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World Sousveillance Day 189

Sousveillance Cyborg writes: "Sousveillance is inverse surveillance, and a worldwide community of cyborgs is promoting sousveillance as a way toward more privacy and less secrecy. Today is World Sousveillance Day (WSD). See Transmitting live from around the world at noon (moving with time zone)."
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World Sousveillance Day

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  • It might have been helpful to have this put out before the day it happens.
    • You are right off course, but perhaps we can have other days next year, during big shopping events. Maybe mothers day, valentines day. I am really up for this....yeah!
      • Even if its too late to participate, its a good thing to be aware of and
        certainly its food for thought. Perhaps next year, or they could arrange for
        this to happen on every holiday or event that carries a high survellience

  • by dagoalieman ( 198402 ) <thegoalieman&yahoo,com> on Monday December 24, 2001 @06:15PM (#2748250) Homepage
    I certainly would not be doing this in an airport.

    For that matter, shooting photographs of security stuff in general may be a bad idea. You could easily get arrested for such stuff, even if it is an invasion of privacy.

    But, as always there's an alternate.. there's the middle finger. :)

    • Well, I don't know about where you live, but shooting the finger at someone here in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor (2yrs in jail, $500 fine). And they do enforce it if someone complains...or if some jackass security guard has it out for you.
    • Isn't that kind of the point tho? If we should consent to being video taped
      and monitored, surely the govt. or whomever is doing the monitoring should have
      no problem with the people responding in kind. I remember when the greatest
      thing about America was that we the people were the ones who held the power.

  • Check out the FAQ at []. Its a pretty interesting read. Why dont we have a World Subjectrights Day everyday?!?! This is something that shouldnt be ignored and should have more attention givin to it. Too many people/companies dont take accountability for there actions and this has to stop!
  • Given the current craze about security it seems to me that taking pictures of surveillance cams and the personnel operating it is a sure-fire way to get questioned and maybe jailed for a night.

    Might be just me though. Maybe it helps to wear a "I am not a terrorist" t-shirt. Maybe not.
    • On what charges? You can be detained, but not jailed, without being charged with a crime.

      False arrest is a sure-fire way to a civil lawsuit and huge punitive damages.
      • Well for instance if you were in a hotel lobby, a mall or a train station, personnel could order you to stop taking pics on their premises and order you off. Noncompliance will be a crime (or a misdemeanor at least, i am not too firm in US law)
        • IANAL but yes, that crime is a misdemeanor. Of course, once you have the picture why would you stay in a place where you're not wanted? These "you could be detained" worries seem like a lot of tiffle to me, we don't live in a gulag yet folks. It's important that we act like it. All IMO.
        • They can't stop you from taking pictures, but they can order you off the premises for any reason, or even no reason at all.

          !!However!! they cannot touch you in order to escort you off their premises, that would be criminal assault on their part. They can however call the police who will be more than happy to put a razor-sharp steel toed boot up your behind.

          Taking pictures isn't a crime, but trespassing is.

          Of course, they can only force you off the premises to the nearest public property. If that public property happens to be the sidewalk right in front of the door of the train station, tough noogies for them.
  • by homer_ca ( 144738 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @06:20PM (#2748269)
    -In your car, in case of an accident or traffic stop.
    -Hidden in your cellphone, to record in all those forbidden places. What do casinos and department stores have to hide?
  • Bad Date (Score:5, Insightful)

    by talonyx ( 125221 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @06:23PM (#2748273)
    I think Dec. 24 is one of the worst days they could have chosen to do this. Why?

    Just about anybody that celebrates Christmas is busy on Christmas Eve. Mom's gotta clean the house, Dad's gotta find a Turboman actionfigure for Young Jimmy, Highly Paid IT Businessman is busy partying, Joe Homeless is busy begging.

    The only people that are going to have no problem doing this on Dec. 24 are people that don't celebrate Christmas at all. Typically these would include various racial groups which the US has declared war on right now....

    So, would it be a great idea to have lots of people that (dumb) Yankees would consider to look like terrorists running around, taking pictures of things and getting security all riled up?

    I think this WSD should be on a more relaxed time of year. Maybe some time in April or something.
    • Re:Bad Date (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Linegod ( 9952 )
      "..Typically these would include various racial groups which the US has declared war on right now.... "

      Like us Atheists. Or those who celebrate Chanukah. Or those who celebrate Ukrainian Christmas. Or....

      "I think this WSD should be on a more relaxed time of year. Maybe some time in April or something."

      From the site:
      "Q. Why was Christmas Eve chosen ? The shops will be rather busy.

