July 19, 2004

Smile, You're on Bored Fed Camera

Wake up (it's 1984)...

- Oingo Boingo

For those of us who would prefer not to be the subject of law enforcement cameras without a damn good reason, it just got a bit harder to live in Boston.

Essentially, a whole load of existing surveillance cameras downtown plus a bunch of new ones to be installed for the DNC convention are going to be linked together into a giant surveillance net, courtesy of the Federal Government. Whee. Not only that, according to the article over 30 of the cameras will be remaining in place after the convention, where they will be used by the Boston Police Department. Their quote: "We own them now. We're not going to put them in the closet."

Oh, joy. That's a great reason for using them. 'We have them, might as well.'

This is how things start, and more importantly, this is how things get worse. A small little reasonable-sounding bite at a time. Sure, the DNC is going to involve hectic craziness, so sure, it makes sense to have cameras keeping an eye on things, especially protesters. Schyeah.

What can we do about it? I don't know. Sounds like it's too late to protest it, although we can certainly voice our disapproval in local elections and to our representatives. Given the rush to seem 'on board for Homeland Security,' though, I don't know how much good that'll do.

Of course, we can all become jammers. That's one thing we can do.

Just because the cameras are there, doesn't mean we have to ignore them. During the convention, or any time, hold up a big sign reading "YOU ARE UNDER SURVEILLANCE BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT" with an arrow pointing to the camera. Show it to passers-by. I wonder how the Feds and cops will feel about this?

I had an idea a few months back about these things. I recall musing on how expensive it would be to put together a bunch of small adhesive disks, each with a small, center mounted laser diode, mounted in a glob of silicon or gum. Every time I see a camera pointed at me in a public place, find a spot to stick the disk, aim the diode at the camera, turn it on, and leave. Or, better yet, stick around with a camera of my own, and when the Men From Behind the Camera show up to remove the disk, photograph/tape them obsessively.

Fed and BPD cameras, this is probably a good way to get arrested. It probably is worth it. On the other hand, it's a good way to screw with all those random commercial surveillance cameras watching public space, whose tapes the FBI and police seem to have so much fun going to nab all the time. Large buildings with overeager security forces are a prime target.

Hm...I can't see those costing more than maybe a couple bucks each, in quantity 25 or so...heh. Posted by jbz at July 19, 2004 12:16 AM | TrackBack

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