Some thoughts on surveillance, technology and the invasion of privacy

[...] A group of New York activists calling themselves the "SCP" (Surveillance Camera Players) have long fought what they term the unconstitutional use of video surveillance in public places for the purposes of law enforcement. They conduct walking tours showing people the cameras they have been able to identify and conduct plays in front of the cameras in an effort to raise public awareness. Their web site contains numerous documents detailing their own activities and reports produced by others.

In accordance with Professor Ditton's and other findings from the UK and the U.S. they conclude that there are no solid research data to support the perception that surveillance cameras have any effect on reducing crime. Their concern is not merely with the recording of data, although that is a serious issue, particularly considering that they have been unable to establish who owns and monitors the several hundred unmarked cameras they have located in Manhattan. The questions they ask thus include who owns and controls the cameras; how are the data collected being used, for what purpose, analysed by whom, and so forth. Several documents on their web site refer to the potential use of face recognition software to match recorded camera images with images stored in other databases supporting efforts to identify virtually anyone who has been filmed [...]

(Written by Gitte Lindgaard and published 2002 by the Human Oriented Technology Laboratory, Carleton University, Canada.)

Contact the NY Surveillance Camera Players

By e-mail

By snail mail: SCP c/o NOT BORED! POB 1115, Stuyvesant Station, New York City 10009-9998

NY Surveillance Camera Players