      A. that's exactly why. 12:00 noon dec.24th will be the busiest day, and the best expression of corporate culture, and the best time to shoot. It's a human element.. crowds of people herded like cattle, overseen by the surveillance. Also the lineups will be long, so it was felt that folks could entertain themselves while waiting in line by shooting. When you get bored waiting in line, liven it up with some camerafire. Shoot when you're bored. Shoot when you're frustrated. Shoot when you're being shot!!! "

      Give you a nickle if you read the article in question before posting.
    • As a Christian celebrating Christmass, I had the day off and a video camera in my hand. What was I capturing? Mundane details of family life in New Orleans. I saw nothing terrible, thank goodness. No one got riled up either. It's amazing where you can go with a smile. Had I heard of something terrible at a time and place where I was, I'd take a closer look at my tape. Sure, it would not be as good as a Rodney King tape, any picture is better than none. There I was, sousvailance, without knowing it. Surely, others were doing the same thing.
  • by volkris ( 694 )
    This is actually a puckish wrapper around how things should be run daily anyway. There is nothing wrong with cameras mounted on streets and stores filming whomever might be around, but at the same time there is nothing wrong with cameras being held by people filming whatever they may see. The fact is that cameras create accountability (and generate raw information) no matter where and how they're used. Whether that accountability is acted upon and acted upon in a correct manner is a seperate subject that doesn't really involve the cameras themselves.

    As Brinn said, there is no stopping the spread of cameras now, but why would anyone want to stop them anyway? People need to simply accept the cameras and use them instead of fighting them every step of the way, missing out on the great things that cameras can provide average citizens.
    • by mikey504 ( 464225 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @06:42PM (#2748317)
      Maybe I have a limited imagination, but I have trouble seeing how exactly the average citizen can "use" these cameras. It is likely that if we did find a way to use cameras which don't belong to us that we would be prosecuted for it.

      What I can imagine, though, is a scenario where once the system is in place, the scope of its use is gradually increased until it is being used not only in ways that are unacceptable, but also in ways we were specifically told it wouldn't be in the beginning.

      An example of this would be the "anti-terrorist" cameras installed all over London. These are now being used to detect and prosecute all sorts of lesser crimes. Of course, many people don't have a problem with that, but you have to be extremely careful where the lower bound gets set. Is that a nudie magazine in your pocket, visible in frames 237-512 when you crossed Market Street?

      Maybe you can't imagine any activites/liberties you presently indulge in which the government might eventually decide are nonsat, but my paranoia meter jumps a couple of clicks every time this stuff makes the news.
      • Are you afraid of being seen with pornography?
        Last I checked, it wasn't a crime.
        If you're so paranoid about it being found out, put it in a bag first, but don't blame the cameras, as any Joe Schmoe can see you too.

        You cannot expect privacy in the street:

        If a camera can see you, so can a human eye.

        The only reason to fear being filmed by cameras is if you're planning on lying in your side of the story, hoping to have a word-against-word case, rather than a word-against-video. And then - what are you lying to protect?

        • PERSPECTIVE do any of the posters here have perspective? I -often- see people posting this "but you don't have anything to fear..." tripe. Now, I appreciate that this is a geek forum (so presumably skewed away from liberal arts/history backgrounds) but didn't any of you people have history in high school? Who popularized this "You have nothing to fear..." Big Lie?
          The point of resistance to these things isn't to save kiddie porn salesmen an inconvenience, it's to point out the obvious abusability of these systems. Yes, you like your government today. And here in the US people often whine about term limits but when it comes down to it they like their gov'mnt enough to keep voting the same people in.
          But you do not -know- the future. You do not -know- that your home will never be swept with a tyrranical fervor in the future (USSR, Germany, Laos, Vietnam, China on and on). So it is not "paranoid" to build governmental systems that would work poorly for tyrants. That is why (hypothetically) the US is built on three counter balancing branches of government, that's why the constitution here checks the powers of those balancing branches, that's why it is stupid to talk about powerful governmental systems (like the "anti terrorist" cameras in London) in these good soldier Schwiek terms. Was Jefferson "paranoid"? Did he have "something to hide"? No, he knew good government from bad government and he knew that inefficiencies (as some foolishly label our checks and balances) in the longest running experiment would ultimately make it strong. All IMO.
          • More cameras can also be used to keep the government honest. After all, if everyone knew how our local government was allowing the cable company to screw over customers in return for free premium services for themselves, some people would get mad and the next elections could actually go differently.

            Cameras, enough of them, will show the truth.
          • PERSPECTIVE do any of the posters here have perspective? I -often- see people posting this "but you don't have anything to fear..." tripe.

            Well arguing the point verbally doesn't seem to get anywhere. I have yet to see a slashdotter write "Now I get it! Privacy really does matter!"

            Which seems to be (partly) the point of "sousveillance". Find those (in the real world) who are willing to defend their organization's surveilling ways, and point a camcorder at them. Find out if they're hypocrites.
        • If a camera can see you, so can a human eye.

          Not necessarily, and that's the problem. You can be far away from any people, yet still viewable by a hidden camera, or telephoto lens.

