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Point and Shoot: Is It Legal to Take Pictures of Factory Farms?

As authorities in Florida try to make taking photos of farms illegal, James Reeves traces the law's Red Scare roots and offers some legal tips.

People get nervous when they don't know why you're taking a picture of something. Pointing a camera at the Statute of Liberty is understandable. Taking a photo of a barge or some pilings in the East River attracts authorities. This anxiety is not just a feature of cities. Speeding through Utah one evening, I saw the beautiful skeleton of a wrecked cement mixer on the horizon, backlit by the sun setting beneath the blank Salt Flats. I pulled onto the shoulder of the empty highway with my camera ready to flash. Two minutes later, a man in sunglasses in a black jeep with tinted windows was hollering at me, demanding my camera.

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