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While in France, I was taking video of a police operation (they were evicting some squatters in caravans from a field, about 50 of them).

One of the police officers quickly approached me and asked me to stop, saying it's illegal, to give him my id etc etc....

Well, I offered to delete the video, and he let me go. Is it really illegal to take pictures/videos of the police in France (I was not really even focusing on the police, but on the caravans), or was he just abusing power?

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Daniel’s link pretty much covers it, but I’d like to add the following :

  • If the filming happens in public space ("espace public"), there should be no reason to ban you from filming.
  • Conversely, if the filming happens in a restricted/security area (i.e. military facility, nuclear power plant, etc.), it’s most probably illegal (and probably visibly displayed).
  • Also, the policeman may have been either misinformed… or bluffing.

In that last case though, you should be able to prove your identity at anytime while in France (whether filming or not), but you shouldn’t be obligated to give or delete the video.

And even if you refused to comply (except for ID check), that’s nothing a penal lawyer couldn’t get you out, but that doesn’t mean that the policeman couldn’t make your life miserable for the next few hours, so deleting the video was probably a good way to avoid further trouble.

Also : https://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec

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