          • The definition of privacy, at least in the USA where I reside, has the words reasonable expectation of usually put before it. IF the police deaprtments have used telephoto lenses without a search warrant, then it looks like they are using unusual methods of search. Most police do not sit with binoculars, so therefore, using advanced technology on minor crimes can usually be considered inadmissable in court, and that being the primary evidence of apprehension, be thrown out of court.

            But if they are speifically looking for you, then you are, as they say, up shit creek without a paddle.
  • Those who are able to arrange things so they are rarely watched.
    • Very good call!

      There's a book dedicated in part to this point.
      It's by Michel Foucault and it's called _Discipline
      and Punish_. (The title is confusing at first; the
      trick is that "discipline" is used as a verb.) I
      enjoyed it a lot, though the language can be a little
      dense. I recommend it in general.
  • this would have been perfect 5 months ago when i got a visit from 2 "detectives"

    but i wonder what would happen if i took a picture of them or started videotaping them... my guess is they'd beat the shit out of me ;-)
    • Very true - police officers tend to get REALLY pissy when you do things like ask them for their badge numbers and the name of their superior. They also tend to get quite testy in the presence of camerasa, COPS not withstanding. It's the people with the power who most resent having power used against them - which is why we need signifigant civilian oversight on law enforcement.
  • I'm about to be one of those snooty people who points out the hypocracy of the Slashdot crowd, so I'll try to be brief. Do you want to be a part of a community or do you want to have privacy? It's a matter of degrees, but at the most basic level those two concepts are mutually exclusive. The deal is, if you interact with human beings, you lose privacy. The risk of being surveiled comes with the risk of going someplace. You can't be completely anonymous and live a normal life. Try getting a phone or car or decent internet access without a name. Part of being a memeber of the human race is to have an identity that other people, businesses and even your government can associate with you... and part of that identity is a face (which just might be photographed at any time if you happen to be out in the real world). Don't want your face on the Jumbotron? Watch the game on TV in your Y2K bomb shelter in Montana if you're all that concerned. :)
    • All true, the question is "how much?"

      How much surveilence is too much? How much privacy is too little? Is there a real benefit to this surveilence or am I "subject #23"

      I have a name and I have a history, you can learn these things from me by asking. If I choose to invite you into that level of closeness/community with me, I will share these things. My objection is simply that I want to have some say/control over how much data is gathered and how it is used.

      One of the big issues here is when is surveilence de-humanizing. In a small town, folks can know each others business and though there are busibodies, they are usually ignored by the population at large. Now we are dealing with semi-legal entities which want to know our business. A corporation is a piece of paper which is recognized by the courts as having standing as a 'person' humans in service of this 'person' want to watch us suspiciously.

      I will live with people and I will submit to a certain ammount of friendly inquiry into my life. I'm not all that interested in being suspected of $NefariousThings and watched like the criminal I am suspected of being.
      • Who says you're being suspected of nefarious things? You're just not that important. I don't mean this as a slam against you personally, every individual's data by itself just isn't that interesting. Information about a single individual (specifically data that can't be processed easily by machines, like pictures) is just not useful in any practical sense. The best data from a business standpoint isn't the fact that you personally like caffein, penguin-themed items, dilbert, and puzzle games. The useful information to a physical business who may be photographing you is the fact that there's a correlation (without regard to any underlying reason) so they can place the stuffed penguins near the stuffed dogberts, and maybe stock penguin caffeinated peppermints and stick those next to the rubick's cubes. A lot of extremists decry as "dehumanizing" the same things most reasonable people would call a convenience. Don't get me wrong, I think that some of the assumptions made about me based on agregates is annoying, and given the chance to avoid a nose-picking being captured on film, I'll take it... but dehumanizing? I don't think practical application of good marketing and security policies will be the next holocaust, simply because there's no benefit (not even a remote one) to the suspected organizations to start said holocaust.
  • So, here we another installment of the Citizens Against the [supposed] Big Brother, a "watchdog" group of paranoiaphiles dedicated to overthrowing whoever-it-is we're at odds with. The group promotes reverse surveillance (sousveillance!) and encourages people to generally reverse monitor various monolithic entities though such *coughing* ingenious methods as using the 1-800 how's-my-driving numbers, etc. While I'm sure that there are legitament reasons for "sousveillance," this is little more than another group of schizoid people who are convinced that every time you use an ATM, you're selling out to the Antichrist, and that yes, in fact, your neighbor's satellite dish actually is just a device that the FBI is using to watch your every move in your house.

    Give me a break, this type of paranoia is so vogue it's disgusting. There are real threats to civil liberties, but "sousveillance" isn't going to counteract them. Though the group claims they're turning the wheels of democracy, they would be more appropriately observed to be a factional group.

    Even if they're right, nobody in the paranoid realm has ever given me a good answer to the question, "Why should the government even care what you're doing?" If you pay your taxes, walk the dog, and tune into Must-See-TV on Thursdays, you're in line with the rest of society, and the government could really care less what you're doing. Even if you *gasp* use Linux or program computers, the government really isn't interested at all in what brand of toothpaste you buy from the grocery store.

