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Discussion Starter #1
I wanted to share a troubling story from today. We made the trip to square one to buy 3G ipad2's. We figure we can easily sell our lightly used wifi models. While waiting in line everyone was taking pictures and video (many already posted to the net). At one point there seemed to be a disagreement going on between some guys and security so I decided to quietly video it with my ipad2. In a scene straight out of the g20 one of the security guards came over and told me I couldn't video in the mall so I complied and stopped. He asked me to delete the video I had taken and reached his hand up. I pulled away and gave a simple no and turned and began walking back towards where my place in line with my husband was. He then went police on me. He started asking me for my name and ID. I explained that he did not have the right to demand this information and I would not be provided. He continued to follow me and asked me if I was with anyone today. I explained that I did not feel that was any of his business. By this time I had reached our group in line. He proceeded to tell me that I was being asked to leave the mall. I explained calmly to him that I did not believe I had done anything wrong and I would be happy to discuss the situation with a mall manager or the security supervisor. He then said "I am removing you from the mall because you are emotionally unstable".

Needless to say I was not the only one offended by his behaviour but I want to be clear here that at no point did I insult this security officer, raise my voice or become at all hostile. I simply refused to comply with a request that infringed on my rights.

I sat down quietly in line and within minutes there was now a group of guards standing over me. Our I initial guard was now giving his side of the story to a supervisor just out of our earshot. When the supervisor approached I calmly explained my position and that I felt the first guards behaviour had been inappropriate but that in the interest of peace I was willing to delete the video and proceeded to do so in front of them. I also explained that my sole purpose was after hours of waiting to go ahead and make a large purchase in the Apple store (we spent $4000).

Unfortunately this was still not sufficient for our mall cop who continued on his power trip. He informed me that I was to be arrested. Meanwhile those around me in line stepped in to explain that they felt this was ridiculous and kept shouting to point out all of the people taking pictures and video of the whole scene. I simply remained sitting and calmly stated that I would be happy to review the situation with the mall manager or security manager. As the mood of the crowd around them was obviously not in their favor and I was simply sitting in my place and not complying with their requests to get up and leave they seemed to back off and we thought that was the end of it.

Some time later our mall cop and the first supervisor returned. He informed me that against his wishes I was being allowed to stay. He almost spat the words at me in anger. He then gave what would seem to be a forced brief apology for calling me "emotionally unbalanced". In hopes of clearing the matter once and for all I reciprocated and apologized stating it was not my intention to cause him any offense and if I had I was sorry. Unfortunately he couldn't leave it at that. He then proceeded to give me a lecture about how I was on private property and could be arrested for whatever they felt like. I was also told that they don't normally have trouble with "your kind". I let that one slide and simply said that I felt the whole issue could have been avoided from the beginning if it were handled differently.

Okay that is the story. Apparently the mall cops are enforcing some kind of no pictures or video policy at random in square one among other things. Based on my experience I would say the security staff are young and inappropriately trained and destined to cause a major lawsuit. Even the manager of the Apple Store was completely unaware of this policy and apologized profusely.

The greatest of ironies was that on our way out walking through the mall we passed a sign advertising the square one app for your iPhone. It had one of those square bar codes on it that you would have to take a picture of to scan.

What a crazy world.
 

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I think they certainly over-reacted, but for the record photography/filming bans are common in many private and public (government) buildings. The reasons are two-fold. Firstly, if you film someone, even accidentally, without them signing a waiver, and that video/picture makes it onto a website or youtube, the location (in this case the mall) risks a lawsuit.

Secondly, most places like this have a system in place to apply for permission to take pictures. This is typically for film/commercial scouts or commercial photographers. This procedure allows the business to document who is filming what, and ensure that any applicable fees for use of images are paid. Unfortunately, it is becoming a growing issue that professional photographers or scouts will pose as students or simply sneak pictures with cell phones and similar devices in order to bypass these procedures.

In most cases, procedure for security guards is to request the images be deleted. If you refuse (and sometimes even if you don't) the procedure is to evict you immediately in order to prevent you from capturing further images. If you continue to resist, procedure is to contact the police to have them remove you as soon as possible, as well as confiscate your camera.

Unfortunately, sometimes when they train these kids they forget to tell them that discretion should play in here too. However, I suspect he was following policy as had been given to him.

I work in a Toronto municipal government building, and we've had a rash of these types of incidents lately. They've been reminding us of the procedure we should instruct our security should take recently, which is why I know this.
 

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I guess anyone can invent a "policy", but would it really ever stand up in court? Is there a reasonable expectation of privacy in a public space? (private property can be a public space). Commercial benefit from a likeness is different than a private video, I think.

Just playing devils's advocate here. The so-called ban isn't necessarily legit.
 

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The problem for places like this is that they can't tell whether this is personal or commercial use. Like I said, underhanded people (typically location scouts) have been increasingly trying to pose as personal users.

In municipal buildings everyone is absolutely forbidden to photograph anyone without them first signing a waiver form, even staff. Verbal permission is not sufficient. It's almost impossible to completely enforce though.

I don't think they really need their rule to stand up in court, they have a right to evict you if they want to. That's actually probably why they used the "emotionally unstable" line. Unless you can prove it as discrimination, there's not much you can do about it. They can put whatever they want in their code of conduct, and you agree to abide by it just by entering. If you don't, they have the right to evict you.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have a few problems with this policy.

