by Claire Bernish, Activist Post:
Taking scenic pictures anywhere outside city limits in the state of Wyoming could now get you thrown in jail. Signed into law in March, the Data Trespass Bill enhances laws against trespassing, but the intent of the bill seems to be clear — protecting polluters from prosecution by criminalizing the collecting of evidence against them.
No, it’s not exactly as simple as just snapping a photo, but if you want to “collect resource data” without express consent to do so and you intend to pass it on to a government agency, the penalties include a fine of up to $5,000 and/or a year in prison.
Under the law’s sweeping language, “to collect” means to “take a sample of material, acquire, gather, photograph or otherwise preserve information in any form from ‘open land’ which is submitted or intended to be submitted to any agency of the state or federal government.” With such a sweeping definition, proving the intention to pass along such evidence might not be so difficult, and could potentially include taking a picture of, say, Yellowstone.
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