    In related thoughts, there needs to be a Godwin's Law for 1984 references, such that a reference to "Big Brother" or other Orwellian terminology immediately invalidates what you're saying.
    • Godwin's Law states that any sufficiently long USENET thread will result in a comparison to Nazism. It says nothing about invalidating a message, nor should it. Call a spade a spade, and call a Nazi a Nazi.
      • Actually, it does [].

        Godwin's Law prov.

        [Usenet] "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. Godwin's Law thus practically guarantees the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups. However there is also a widely- recognized codicil that any intentional triggering of Godwin's Law in order to invoke its thread-ending effects will be unsuccessful.

        • Let's emphasize the important part:

          [...] There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.

          It's not part of the original law, it's a practice a number of people adopted. So, strictly speaking, the previous poster is correct.

    • The answer is clear if you have a grasp of recent
      American history.

      The value to the authorities of widespread surveillance
      is not that they can or want to arrest everyone who
      smokes a joint. The value is that if someone becomes
      a pain in their collective ass, and it turns out that they
      smoked a joint, they can be neutralized.

      This isn't blithering paranoia. Just read any
      historical account of the New Left of the 1960s
      and 70s.
    • "Why should the government even care what you're doing?" If you pay your taxes, walk the dog, and tune into Must-See-TV on Thursdays, you're in line with the rest of society, and the government could really care less what you're doing.

      You are right, if you are being a good little consumer and behaving as the government wants you too, they will not care about you. They will let you watch TV, walk the dog, pay taxes and die and that life may suit you just fine. However, I would prefer my children and grandchildren to be brought up in a free and just society, not one were practicing ones constitutional right to free speech and disagreeing with the government will get you marked UnAmerican and a Terrorist Sympathizer.

      • However, I would prefer my children and grandchildren to be brought up in a free and just society

        I completely agree. Notice I did not say *I* agree with those things. I do none of them myself (well, I pay my taxes) and I don't look favorably on people who's life consists of the mundane and the trivial. However, my point is that, if you're in that sleeper majority, the government doesn't give a hoot what you're up to most days.

        I also want my children to grow up free and just and atypical of the apathetic Western mentality. The difference between me and the "sousveillancers" is that I believe I will not have to go to extraordinary measures to ensure this: I have a degree of trust, maybe hope, that the state will afford myself and my children that liberty. If it will not, it will not be America.
  • Does this remind anyone else of the guys in SnowCrash that wore all the surveillance gear. They walked around and gathered data from basically anywhere and tried to sell it. What were they called? Its been such a long time since I read the book Also I think Ive heard CmndrTaco mention them occasionally, but not in the same vein as this "Sousveillance" idea/scheme.

    It does sound interesting, but are not cops legally entitled to use violence against you and you cannot exercise any violence against them? So I would imagine that if you were to go and start taking pictures and such wouldnt the cops simply hit you on your head and take you to jail for being a nuisance?
    • Gargoyles were what they were called. Even with cameras, cops have been known
      to either turn them off or cover them up right before they started whupping
      somebody's ass.

      • Dunno where you live but in the United States cops are emphatically NOT allowed to just start whupping somebody's ass. In Beautiful Seattle Washington, a cop came across two young ladies who were filming from inside their car as they drove down a closed street (during WTO riots). I have no patience for the rioters but in this case, where the cop improperly hosed down the inside of their car when he saw the camcorder) he was disciplined (I think he's sans a career at this point but can't find the data right now) and the two ladies are now fairly wealthy thanks to the tax paying sheeple er, folks of Seattle (hey, you elect a mayor like Schell you get what you voted for).
        Footage of a cop running up to you right before your camcorder dies makes for pretty compelling evidence in after action civil suits. All IMO
        • It's true that they aren't allowed to just go whupping someones ass, but barring MAJOR issues being made about it, it's rare for anything to happen - relatively minor roughing up is pretty common. And yes, fighting back in any way against a police officer is a felony (assaulting a police officer), even if he's busy beating you.
        • Dunno where you live but in the United States cops are emphatically NOT
          allowed to just start whupping somebody's ass.

          Of course not, but I do happen to live in the United States, born and raised in
          Washington DC and I can tell you quite assuredly that even tho cops are
          NOT allowed to whup someone's ass, they can and often times
          do. In my hometown of Washington DC, there have been several cases of police
          brutality. I have witnessed with my own eyes, a person being assaulted by 2
          police officers, and after about 15 minutes of being beaten, (not resisting,
          mind you, the guy was basically huddled down in a doorway covering his head) he
          started to fight back, more in an attempt to get away then to cause harm. This
          resulted in about 15 cops arriving on the scene, standing shoulder to shoulder
          obscuring the view, while 3 more cops proceeded to "whup his ass". When I made
          my previous statement, I was referring to an incident where a couple of police
          officers were assaulting a motorist. What made the incident memorable was that
          one of the police officers had forgotten to turn off his dash camera (which
          recorded part of the incident) and went back to turn it off. I can dig up the
          incident if anyone wishes, I believe it happened in Florida. Check []
          for more reports of this nature. Sorry to have made such a lengthy post,
          but it needed to be said.

