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The Return of Surveillance Camera Man 188

Posted by samzenpus
from the smile-for-the-camera dept.
theodp writes "Remember Surveillance Camera Man, the anonymous guy who walked up to random people around Seattle and creeped them out by taking video of them without explanation? GeekWire reports that he's back with a new video compilation of his adventures in pushing people's privacy buttons, the latest installment in an apparent ongoing commentary on the pervasiveness of public surveillance, which has taken on a whole new twist with increased fretting over the recording capabilities of Google Glass and heightened concern over privacy in general, thanks to the NSA data surveillance controversy."
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The Return of Surveillance Camera Man

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  • by futuramasd (2958127) on Sunday June 23, 2013 @10:49AM (#44084941)
    Annoyingly filming other people. The subjects are obviously annoyed and almost go hit him. I hope you see why Google Glass is a ridiculously bad idea.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      especially when his definition of "public" involves entering people's home.

    • by BSAtHome (455370) on Sunday June 23, 2013 @11:07AM (#44085047)

      I don't get it. This guy should be beaten? But the hundreds of stationary cameras, operated by the state, which are doing exactly the same thing is OK? I think the _state_ needs to get a beating.

      He makes it a spectacle, yes, but he has a very good point. We are constantly stalked by cameras and mobile phones. I think you need to get your priorities straight.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Jawnn (445279)
        Oh. So all those cameras that are keeping us safe from teh terrorists are a bad thing? Is that what you're saying? That's just crazy talk, you socialist terrorist lover.
        • by rastos1 (601318)
          How do you know that one of the filmed people are not terrorists? The police certainly would be more than happy to have a high quality close up video rather then something like this [guim.co.uk].

          Yeah. Sure. It is creepy. Just like the cameras that are under the mall ceiling or on the street poles. If people don't like video being taken of them, I suggest they do it everywhere and every time. You know, just being consistent.

          • by Jawnn (445279)
            It is well beyond creepy, and if this is to be the normal state of affairs between "our" government and us (we, whose consent is the sole authority for that government to do absolutely anything), then "the terrorists" have most certainly won.
      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday June 23, 2013 @11:40AM (#44085219) Homepage Journal

        I don't get it. This guy should be beaten? But the hundreds of stationary cameras, operated by the state, which are doing exactly the same thing is OK? I think the _state_ needs to get a beating.

        You know, there's nothing inconsistent about believing that both this man and the law are asses.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          People don't appear to take responsibility to make complaints for state operated cameras. It is apparent that these cameras are tolerable as evidenced by this action.

        • by adolf (21054)

          You know, there's nothing inconsistent about believing that both this man and the law are asses.

          You know, perhaps that is exactly the point.

          The difference between him and the State (or he and the coffee house, or whatever) is that he is both highly visible, and able to run away, while a lone camera can do neither of these things.

      • by grumbel (592662)

        The state doesn't post videos of peoples on the Internet for shits and giggles and companies like Google take quite some effort to blur everybody faces before publishing anything. Furthermore the problem with this guy isn't even the camera, if he would just walk around and stare at people he would get pretty much the same reaction. So all he is showing is essentially that people get aggressive when you violate social norms. Surveillance on the other side doesn't really do that, England is full of cameras, y

        • by DragonTHC (208439)

          the point is, you have no expectation of privacy in public.

          You can be filmed and are filmed on a daily basis without your explicit consent.

          But by entering a public place you're giving up your privacy.

      • What is it you don't get? Yes, the guy should be beaten and the state should be beaten. The guy apears to be weaker than the state, so let's start with him...

      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        He makes it a spectacle, yes, but he has a very good point. We are constantly stalked by cameras and mobile phones. I think you need to get your priorities straight.

        Except that's not the point he's making. The only point he is making is that when people are exposed to an overtly sociopathic personality they go heavily on the defense. I have no problem with being recorded. I don't have a problem with discrete recording devices. I do have a problem with someone coming up and sticking a camera in my face.

        None of this has anything to do with the act of recording or the camera itself. In his last movie it summed it up quite nicely when the fat guy turned around and said "Yo

        • He makes it a spectacle, yes, but he has a very good point. We are constantly stalked by cameras and mobile phones. I think you need to get your priorities straight.

          Except that's not the point he's making. The only point he is making is that when people are exposed to an overtly sociopathic personality they go heavily on the defense. I have no problem with being recorded. I don't have a problem with discrete recording devices. I do have a problem with someone coming up and sticking a camera in my face.

