that makes it a crime to post images to the Internet that “frighten, intimidate, or cause emotional distress.” Violators found guilty of doing so now face up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines.
[...] for image postings, the “emotionally distressed” individual need not be the intended recipient. Anyone who sees the image is a potential victim. If a court decides you “should have known” that an image you posted would be upsetting to someone who sees it, you could face months in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. [#]
Needless to say, the Internet is in an uproar over this, and it seems pretty likely that the law will be struck down for being unconstitutional very soon.
(via The Volokh Conspiracy via Engadget)
Image credit: Peek-A-Brother by evilpeacock
On Memorial Day 2011, Narces Benoit witnessed and filmed a group of Miami police officers shooting and killing a suspect in a car chase and armed robbery. He was then confronted by officers who handcuffed him and smashed his cell phone, but Benoit was able to sneakily preserve the video with some quick thinking. The Miami Herald writes,
Benoit said the officers eventually uncuffed him after gunshots rang out elsewhere and he discreetly removed the [memory] card and placed it in his mouth.
Officers again took his phone, demanding his video. He said they took him to a nearby mobile command center, snapped a picture of him, then took him to police headquarters and conducted a recorded interview while he kept the [memory] card in his mouth. He insisted his phone was broken.
The video was uploaded to YouTube yesterday, and has since gone viral. A local news cameraman also had his camera confiscated and thrown into the back of a police car.
(via The Miami Herald via Carlos Miller)
Update: Turns out it wasn’t a SIM card, but an SD memory card that was used in a HTC EVO. (Thanks Caleb!)
Update: You can read the National Press Photographers Association’s response here.
New Jersey is considering a new law that would make it a third-degree crime to photograph children without parental consent. More specifically, bill A3297 would prevent people from shooting photos or videos of children when “a reasonable parent or guardian would not expect his child to be the subject of such reproduction”. Apparently the bill was proposed after a 63-year-old pedophile was caught recording young children at a swimming pool last summer, but was released because he hadn’t committed any serious crime. In New Jersey, third-degree crimes carry potential punishments of 3-5 years in jail and a $15,000 fine.
It’s too bad bad a few bad apples always seem to ruin things for legitimate photographers.
(via nj.com via Reddit)
Image credit: NJ – Jersey City: Justice Brennan Courthouse by wallyg
A couple weeks ago we reported that a lawmaker in Florida was trying to make photographing farms a felony. Turns out the Florida Senate Committee on Agriculture actually approved the bill this week, but only after passing a couple amendments that make the bill a little more reasonable. The new version of the bill only concerns photographs taken by people who trespass onto the private farmland, and instead of a felony the crime will now be a misdemeanor. Whew.
By the way, some folks in Iowa are trying to pass a similar bill…
Florida Farm Bill Update (via dvafoto)
Image credit: Thai Farmland by marctonysmith