          Also see here [http]
          [] for more info.

  • Why are you people scared to watch the people that watch us? Shouldn't THEY be watched more than us to begin with, since they are given such power? If we're getting arrested for making sure everything goes fairly, then I no longer have faith in whichever governing body is responsible for that kind of thing.
  • by wagadog ( 545179 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @07:08PM (#2748362) Journal

    If you're gathering evidence that relies on tone of voice to document wrongdoing there's nothing like a tape recorder. And if you're gathering evidence that relies on gesture and facial expression to document wrongdoing there's nothing like a pinhole camera.

    In fact, digital video cameras is how the human rights abuses of the Taliban were first documented by RAWA [].

    But pick your battles, carefully, kids. This isn't a contest to see who can be the most annoying to security people who are doing their jobs honorably.

  • As a followup... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tsar ( 536185 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @07:22PM (#2748390) Homepage Journal
    I think [] should send someone down the street knocking on people's doors, asking why their peepholes only work one way.

    Come on, guys. It's simple economics. If a store wants to reduce losses due to theft, they install cameras. Or they install domes that look like cameras. If you're going to be insulted about that, why aren't you insulted that you can't leave without going through the registers, or that they lock the door after hours, or that the "Employees Only" areas are only for employees? Why not require retailers to move their entire stock outside under a large awning, and turn their backs to us to show how much they trust their customers?

    Come on, dude, you're living in a paranoiac techno-Robin-Hood fantasy that would have been only moderately tolerated even before 9/11. Now, your implication that the security guys in Wal-Mart are worse than the terrorists who blew up WTC, makes your opinion worth less than sludge.
    • I think you've missed the point. The protest isn't against Cameras per se but against their ubiquity in our lives and our growing insensitivity to the monitoring of our movements and actions.

      It's not about harassing Wal-Mart guards, it's about making the general population think about questions like:

      1) Why exactly don't they want me videotaping them, but they can videotape me?

      2) In what other ways am I being watched/monitored/tracked? Should I care? (GPS enabled cell phones, anyone? M$Passport anyone?)

      3) How much is enough rights to give up for the sake of security?

      • by Tsar ( 536185 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @08:34PM (#2748499) Homepage Journal
        It's not about harassing Wal-Mart guards,

        That's good, because he's just harassing salespeople from the looks of things.

        1) Why exactly don't they want me videotaping them, but they can videotape me?

        Because it's their store, and they're responsible to the owner to make sure that, though anyone can come in and freely handle millions of dollars' worth of goods that doesn't (yet) belong to them, the employees won't let too much of it walk out unpaid for. Just because someone works in a place that uses video security doesn't mean they want, or deserve, to see themselves on a 'gotcha!' website.

        And conversely, if this fellow posts his videotape of Sears employees [], does that make it okay for Sears employees to post whatever tape they have of him, or of any of us?

        2) In what other ways am I being watched/monitored/tracked? Should I care? (GPS enabled cell phones, anyone? M$Passport anyone?)

        He could make a better case for this by attacking these issues directly, rather than claiming that storecams are akin to terrorism. Now more than ever, that sort of rhetoric will lose credibility for his 'cause' quicker than anything.

        3) How much is enough rights to give up for the sake of security?

        Store cameras aren't about giving up rights, any more than my home security system limits your freedom of movement. If you don't want to go in, just don't go in. Our society is free to bankrupt companies with unpopular business practices simply by denying them our trade. Simple, isn't it? But before you ask how we get everyone to boycott Wal-Mart, let me suggest that nobody really cares that they're videotaping. In December 2001, it's just not that big an issue.

        Someday we may have to accept the fact that if nobody else seems concerned about our cause, it may indicate that our cause is only important to us, and not that everyone else is an idiot.
        • In December 2001, it's just not that big an issue.

          We are at an interesting inflection point in surveillance systems. I worked on engineering several such systems through the mid-90's, and the only thing really changing was that cameras got smaller, cheaper and better. Storage was always on VHS time-lapse, because computer storage was too expensive. Tapes were rotated on a cycle based on legal or liability archive needs.

          In other words, these systems were great for providing a record of an incident after it occurred. If no incident occurred, the tape would get reused because nobody really wanted hours of repetitive footage.

          But increasingly powerful computers are starting to enable some extraction of data from the raw video before it is lost. For example, facial recognition could turn that unwieldy bank of video feeds into a list of people with locations and speeds. You could put a camera at each register (which they should do anyway, for an anti-fraud record of check/credit card users) and use it to tie faces to names.
          There are more benign applications - a retail analysis company has software that will process camera feeds and yield statistics about the effectiveness of merchandise displays. This seems harmless to me because once the raw video is gone, all that's left is aggregate data.