          What if they're not invading your personal space, but stand 6 feet away with a camera? 10 feet? Is it "sticking something in your face" you're objecting to, or the camera? And if it's the camera, why don't you have a problem with being recorded or discrete recording devices?

          None of this has anything to do with the act of recording or the camera itself. In his last movie it summed it up quite nicely when the fat guy turned around and said "You even look like an asshole". I don't think I've thought that of any shop owner with a CCTV system before.

          On the contrary, I think the videos were summed up quite well by the exchange with the guy on the phone:
          Guy on phone: "Excuse me, I'm having a private conversation."
          Surveillance man: "No, you're not."

          • by thegarbz (1787294)

            What if they're not invading your personal space, but stand 6 feet away with a camera? 10 feet? Is it "sticking something in your face" you're objecting to, or the camera? And if it's the camera, why don't you have a problem with being recorded or discrete recording devices?

            The concept of personal space varies with the thoughts and opinions of the person. Me standing next to some people photographing their friends and I happen to be in the photo not an issue. Some one comming up and snapping a picture of me? No problem. Someone trains their video camera past me in a completely unbiased way? Go for it.

            Someone targeting me with their camera, visually, and following me on the other hand invokes a creep factor and my personal space suddenly gets VERY big.

            I've answered your discret

    • by DragonTHC (208439)

      and yet no one blinks an eye when they can't see the man behind the camera.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      I love uneducated people like you.

      I have Google Glass, and 100% of the people I encounter want to know more and are very curious about it. I suggest you actually get education about what you are talking about, because to anyone that has even a glimmer of a clue about Google Glass, you sound like a complete fool to them.

      • by JimMcc (31079)

        Just remember, curious is not synonymous with approve or accept.

        If I met somebody with a Google Glass I too would be curious. That doesn't mean I would approve or welcome the person taking a video of me. As irrational as it is, to a lot of people there is a big difference between somebody standing there blatantly videoing you Vs the ever present surveillance cameras, at least from an emotional perspective.

    • by tlambert (566799)

      Annoyingly filming other people. The subjects are obviously annoyed and almost go hit him. I hope you see why Google Glass is a ridiculously bad idea.

      I guess you're the guy who took the baseball bat to the ATM for filming you, right?

  • capabilities of Google Glass and heightened concern over privacy in general, thanks to the NSA data surveillance controversy."

    The guy's an idiot, then. If anything saves us from 1984 it will be everybody having this stuff on all the time. It's the politicians misusing it that's the problem, and if everything they do is recorded (to say nothing of common criminality)...

    • by DragonTHC (208439)

      flash back 250 years.

      If anything saves us from the Tyranny of the King, it will surely be having regulars quartered in our houses.
      If those soldiers abuse and harm us, that's the problem

  • by poity (465672) on Sunday June 23, 2013 @10:54AM (#44084969)

    He's still injecting people's aversion to being physically stalked into the equation. Whether through ignorance or deliberate slight of hand, he makes the assumption that peoples' reactions to being unwillingly made the sole object of attention in public is the same reaction of of those people if put under surveillance.

  • Idiot (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cob666 (656740)
    This guy is an idiot and I'm surprised he doesn't get his ass kicked more often.
    • Re:Idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr. Slippery (47854) <`ten.suomafni' `ta' `smt'> on Sunday June 23, 2013 @11:25AM (#44085147) Homepage

      This guy is brilliant. The idiots are the people sitting around outside yakking on their cellphones who want to label it a "private conversation". Not when you're inflicting it on everyone at the next table.

      And this guy:

      Passer-by: "I don't really care for other people to just be taking a random video of me."

      Surveillance Camera Man: "Didn't you just come out the drugstore?"

      Passer-by: "Yeah."

      Surveillance Camera Man: "They have cameras in there."

      Passer-by: "So?" (pushes Surveillance Camera Man).

      If you're ready to assault this guy, why are you not out wrecking the surveillance state, spraypainting cameras and calling for better privacy laws? The cognitive dissonance is amazing.

      • by Nidi62 (1525137)

        Passer-by: "I don't really care for other people to just be taking a random video of me."

        Surveillance Camera Man: "Didn't you just come out the drugstore?"

        Passer-by: "Yeah."

        Surveillance Camera Man: "They have cameras in there."

        That is not random surveillance. For one, you are entering the store's property, and their cameras are for identification purposes should the store be robbed. Their cameras also only film people who go into the store, ie customers. Therefore, this is no longer random recording, but targeted recording. This is rather different than some asshole standing on public property filming random people because he thinks he is making some kind of statement.

