Geographer’s prosecution chills social scientists

Almost two years ago one of my oldest friends, Bradley L Garrett, boarded a plane at Heathrow airport. As it taxied on the runway, the British Transport Police arrived and dragged him off the plane. He was accused of conspiracy to commit criminal damage, writes Adam Fish for The Conversation.

Garrett, a geographer at the University of Oxford, originally from the US, went on trial earlier this month for alleged crimes surrounding his research into urban exploration. He has been handed a conditional discharge, which basically means he is off the hook as long as he doesn’t do it again. But his story should act as a warning to researchers and to anyone who benefits from researchers gathering information about human beings. In other words, everyone.

While Garrett clearly crossed certain legal boundaries, by embarking on what he called “recreational” trespass, he did so as an ethnographer conducting legitimate social scientific research for what he considered the public good.
Full report on The Conversation site