          Anyhow, I just want to emphasize that we haven't had to think much about commercial surveillance because the technology didn't permit any really interesting applications. Computers are changing that. We will be faced with some tough choices.
    • "If you're going to be insulted about that, why aren't you insulted that you can't leave without going through the registers, or that they lock the door after hours, or that the "Employees Only" areas are only for employees?"

      Unlike cameras, your other examples don't infringe on the tenuous (and poorly defined) personal right to privacy. What this guy's doing (with admittedly questionable implementation) is to highlight the privacy infringement going on. He's not forcing it to stop. He's not claiming it should be outlawed. He's just using videotaping to bring attention to videotaping, which has a certain poetic justice to it.

      Now if a lot of people feel uncomfortable with such videotaping when it's pointing out to them, and if he gets sufficient media coverage, then companies will be forced to react to the negative publicity. If a lot of people don't care about such videotaping, then nothing'll happen.

      In short, it's a rallying call for an issue that everyone's already semi-aware of, but which people may not have really thought about. It's also even more of an issue now. Just look at a recent "Ask Slashdot []", where someone wanted to indefinitely archive footage from over 1000 cameras. Even though the application there may or may not have been a privacy infringing one, the technology is definitely there to exacerbate the privacy problem.

  • ...I'm not suggesting that the cameras be mounted on the floor, looking up...


  • This is a good idea, but there's another way to hurt CCTV operators in the UK which doesn't require a camcorder.

    It may well, however, require a small fee. This is defined in the DPA as a maximum of £10.

    Go to a shop (only do this in big chains, no-one wants to hurt independents). Go when it's busy. Very busy. Make sure they have plenty of CCTV cameras. Make sure you get in as many of them as possible. This increases your impact.

    Then, go to an employee. Under the DPR's `Code of Practice,' `All staff should be aware of individuals' rights.' If not, ask to see the `Data Protection Controller' or, the Manager.

    You may well need to fill out a Data Protection Subject Access form, or write a letter with proof of identity to the Shop's Data Controller.

    You are entitled:

    to be told if any personal data are held about you AND, if so:
    to be given a description of the data;
    to be told for what purposes the data are processed and
    To be told the recipients or the classes of recipients to whom the data may have been disclosed.

    to be given a copy of the information with any unintelligible terms explained;
    to be given any information available to the controller about the source of the data;

    So, they'll be required to give you copies of information they hold about you. You probably don't want this, but the administrative burden is the aim here.

    If they don't provide the said details with 40 days, complain to the DPR and they will be likely to be fined.

    • Nice idea, but:

      This is just plain wrong. "Anonymous" data is not covered by the data protection act. The CCTV frames would only become covered when they link your image to your identity. And even then there are suppliments to the 1984 DPA which provide exceptions, i.e. faces of suspected football hooligans can be stored.

      Good waste of £10.
  • If you're going to do sousveillance on the Government, you might wind up like Jim Bell. []
  • by Silver222 ( 452093 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @08:35PM (#2748501)
    Watch the video. This guy is just acting like a jerk, and the people he talks to pretty much just laugh at him. Like a lot of people who frequent Slashdot, he had some good ideas, but he is too much of an ass to get them across in an effective way.

    Does he have a valid concern? Yes, I think he does. I'm not thrilled with the pervasiveness of cameras either. But how does harrasing the clerk at the register change anything?

    • That's right. He isn't really acomplishing anything. But he is very likely having a great deal of fun. The guy just feels the need to disguise that to some extent.
      It's fun to screw with people. Try it some time. Go down to the Bose store, and ask that chick if she wants to make out on that leather couch. Or, if you're old enough to make that inapropriate, try screaming "BACK THAT ASS UP!!!" to the next Chevy Suburban you see backing out of a parking space.
      Almost anything will work. It's fun. Try it.
      If you're lucky, maybe she'll accept (although, considering the forum...) or maybe the SUV will pump the brakes and make the back end bounce.
      The people in the video were pretty much just laughing at him. It was fun for everybody. And maybe they got some of his message in with it, but who really gives a fuck?
    • "Watch the video. This guy is just acting like a jerk, and the people he talks to pretty much just laugh at him."

      While I can't watch the video here and the political ramblings on the webpage sometimes wandered off into the slightly kookier side of the issue, I wouldn't completely discount the value of acting like a jerk. Such behavior is just a level of refinement away from the brilliant social satire done by Michael Moore [], the genius behind "TV Nation" and "The Awful Truth".

      One such example of his behavior (from the first season of "The Awful Truth") was heading to the headquarters of an insurance company that had refused to pay for a life-saving liver transplant for one of their policy holders. The policy contained two conflicted clauses, and the company had chosen the least expensive option (rejecting the claim). Attempts to resolve the matter via traditional grievance procedures had failed, and the person in need of the liver wouldn't have survived the multiple years necessary for a court battle.

