Say WHAT? Police confiscate man's video camera for recording public incident, claiming HIPAA violation

Police officers have been known to illegally stop someone from recording their actions in public spaces.  But police in Ramsey County have offered a new “explanation” and claim that a man recording an incident in public violated HIPAA.  Emily Gurnon reports:

Andrew Henderson watched as Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies frisked a bloody-faced man outside his Little Canada apartment building. Paramedics then loaded the man, a stranger to Henderson, into an ambulance.

Henderson, 28, took out his small handheld video camera and began recording. It’s something he does regularly with law enforcement.


He had been filming from about 30 feet away, he said. Henderson said deputies gave him no warning before Muellner took his camera.

The deputy wrote on the citation, “While handling a medical/check the welfare (call), (Henderson) was filming it. Data privacy HIPAA violation. Refused to identify self. Had to stop dealing with sit(uation) to deal w/Henderson.”

Henderson appeared in Ramsey County District Court on Jan. 2. A pretrial hearing was rescheduled for Jan. 30.

The allegation that his recording of the incident violated HIPAA, or the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is nonsense, said Jennifer Granick, a specialist on privacy issues at Stanford University Law School.

The rule deals with how health care providers handle consumers’ health information.

“There’s nothing in HIPAA that prevents someone who’s not subject to HIPAA from taking photographs on the public streets,” Granick said. “HIPAA has absolutely nothing to say about that.”

Read more on Pioneer Press. Henderson plans to pursue this if the charges against him are not dropped.

I’ve never heard of another case like this, have you?

I would prefer that people choose not to upload films of people having medical problems in public to the Internet, but citing HIPAA as a justification to stop someone from recording in a public space seems just wrong.

h/t, Infowarrior List

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