I think it depends on the circumstances. If I'm on private property I usually ask permission first. If I'm on public property I simply tell the challenger (politely) to get lost. Anyone threatens me I reach for the cell phone - Do you really want to explain an assault charge to the police?"
I was in Chinatown in Victoria, BC and was snapping a photo inside a shop.
From the front of the store in a Kung Fu voice I hear "Nooooo Pictures!"
I was in his shop and I was a visitor in Canada and I couldn't help laughing about for the rest of the day. Depending on what the situation is one has to weigh if they want to waste their time arguing with someone about that award winning photo. (?) I can see standing your ground but pick your battles!
There are some crazies out there and after getting shot a recently in Hanksville UT! By someone (locals) who snuck up behind me took a shot and ran away like the cowards they are! The only thing I had done in Hanksville was snapped a few shots. I did make me think about where I point my lens and at what. Is it worth it?
I put in the best answer I could, but they didn't exactly fit.
I was threatened with arrest by an Amtrak security agent, but was able to speak to a supervisor, and brought out my copy of their rules and was allowed to continue.
I was threatened by a security guard of a building in Atlanta, who put his hand over my camera and ordered me to stop. I told him to step away, that I was on a public sidewalk, and had every right to take photos from there. He kept blocking me and said if I continued he'd call the police. I told him "Excellent," and pulled out my cell phone and dialed 911. He immediately retreated into the building and I finished taking my photos.
I was threatened with arrest by police twice, but explained what I was doing, and showed my press identification. I was allowed to continue. I wasn't taking photos of police action, and I still wonder if I was, would I have been allowed to continue or would I have been arrested like quite a few photographers have been in recent times. In both cases I was taking photos from bridges of industrial complexes, a refinery and a chemical plant.
I was walking around in NYC on the sidewalk snapping photos and two dudes claimed to be security for a building told me to stop and asked me why I was photoing the building. I told them I'd stop if they felt strongly about it but it was definitely legal. This was before I was a lawyer.
The poll really should have better questions.
It doesn't mention if one is on public or private property.
I have been assigned to photography things at malls and without permission from the mall or the managers of the stores, conflict in doing ones job is hindered. Editors are pretty ignorant about obtaining permission.
There are occasions were fire departments thing they have police authority and TELL you not to photograph fires. The point is that is all depends on where you are and what you are photographing.
Something things are not worth pushing because of the news value.
I was detained until they noticed they were being recorded by a local news crew.