      So Mr. Moore, with the man who needed the transplant, went to the office and gave out invitations to the man's inevitable funeral. He harassed employees. He made a pest of himself. He even held a mock funeral down in the street once getting thrown out. Obnoxious? Yes. Funny? Hell, yes. Effective? Well, the insurance company authorized the liver transplant, and the guy was in the audience (post transplant) for the host segment of the show.

      The point is that sometimes the deck is stacked so heavily in favor of large companies that acting like a jerk is your only resort. The result is to (hopefully) focus a large amount of negative publicity at the company so that they can't ignore it. Anything else tends to get lost in the crowd. A company could care less if one person writes a letter complaining about their use of video surveilance. But if that one person sits in a store and videotapes the surveilance system, in clear view of all the other shoppers, it's suddenly an incident that must be addressed.

      If that person then puts his/her videotape up on the web, you've just magnified that publicity. If that site gets slashdotted, kick the audience up another order of magnitude. If the footage is interesting enough (either via humor or insight) that you've get television coverage, your audience has skyrocketed, and the company is forced to respond.

      Still, sometimes acting like a jerk is just plain obnoxiousness, but if done right, it's the key to humorously getting your point across.

      • Such behavior is just a level of refinement away from the brilliant social satire done by Michael Moore [], the genius behind "TV Nation" and "The Awful Truth".

        On the other hand, it's just a level away from the work of Tom Green, too, whom I won't dignify with a link.

        Anybody can walk around with a camera and act like an asshole. Saying "I'm doing it for artistic reasons" doesn't make it art, unless you also think Yoko Ono scrawling "fuck" on a museum ceiling is art.

        This guy has a valid point, but the only people who are going to listen long enough to hear it are those who already get it.
        • "On the other hand, it's just a level away from the work of Tom Green, too, whom I won't dignify with a link."

          You mean the guy responsible for an increased awareness about testicular cancer []? While most of his antics are immature "look at me" stunts, he did use the attention people gave him to bring attention to a very serious problem. Admittedly, it was something that he had a personal stake in (just as Michael J. Fox has a personal stake in Parkinson's research and Christopher Reeve has one in spinal injury research), but he did do some societal good.

          • but he did do some societal good.

            I don't recall saying he did no GOOD; I said he did no ART.

            A sewer does societal good, too, but I ain't hanging what comes out the other end up on my wall.

            Hell, some guy owes him a debt of gratitude for making Drew Barrymore all weepy and vulnerable, too. :-)
  • would have been nice to know about this before I finished my last-minute Christmas shopping... oh, well. Next year, perhaps.
  • It's illegal to wear a mask in my city. I'm not the only one..
  • Ironically, just as technology has advanced to the point where distributed, grass-roots surveillance ("sousveillance") is becoming possible, it has simultaneously advanced to the point where faking video is equally becoming possible.

    Within a few years, unauthenticated video footage will be useless, because anyone will be able to conjure up whatever fakery they like. All those underground sousveillance cameras will be producing data which could have been made just as easily on a high end workstation.

    Only authenticated video will be trusted. That means that the police and government will trust their own video cameras and be able to use them at trial. But video records from private citizens will be no better than hearsay.

    Technology giveth, and technology taketh away. So it will always be.
    • The idea is that disinterested third parties will capture events. This is why witnesses have credibility. Why would they lie? Witnesses with cameras are far more credible than those without. Lies have always been part of the equation and motives have to be discerned.

      I'm not sure why there are so many negative comments here. It's like 50% of the posts say, "Slashdotters are paranoid weenies." Great, there's nothing like reading insults all day, except being so lifeless as to write them.

  • Excuse me, but there are plenty of other religions all over the world, plenty of which the US has no problem with. Not to mention all the people IN the United States who aren't Christian. Jews, Muslims, Buddists, Pagans, and Wiccans unite and smite down this ignorant fool. I'm not disputing that today was a poor choice for this event, but saying the other religions of the world are miniscule is slanderous.
  • You all seem to have either forgotten, or been unaware of, the fact that there have been numerous cases of security cameras pointed into dressing rooms at department stores. A department store's desire to prevent theft does not outweigh someone's to privacy while trying on clothes in a dressing room. A person should not have to worry about whether some security guard is getting his rocks off watching them dress/undress.

    Every one of us has, at one time or another, scratched our a** or privates when we thought no one was looking. We've all had a finger up our nose at some point in our lives. Well, if I scratch my butt, it's not for the amusement of some Walmart rent-a-cop staring at monitors.

    What happens when some law enforcement agency subsidizes the cameras at a local shopping mall in exchange for copies of all videos produced from them?

