We've all seen stuff like this before. http://www.boingboing.net/2011/01/24/flier-beats-tsa-vide.html
Some guy goes online and researches the law. He knows he is not required to show ID at the airport and he knows that he can film in any public space. Of course, the law enforcement officers on the scene do not know the law. Even though the guy gets acquitted in court, he owes a bunch of legal fees.
Of course, we see opposite situations as well. There was the guy who researched all the laws, and then used a remote controlled plane with an attached camera to take some great shots of NYC. When the police approached him, they acted appropriately.
I was thinking today, that there is an easy solution to all of these problems. We can make one federal law that applies to law enforcement agents no matter where they are. Here is what the law should do.
Basically if there is ever a situation where a non-violent civilian is engaged with a law enforcement officer, and there is a question about what is or is not legal, the law enforcement officer MUST make a call or use the Internet to verify the law and regulation. They must then read the regulation or law aloud to the civilian. Then both parties are free to change their minds before any action is taken. If the person realizes that yes, they are breaking the law, they can begin cooperating. If the officer realizes that no, this person isn't doing anything illegal, they can let them go. And, of course, if someone makes the wrong choice, on either side, they pay the price as usual. Be it being arrested for breaking the law, or getting busted for wrongful arrest.
In the age of the Internet, you should have to spend thousands of dollars on lawyers and go to court just because people can't understand the law. Not even lawyers know all the law. Civilians and cops are definitely not going to know all of it. With the technology we have now,the least we can do is look it up before we arrest people and make trouble for no reason.
If our government had any money, I would suggest one more thing. I would establish a nationwide free "is it legal" hotline accessible by phone and internet. Obviously this hotline will hurt lawyers, as they won't be able to charge people huge fees to answer simple legal questions anymore. However, they'll still make a bunch of money doing actual legal work. Also, the hotline should not give legal advice, as in "you should do X." It will only answer questions saying what is and is not legal, and what the penalties are.
Also, like 911, they should make recordings of all the calls public, for the sake of comedy.