Smile, You're on Candid Camera!

You may ignore the cameras trained on your face, as you approach the bank-teller or the parking lot. But, what if they begin to stalk you?

[...] As you walk up to the bank-teller, that harmless looking lens overhead may be zooming-in on your face. Where is the footage stored? What if some unauthorised source had access to these pictures? Many libertarians are voicing their protest at the way society is turning to cameras which, like metal-detectors in the 1980s, are being foisted on us as a form of protection. In New York, in May, cameras were mounted at a dock, taking pictures of people about to get on a ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. In London's Liverpool Street underground-station, robot cameras are at work - they alert the police, when they capture suspicious behaviour. Cameras are everywhere, and activists are naturally following this trend. Notice how that other organisation of "activists" - the LTTE - wielded cameras at its press conference, earlier this year, turning the lens back at the journalists who came to photograph its leaders!

But consider this unexpected bunch of activists, calling themselves "The Surveillance Camera Players" (SCP). The outfit, founded in 1996 by a former professor of English literature, performs in front of known surveillance-camera sites in some US cities. They act out skits, such as "Headline News", telling passers-by that they are being watched, and hold up hand-written posters to the cameras that declare, "We're watching you watching us". Their point is valid, and their use of cameras (belonging to those they are protesting against) adds a new twist to their brand of activism [...]

(Written by Angelo Fernando and published in the August 2002 issue of LMD: The Voice of Business in Sri Lanka).

Contact the New York Surveillance Camera Players

By e-mail

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