    Stores should display privacy policies just like web sites do. Are the cameras manned or recorded? If they are recorded, how long are tapes stored and who maintains control of the tapes? Does the store guarantee that there are no cameras that can be pointed into dressing rooms and lavatories? Does the store have a policy that prohibits their employees from revealing non-criminal activity revealed by the cameras (e.g., public figure discreetly kissing someone other than spouse, man adjusting toupee, etc.)?

    I'm an old-fashioned liberal. I think that people's rights are more important than businesses' profits. I'd rather see *mart make a few million dollars less this year than to have them invade the privacy of people who are doing nothing more criminal than adjusting their underwear.
  • I've got a simple solution. We convince some people to start surveillance-free businesses. I don't know what kind of idiot would actually start a surveillance-free kwikymart, but let's say you can convince someone to do it.

    Then we give everyone a choice. You can go where you might be watched and pay the regular price OR you can go to a surveillance-free store and pay 20-50% more. Of course, advertising that you are a surveillance-free store might make it even worse than a standard store and ease the pressure on the other stores.

    So if you are fine buying half as much stuff then you can support the surveillance-free effort. But the rest of us will just deal with cameras.

    I don't entirely disagree with the sentiment behind this effort, but I believe that it must be directed at the right targets.

    It's just a model.
  • I'd code this up, but I'm not enough of an activist.

    Spoofzilla. Use a gnutella-alike protocol. You can spoof packets to any ip address running spoofzilla. This allows you to choose not to be classified by IP addresses...

    Also alows you to do DOS attacks, and get around your IRC ban.
    • Video camera footage is stuff back from dead kennedy's era. Tape the brutality when it occurs. And some people will loose their jobs. It works, whatever. It just keeps touch on the untouchables.

      I thought his intention was to actually meaningfully counter invasions of privacy... The only way to do that is to add more layers of privacy. My idea was aimed mainly at the FBI's main target... If you keep fighting where someone else is fighting, but doing it 10000x better, then you hold them back from other fields of war.

      Its like the prisoner struggling in vain through the jaildoor for the keys, when there are no walls. If you make sure the prisoner never realizes he could just walk around the door, then he stays trapped.
  • The gradual acceptence of Security Cameras by the public seems to be rather insidious. People are convinced that cameras make them safer and are willing to give up rights in order to be safe (yes, please don't quote me Ben Franklin). Where is the data by an independent source showing the overall reduction in crime due to the cameras? As I recall, the police (at least in our area) state that the problem doesn't disappear, it just moves where the cameras are NOT.

    If crime is just moving around avoiding the cameras, then some will say that we need more cameras EVERYWHERE and then the evil criminals will have nowhere to hide. Is there any data showing that there is NO way this will happen (cost ineffective or otherwise) and that there would be no way that crime reduction would actually happen?

    The rhetoric that we are losing rights doesn't make a damn bit of difference to the average person. How can we show them that cameras can be a BAD thing? Showing them why losing our civil liberties over time will lead to a worse life may help a little tiny bit.

    Hell, if you know how to present your case even moderately well, you will be able to convince the average person that having a surveillance camera in their home is a GOOD thing.

    First you need to ask them how they feel about the effectiveness of cameras to deter crime. They will probably answer "I think that they are effective."

    Build on that. Ask them that if since they are so effective then they wouldn't mind more of them to monitor the idiots on the road and the areas that they go shopping and visiting at. They will probably answer "Yes".

    Again, build on that. Ask them if they would like to make their streets safer in their neighborhood by installing cameras. They will bleat "Yes". Ask them about installing a camera in front of their house to keep it safe and they will again answer "Yes".

    Inform them that the most common form of crime in the United States is domestic violence. Appeal to them how it rips apart families and causes pain and suffering. Ask them if they have watched the TV show "COPS" and cite examples.

    Now convince them that since it is such a major problem and that there is no way to protect those people that it might be best to install the cameras for the interm in previous offenders homes, just for safety mind you. They will grudgingly answer that it might be prudent.

    Now inform them that since there is no way to spot the offenders BEFORE or WHILE the first offense is comitted that it would be safest for the community for ALL people, including them, to have a camera in the house.

    I have had a person answer (and I quote here), "Yes, I see what you mean. That might be an idea that I can live with."

    Reread the previous quote. How in God's name are we going to get the average person to:
    A) Think about the consequences of their actions or inactions.
    B) Start caring about their civil liberties.
    C) Understand HOW this technology can be misused.
    D) Understand WHY this technology could be misused.
    E) Understand the need for people to watch the watchers. And have the PEOPLE watch THEM.

    How are we going to get the average person to start processing information with their brains rather than with their feelings?
  • My friends and I used to play this game. A bunch of us would go into walmart with a video camera (just ask the lady at the door to put a sticker on it). Go to the toy section and grab a few nerf balls. The idea is whoever has the camera is it. They run around with the camera, if they get pegged with a ball they have to give the camera to the next person. Makes for some good home movies. :-)

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"