Let’s photograph the surveillance cameras!

Let’s photograph the surveillance cameras!

Ronald Deibert, a University of Toronto associate professor of political science, wants people to grab their cameras and hit the shopping malls Dec. 24 and participate in World Sousveillance Day.

Surveillance means “to view from above.” Sousveillance means “to view from below.”

On the day before Christmas, at noon, local time, all over the world, Deibert wants citizens to “shoot back” at surveillance cameras — not with guns, but with cameras of their own. Participants are to head out, in disguise, to their favorite malls and public spaces, and photograph all the security cameras they find.

Deibert warns that photographing security cameras will quickly cause large men wearing navy blue blazers and two-way radios to place their hands over your camera lens. Photographers may even be escorted off the premises.

Which is exactly the point. Deibert hopes World Sousveillance Day will “raise awareness about the increasing pervasiveness of all forms of surveillance in today’s hypermedia society.”

“A lot of people probably aren’t aware of the extent to which they’re being monitored,” he said.

Indeed, modern video surveillance systems are omnipresent, and sophisticated. They are web-enabled, so one can view them via the Net. They have motion detection, two way audio, and record to disk in encrypted form. These cameras ARE everywhere, no joke. They are billed as “management tools”, allowing employers to view what employees are doing, as well as watching parking lots, hallways, etc. Some Vegas casinos have thousands of video cameras.

And in a similar vein, with our snoopy government, your Google searches are not private.

Google currently does not allow outsiders to gain access to raw data because of privacy concerns. Searches are logged by time of day, originating I.P. address (information that can be used to link searches to a specific computer), and the sites on which the user clicked. People tell things to search engines that they would never talk about publicly – Viagra, pregnancy scares, fraud, face lifts. What is interesting in the aggregate can be seem an invasion of privacy if narrowed to an individual.

So, does Google ever get subpoenas for its information?

“Google does not comment on the details of legal matters involving Google”.

Anonymizer is a useful tool here, making your IP address unknown to search engines and web sites, plus allowing anonymous email, and lots more.