DER SPIEGEL (Germany), THE GUARDIAN (U.K)
BERLIN - This is not your daddy's "video game."
Privacy activists in Berlin are protesting against surveillance video cameras by destroying and debilitating them, as part of a social game where you earn points for every CCTV taken down.
The Guardian spoke to the anonymous creator of the so-called "Camover" movement. "Although we call it a game, we are quite serious about it: our aim is to destroy as many cameras as possible and to have an influence on video surveillance in our cities. We thought it would motivate inactive people out there if we made a video-invitation to this reality-game."
[photo: Black Bloc Fetish via Tumblr]
The rules of this game are simple enough: form a crew and think of a name. Know each other's limits and abilities. Train, especially for unexpected events. You can never be too fit. Begin with something easy, like stickering. Post the videos to YouTube for entry to the competition.
Each kind of camera and each form of destruction is worth a certain number of points. The group offers suggestions on 'methods of attack' that range from the basic sticker over the lens and plastic-bagging, to laser pointing, cable cutting and block dropping (climb onto the roof of where the camera is, drop stones or blocks and see the camera destroyed in a shower of sparks).
The group’s site has been taken down, but its new official blog explains the rules and guidelines in German, English and Polish. In the FAQ section, the first question, and most obvious, is “Why destroy CCTV cameras?”. The answer given is that the "gaze of the cameras does not fall equally on all users of the street but on those who are stereotypical predefined as potentially deviant, or through appearance and demeanor, are singled out by operators as un-respectable."
The usual methods of getting things done by the government -- petitions, signatures and letters -- only works to a certain degree. In the group’s ‘motivation’ page on the blog they declare that rapists and other criminals are not deterred by CCTV cameras, yet the government install more and more after each incident. After a failed bombing in Bonn last December, authorities called for an increased amount of CCTV cameras as Der Spiegel reported that one thing the cameras didn't see was who left the gym bag on the platform in the train station.
The winner of the game, according to The Guardian, does not get a trophy or a year's supply of spray paint but the chance to be in the front line of a protest that will take place on February 16. The game ends three days later, to coincide with the start of the European Police Congress.