        • you are entering the store's property,

          So what? An act is right or wrong independent of whether the state has issued a piece of paper making the part of the planet on which it occurs someone's so-called 'property". And many surveillance cameras, privately and publicly owned, record public spaces.

          and their cameras are for identification purposes should the store be robbed

          Their cameras are for whatever the store management decides they are for. If a woman has a nip slip that gets caught on the store's camera

          • by dbIII (701233)

            Amazing the anger and hostility SCM brings up

            Not really. As an unaccompanied male walk into a children's playground with an SLR camera around your neck and you'll see exactly the same thing, if not more.

            • by Aighearach (97333)

              As an unaccompanied male walk into a children's playground with an SLR camera around your neck and you'll see exactly the same thing, if not more.

              No, having an SLR around your neck is no problem at all. It is if you are taking pictures of other people's children, or just... hanging out at the children's playground by yourself... where you generate a lot of negative attention.

              I've seen this exact scenario play out, too, where the creepy guy was sitting by himself with his camera and nobody said anything, just used basic gestures to let each other know to keep an eye on him. And then as soon as he started taking pictures of children, he was accosted. O

              • by dbIII (701233)
                Just walking past with the camera around my neck on the way to another part of the park was enough for a very strong reaction.
        • Your argument doesnt change the legality of either situation. Saying 'its different' doesnt make it so.
      • If I was that passer-by I would turn the question back at him. I would ask the camera man what shoplifting has he prevented? What robber has he identified? The camera man might be able to do those things, only if he were hidden. But let's see him catch a robber while standing right next to him, with a gun. I would like to see footage of that.
      • by Jiro (131519)

        Passerby: The cameras in the store are for a known purpose and it is exceedingly unlikely that the video they take of me is going to be used against me personally. The store's certainly not going to be publishing that video to Youtube, and they're probably not going to even watch it once. On the other hand, it's exceedingly likely that a guy off the street intentionally filming a particular person is going to use it in a way directly opposing the interests of that person.

        Furthermore, people filming strang

        • This is the dumbest argument EVER. We see people acting a fool on security footage ALL THE TIME. Security footage is used EVERYDAY to change lives for good or bad.
      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        Being singled out by one person with one camera is creepy, especially if the person displays obvious sociopathic tendencies.
        Being subjected to generic recording, often automated with no one looking at the footage is completely different.

        Comparing them is simply asinine.

        Or do you think that the millions of hours of footage that are recorded every moment actually gets watched?

  • by PPH (736903)

    He's recording a conversation. In Washington State. Without the prior consent of both parties.

    Generally, it is legal to record a conversation in public as a third party. The people engaged in that conversation do not have an expectation of privacy if they continue in that third's presence. But if two people are alone and one asks the other , "Why are you recording me?" That conversation's privacy is protected and may not be recorded.

    Why has he not been arrested?

  • A lot of the retaliation by his, er, subjects is physical and likely an illegal escalation. I think a simpler response is to produce a mirror or better yet a camera-disabling laser pointer. But then, he holds the power of edit, so any truly effective responses won't make it into the videos. There's a lot of creative people in Seattle, and I'd like to see those "outtakes" which didn't produce the effect he was going for.

  • I have a question... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mindwhip (894744) on Sunday June 23, 2013 @11:56AM (#44085325)

    For every recording he used in his video how many did he have of people who didn't care in the slightest he was recording?

    Selective editing can pretty much twist any story.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I was thinking the same thing. He's misrepresenting his victims.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      For every recording he used in his video how many did he have of people who didn't care in the slightest he was recording?

      Selective editing can pretty much twist any story.

      Who's story? The Surveillance Camera Man records people. He puts the best reactions up on youtube. Why would he want to bore us with people nodding and smiling at the camera?

      Any other story is just guessing by the poster of this submission and the article on Geekwire.

      Pure speculation.

    • by adolf (21054)

      For every recording he used in his video how many did he have of people who didn't care in the slightest he was recording?

      Selective editing can pretty much twist any story.

      Selective editing?

      Almost all most conventional CCTV footage is also very boring. Usually, we only see the highlight reels. So what?

  • I think this is a strong right that we should all be defending. Why should only the police/FBI/NSA/corrupt politicians in charge of security companies have the ability to film the public at will any time they want to? We should defend our right to see and film anything that is public. We shouldn't be beating these people up - be it Google Glass, a Go Pro cam, or your cell phone. We should be thanking them. This is the only way that the general public will wake up and realize that pervasive surveillance is a
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why should only the police/FBI/NSA/corrupt politicians in charge of security companies have the ability to film the public at will any time they want to?

