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Broome Government Camera Policy Revealed

Bob Joseph/WNBF News

Your iPhone or iPad could be seized if you violate the new Broome County government “camera policy.”

The policy at the Broome County Office Building was put in place August 3, almost three months ago.

All county employees were informed of the new regulations in a message issued by Deputy County Executive Bijoy Datta. It apparently has not been publicly announced.

A Binghamton Now listener learned of the policy after he submitted a Freedom of Information Law request October 17 seeking information regarding press credential issued by the county since 2006.

The topic of county-issued press credentials was discussed on the radio program after it was noted “credentialed members of the media” were invited to attend a news conference that was to be held by County Executive Debra Preston.

In responding to the information request, records access officer Aaron Martin advised that the request had been denied by the County Executive’s Office because “the county does not have a formal application for Press Credentials” so such records don’t exist.

Martin’s response indicated the county had recently implemented a camera policy. The policy as outlined by Datta was attached.

The policy states that it’s designed to “safeguard confidential information and to reduce possibilities for illegal harassment.”

Under the rules, employees and visitors are prohibited from using “imaging equipment” in areas where signs are posted indicating cameras aren’t allowed.

The policy stipulates electronic equipment on county premises “may not be used to defame, embarrass, or disparage the County, employees, citizens, or vendors.”

Images which violate the policy are subject to “confiscation of equipment and the images and or recordings being destroyed.”

Those who violate the policy may be fired and may be barred from entering the County Office Building.

News organizations are allowed to use cameras if they’ve “obtained permission from the people and offices for which they will be filming or photographing.”

The camera policy concludes by thanking employees for cooperating, noting: “Without your help, we wouldn’t be able to operate a safe and friendly work place.”

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