The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'cctv'
A Russian CCTV surveillance company has allegedly stumbled along an ingenious way of reducing operating costs and boosting profits: by replacing surveillance camera feeds with prerecorded video. The alleged fraud was uncovered during a routine check of cameras in Moscow; the director of the surveillance company, who has been detained by police, denies the claims, claiming it's a setup by rivals.
First there were cinema verité, DOGME 95 and machinima, and now we have "Video Sniffin'". This latest technique in improvised guerilla filmmaking involves finding a (presumably unsecured) wireless CCTV camera and acting out a scene from your underground film in front of it, whilst recording its signal using a receiver:
Young people from the local YMCA and others used a cheap video receiver from a high street store to ‘sniff’ the streets for CCTV cameras. After finding 24 cameras or ‘hotspots’ they then asked shop owners if they could make a film by acting out in front of their CCTV cameras and recording the signal. The shop owners were very surprised and happy for the young people to create a film this way.
Routes of Least Surveillance: A group of civil libertarians has created a map of New York showing routes with the fewest surveillance cameras.
"We've designed iSee to be useful to a wide range of ordinary people," said an IAA operative who declined to be identified. "The demonstrated tendency of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) operators to single out ethnic minorities for observation and to voyeuristically focus on women's breasts and buttocks provides the majority of the population ample legitimate reasons to avoid public surveillance cameras."
"The advent of sophisticated face-recognition technologies are further reasons to use iSee. They will allow companies, private investigators, and journalists to browse video databases for footage of spouses, employees, and neighbors engaged in perfectly legal, but nonetheless private acts like attending job interviews and psychiatric appointments."
Expect it to become a big hit with dissidents, adulterers and the aluminium-hat set, before possibly being shut down lest it help potential terrorists.
A piece on the social impact of Britain's CCTV system,
''Imagine a situation where you've got an elderly relative who lives on the other side of the city,'' Marshall says. ''You ring her up, there's no answer on the telephone, you think she collapsed -- so you go to the Internet and you look at the camera in the lounge and you see that she's making a cup of tea and she's taken her hearing aid out or something.''
Norris also found that operators, in addition to focusing on attractive young women, tend to focus on young men, especially those with dark skin. And those young men know they are being watched: CCTV is far less popular among black men than among British men as a whole. In Hull and elsewhere, rather than eliminating prejudicial surveillance and racial profiling, CCTV surveillance has tended to amplify it.
The cameras are also a powerful inducement toward social conformity for citizens who can't be sure whether they are being watched. ''I am gay and I might want to kiss my boyfriend in Victoria Square at 2 in the morning,'' a supporter of the cameras in Hull told me. ''I would not kiss my boyfriend now. I am aware that it has altered the way I might behave. Something like that might be regarded as an offense against public decency. This isn't San Francisco.'' Nevertheless, the man insisted that the benefits of the cameras outweighed the costs, because ''thousands of people feel safer.''
In many ways, the closed-circuit television cameras have only exaggerated the qualities of the British national character that Orwell identified in his less famous book: the acceptance of social hierarchy combined with the gentleness that leads people to wait in orderly lines at taxi stands; a deference to authority combined with an appealing tolerance of hypocrisy. These English qualities have their charms, but they are not American qualities.
Scientists at Leeds University have developed a new weapon against crime: a noise impossible to ignore. The sound is comprised of many frequencies, and thus is easy to locate. Additionally, people hearing it reflexively turn to look at its source; as such, there are plans to use the sound with that most British of institutions, security cameras, to induce criminals to look at the camera and be photographed.