      To be honest, the government shouldn't be allowed to do that to begin with.

    • by Nikker (749551)
      What are you going to do with millions of video feeds without the infrastructure to sift through them?
  • What has happened in society and culture that makes people angry, offended, upset and aggressive when being filmed? There was a video buzzing on the Internet recently taken about 20-25 years ago in a 7-Eleven store, and people where smiling, joking, excited and happy to be on camera. WHAT HAPPENED???

  • by Nyder (754090) on Sunday June 23, 2013 @12:51PM (#44085715) Journal

    Okay, maybe i'm not stoned enough yet (working on it), but what I found amusing was people used dude with a camera as an excuse to be violent. Almost everyone was violent, or at least passive aggressive towards the guy. Even though we know we are being recorded by stores and other things, when a person with a camera gets in our face, people tend to try to do something about it. Why? I'm leaning that there is actually a face associated with this camera. You do into a store, there's a camera or 6 on the wall, but you can't get to them, you can't do anything about them. But the moment a camera appears in your face, with a person holding it, suddenly you have a target to put your frustrations on. And on top of it, people are being violent on a guy recording them being violent. WTF? Not only are you suddenly breaking the law but you are being recorded doing it.

    Here's the best part. I bet the person gets people not reacting. They don't make it on to his youtube clips, do they? In other words, if you want to be sure you are seen in youtube if this guy appears, start acting like a twat.

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      what do people do when there is a bothersome fly in their face

      now make that fly an obnoxous douche

    • by Kaenneth (82978)

      Solution:

        Write an quite rude, but origional message on a paper if front of him. Specifically tell him to NOT record it, because it's yours.

        When he posts it, sue him for $150,000 statutory copyright infringment damages.

  • ...that Steve Mann had to pay the price for this sort of 'performance art'.

    The wider issue, though, is not so much that arbitrary Google-Glass-enabled people are invading privacy, bad though that might be. The problem comes if your Google account is hacked (likely a common problem) or some other method of stealing or diverting the video stream takes place. We've already had some evidence of the 'flip side' of this technology with schools sneakily enabling laptop cameras and mics "to check whether students

  • No kidding. It arrived 2 days ago. A DJI Phantom with a GoPro video camera. So, I guess I'm just adding to the social churn.
  • You're already being leashed into a surveillance state and lapping it up, what difference does it make if some hipster is doing the same thing with a camera in hand?

    He's not even bring particularly rude or snide about it, maybe a bit of a smartass, but that's it really (walking into what appears to be a private home notwithstanding).

    If you're so pissy about some doofus filming in public, why aren't you pushing back against the increasing surveillance by your own government?

    Hey, lady on the cell phone, you r

  • I'm really surprised that people don't whip out their camera phones and film him. He's obviously trying to hide his identity.

    Especially after watching his videos, If some idiot got in my face in a public place and didn't go away, I'd just pull out my own phone & film him, telling him I plan to expose his identity "Oh.. you must be the 'surveillance camera guy'.. This is going to be an awesome YouTube post. A lot of people have been wondering what you look like so that they can kick your ass.."

  • Picture this...instead of the stationary cameras on the wall/ceiling at the drug store, there are employees following people with cameras. I'm betting customers would react the same way as surveillance guy. Funny how the visible attachment of a person to the camera makes all the difference for some reason. Why is that?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    What I find odd is that people seem fine with the paparazzi doing this to someone else that isn't them.

  • What would be your reaction facing the same harassment ?

    - Do as if he does not exist, or as if he were transparent.
    - Film him with a phone camera, but for how long ?
    - Run away, faster than him.
    - Freeze, but for how long ?
    - Make a fake call, calling for an imaginary team of tough guys to get him and beat him bad.
    - Start talking a lot, as if it were an interview, a VIP interview for something big, and answer imaginary questions.
    - Hold a mirror, big enough, toward the camera.
    - Do the same thing as Cowb

  • There are several reasons why this guy is different from a camera in a store. 1) People assume that store security feeds are not actually being watched by anybody. 2) People think of it as "the store" taking pictures. Not the employees. Same reason why people take "I'm sorry, it's company policy" as an OK answer most of the time. 3) Individuals are held to the golden rule, but companies generally are not. If a person throws a coke can out the window of a moving car you think, "what an asshole!" But if emplo

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