If I was in a classroom and someone came and stood five feet away and just told me they were watching me, I would be on edge as well.
But what if he did neither of these things? What if he instead sat on a bench, set up a tripod, put on a wide lens, and recorded everything happening in a crowded public space? My guess is that people wouldn't react as strongly. But I wonder how they would feel. What do you think?
Photography in public is one of those topics that opens the door to armchair lawyers. People who have no training and little knowledge who just make stuff up off the top of their heads.
Interestingly in the UK there are specific exemptions for journalists. I'm not sure how tightly defined journalists are; there are press badges and journalistic qualifications, but that feels like a little bit of law that hasn't caught up with the Internet.
The words "childish" and "annoying" are dangerous to throw around here, because it creates a culture of non-acceptance and weirdness for someone who is doing nothing wrong. This is how liberties erode.
I guess he's just "exercising his liberties", but that doesn't make it elaborate. Unless pointing out that people don't like awkwardness is all of sudden an elaborate statement.
The responses are fascinating. A lot of people quick to anger. Many more people who have some — I'm assuming, although I'm no expert on the law in the particular area — false impression that they cannot be filmed without their permission. An alarming number of people who are prepared to call 911 over such a trivial matter.
I've never seen anything quite like this before.
How well would you work if I stood quite close to you, behind you, looking over your shoulder. "Ignore me! I'm just observing. Pretend I'm not here." I suspect many people would find that disturbing in a deep and hard to define way.
He's not doing anything illegal, but that doesn't mean he's not doing anything wrong. He is being rude, and he is confrontational.
Just because that is your approach, doesn't mean that it's true for him.
Also, it violates our sense of fairness. A security camera is watching everyone equally. Suppose we do the same with 1000 cameramen following 1000 people in the same square, how would people react?