To some, Wyoming’s Senate Bill 12 — otherwise known as the Data Trespass Bill — is merely a deepening of preexisting trespass laws — a way for private landowners to seek recourse from individuals trespassing on their property to collect data.
To others, the law is nothing short of an unconstitutional ban on citizen science throughout the state.
Passed by the Wyoming state government and signed into law by Gov. Matt Mead (R) in March, the law makes it illegal to “collect resource data” from any land outside of city boundaries, whether that land be private, public, or federal. Under to the law, “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.”
Imagine, for a second, a hiker who is taking a walk through a national forest in Wyoming. During that hike, she notices a visibly polluted stream within the area. The next day, she returns with a camera to take a picture of the stream, with the intention of showing those photographs to the local authorities as proof of pollution. Under the Data Trespass Bill, unless the hiker obtained specific permission from the land’s owner or manager — in this case, the Forest Service — to collect that data, she would be subject to prosecution that could result in up to $5,000 in fines and a year in prison.
(There's more at the link...)
This is a great opportunity for 2 things:
A massive civil disobedience campaign. Sierra Club is probably organizing one already.
1. In the process of taking pictures, it will be possible to catalog the environmental meltdown occurring in a typical western state comprehensively.
Photos should be e-mailed to the WY attorney genreral, along with the photog's (the perp's) contact info.
2. Don't pay the fine they offer you -- insist on your right to a jury trial.
The state's conention that they can foist such a ridiculous and patently unconstitutional law among us wouldn't survive the first 15 minutes of the first trial.