Budapest street scene. (Photo by James Guppy via Flickr)

According The Guardian newspaper, a new law in Hungary that took effect on March 15th will make it illegal to take a photograph of someone without their express permission.  

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The new civil code covers anyone in the frame, which means that in theory, photographers will have to seek permission from anyone in the foreground or background whether they are the subject or they are incidental to the shot, as long as they are identifiable in the photo. 

The article states that the law simply codifies current court policy, but photographers are understandably up in arms, complaining the rules are "vague and obstructive." The Guardian quotes Márton Magócsi, senior photo editor at the news site Origo as saying, "having to ask for permission beforehand is quite unrealistic in any reportage situation."

The scenarios under which this civil code could be enforced are interesting. Would tourists on vacation have to ask permission of other tourists on the Chain Bridge? Would news photographers have to get permission of every attendee at a rally or sporting event? 

Perhaps the biggest problem is the potential for a crackdown on reportage in the country, since in theory under the new law it would be legal for police or other security officers to prevent photography where non-approved subjects might be included. Imagine a protest where photographers have their gear confiscated by police because they're violating this civil code, and you can see why the law has Hungarian photographers upset. 

Read the full story on The Guardian. Do you live in Hungary? Will the new law affect your photographic work?