1) Square One and all of the other malls use video cameras that tape my every move without asking for my permission or anyone else's. Mall security people even post funny videos online from these cameras.

2) There is ample legal precedent that states that nobody has a reasonable expectation to privacy in a public place. A Shopping Centre may be on private property but it is certainly public.

3) The multitude of people in a shopping mall or other public place with cameras and recording devices who are using them constantly without interuption supports the fact that these policies are clearly very selectively enforced. You simply can't do that under the law. The only reason they had a problem with me taping was that they didn't like the fact that I might be documenting inappropriate behaviour on their part. It had nothing to do with any policy. A simple google search will show many multitudes of videos online some even taken today. When informed of the policy I immediately complied by stopping (there were no warnings in this regard). My only objection was to deleting video I had taken.

4) Nobody has the right to simply walk up to you and tell you to delete a picture or video because it was taken without permission. If that was the case the Stars wouldn't have to worry about Photographers at every turn. While it is in good manners to ask before taking pictures or video that is not always done especially when something is going on that you might feel needs documenting. The videographer in the Rodney King case did not ask the Police if it was ok to video them. This is a good thing.

5) Square One uses codes in their advertising in the mall that require a camera to access. This constitutes permission to use such devices inside.

The proliferation of cameras and video cameras in our society is one of the things that is helping balance the erosion of our rights. Look at the multitude of videos that have come out in the wake of the G20. Police have also successfully used private citizens videos to catch quite a few criminals.

The irony is with the new iPad and other Tablets having cameras the world will be watching even more. I am not a trouble maker by any sense of the word but I will not comply with unlawful requests. If they will treat a respectable middle class woman of my age with such contempt for my rights imagine how they treat the kids.
 

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This may be an unpopular opinion but most of your points are incorrect/irrelevant.

1) Square One can do whatever they like on their property as long as it doesn't break any laws. Filming of people for security purposes does not break any laws and does not require permission.

2) No, private property is private property. If they don't want you taking pictures of their customers, then you can't take pictures. Expectation of privacy has nothing to do with it.

3) Yes, they can certainly enforce their rules as they see fit. I agree that you wouldn't been bothered if you had been filming your friends/family but they can certainly prohibit the filming of security "incidents".

4) Irrelevant. Stars are fair game as soon as they step into public space. The Rodney King and G20 incidents occurred outside in public space. IANAL but I suspect if you were caught taking video in a movie theatre or taking photos in an art gallery you'd be told to delete your video/photos.

5) Again, owners can dictate how devices can be used on their property. A very common example of this is the "No flash photography allowed" sign which dictates how you can use your camera.
 

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1. They have a right to videotape you because it is their property. I doubt they can legally do so secretly, but as long as they don't do that it is fine. Posting security footage online without your knowledge is possibly illegal and definitely unethical, and I would be shocked if the mall endorsed it.

2. That might make lawsuits ineffective in practice, but trust me, that doesn't lessen the concern of places like Square One who fear lawsuits.

3. It's not a law, it's a policy. Unless you can prove that they are discriminating against you without reason, they can enforce it at their discretion. Like any private property they are free to set their own policies. Like I said, it's practically impossible to actually enforce, so they instead do so at their discretion. I can guarantee you that their code of conduct includes some sort of catch-all language about this.

4. They can tell you to do whatever you want. To be honest, I'm not sure whether you would have any legal obligation to actually do what they say, but they can still ask, and they can evict you if you refuse.

5. Scanning QR codes isn't the same as taking pictures.

Like I said, they overreacted and should have used a little more discretion. Taking some time to explain their policy would have been a good idea, and probably would have avoided the whole mess.
 

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I'm sure the entire situation was simply fear they'd be on YouTube today and then possibly on the news.

At places like 'The Princess of Wales' theatre they do not allow any video or pictures. If you do, you must prove you deleted it or they take your camera. You can be evicted with no refund.

I guess, if I ask someone to leave my house, I can call the police if you refuse.

So, while not very fair, given the situation, it does fit that anyone can be asked to leave private property for any reason.
 

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If Square One doesn't have a sign specifically saying you can't photograph or record then until they ask you to you are allowed. That being said once they asked you to stop you do have to comply. I doubt they can ask you to delete what you've already done prior to this, if they really didn't want you to record at all they would post a sign.

As to the rest of it: If it really bothers you, and obviously it does there's a much simpler way to handle this. Write a letter to the Square One management office, and send a copy to the Apple Store manager at Square One (Make sure you mention this in the letter)

Describe what happened, mention the agressive behaviour, the hostile atmosphere and the statements about your mental competence.

Security guards don't have any rights that you don't, even on the property they're paid to work. The only right he has is to call the police and have them deal with you, the intimidation (give me your id!) the name calling etc is simply unprofessional and there's a good chance that Square One doesn't want him working for them if they found out about it. Which is of course why he had to 'apologize'

I guess I should add that the security guard (as the duly designated representative for the mall) does have the right to have you removed from the properly at any time, but as you can probably guess most shopping malls aren't too interested in having their security guards just willy nilly ejecting people from the premises. I'll leave that as an exercise to the reader as to why :)
 
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