Protesters from the group Camover in Germany destroy CCTV cameras. The vigilante group wants to see all surveillance cameras removed from public spaces, and are taking matters into their own hands, by taking down as many cameras as possible ahead of February’s European Police Congress
GERMAN INTERNET GAMESHOW CONTESTANTS
vs CLOSED-CIRCUIT SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS
“As a youth in a ski mask marches down a Berlin U-Bahn train, dressed head-to-toe in black, commuters may feel their only protection is the ceiling-mounted CCTV camera nearby. But he is not interested in stealing wallets or iPhones – he is after the camera itself. This is Camover, a new game being played across Berlin, which sees participants trashing cameras in protest against the rise in close-circuit television across Germany. The game is real-life Grand Theft Auto for those tired of being watched by the authorities in Berlin; points are awarded for the number of cameras destroyed and bonus scores are given for particularly imaginative modes of destruction. Axes, ropes and pitchforks are all encouraged. The rules of Camover are simple: mobilise a crew and think of a name that starts with “command”, “brigade” or “cell”, followed by the moniker of a historical figure (Van der Lubbe, a Dutch bricklayer convicted of setting fire to the Reichstag in 1933, is one name being used). Then destroy as many CCTV cameras as you can. Concealing your identity, while not essential, is recommended. Finally, video your trail of destruction and post it on the game’s website – although even keeping track of the homepage can be a challenge in itself, as it is continually being shut down.
The use of surveillance cameras has become a thorny political issue in Germany. Inadequate CCTV footage was highlighted in the investigation of a bomb scare in Bonn last December (“Germans consider Brit-style CCTV,” shouted Der Spiegel). This, along with the brutal killing of a man in Berlin’s busy Alexanderplatz square in October 2012 spurred the interior minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, to call for “efficient video surveillance and video recording in public areas”. For those who oppose CCTV, petitions and letters only go so far in the German capital. A group of 40 protesters walked the streets of Berlin for 1984 Action Day (protests against CCTV cameras and other surveillance, named after the novel by George Orwell) in June and pressure group Control Berlin has screened short films documenting CCTV’s rise. But Camover’s direct-action approach revolves around a small but committed group who call themselves “workless people – we are shoplifters, graffiti sprayers, homeless and squatters”. They claim to have snuffed out as many as 50 cameras since the game began a few weeks ago. “We thought it would motivate inactive people out there if we made a video-invitation to this reality-game,” the creator of Camover (who wanted to remain anonymous) told me. “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.”
The winner of the game does not get a trophy or a year’s supply of spray paint. The competition ends on 19 February, to coincide with the start of the European Police Congress. The prize, says Camover, is to be in the frontline of a protest that will take place three days earlier, on 16 February. The location has yet to be confirmed, but Camover advises anyone who turns up to “crouch to avoid the flying cameras”.”
Screenshot of a video showing an AK Vorrat group member placing a sign with a bomb drawn on it outside the Parliament for Lower Saxony in Hanover. The scene took place in full view of a security camera. The group waited roughly 15 minutes for a reaction from the police before giving up. Click here to watch the full video, which shows the stunt being pulled at three different official buildings.
# CAM OVER
Down with security cameras!
by Michael Ebeling with Claire Williams
“CAM OVER activists want to see German streets free of surveillance cameras. They believe CCTV cameras help the police discriminate against certain groups of people they stereotype as criminals. Through its blog, the group is encouraging others to follow suit and take part in their so-called ‘game’, which ends the day the Congress starts. A failed bomb attack at Bonn train station last December has thrust the surveillance debate into the spotlight in Germany. The police do not have recordings showing how a bag containing a homemade bomb ended up on the platform. Even though surveillance cameras were installed at the station, the images filmed were not recorded on file. Following the would-be blast in Bonn, Germany’s Interior Minister has called for additional cameras and more comprehensive surveillance in public places across the country. A recent report published by the Interior Ministry claims crime reduced by 19.5% between 2010-2011 in areas installed with surveillance cameras in the state of Hesse. The coordinator of the European Police Congress, Martin Jung, says “Germans are increasingly accepting that security cameras prevent crime and help catch criminals”. He adds, “in a public place like a train station, who cares if there are security cameras?” But some Germans do care.”
“The idea of the game is to destroy as much CCTV cameras as possible. For this we decided to announce a competition. For joining in, you need to form an autonomous group with a name that starts with Cell…, Commando…, Brigade…, etc. and ends with a cool historic person. The only other requirement for you is to be aware of Internet safety. Now, you should not only do the action as you do all the time, but also make documentation with at least a report published on Indymedia. If you have pictures, videos or other evidence for the destroyed cameras, you get extra credits. CAMOVER will give you the attention your action deserves. The CAMOVER game ends on the 19th of February 2013 – the day when the European Police Congress is being held in Berlin. The winner may walk in the first line of the Berlin demonstration against the cops on the 16th of February and crouch down to avoid being hit by flying cams…”
“1.1) Why destroy cctv cameras ?
Trust your instincts, but if you need intellectual justification then:
“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 demeanour, are singled out by operators as unrespectable. In this way youth, particularly those already socially and economically marginal, may be subject to even greater levels of authoritative intervention and official stigmatisation, and rather than contributing to social justice through the reduction of victimisation, CCTV will merely become a tool of injustice through the amplification of differential and discriminatory policing.”
“an instrument of social control and the production of discipline; the production of ‘anticipatory conformity’; the certainty of rapid deployment to observed deviance and; the compilation of individualised dossiers of the monitored population.”
“The unforgiving Eye: CCTV surveillance in public space” Dr Clive Norris and Gary Armstrong of the Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice at Hull University, UK
“What we have been able to show is that CCTV didn’t reduce crime – if anything it has increased – and it didn’t reduce fear of crime. If anything there was a slight increase in anxiety.” Prof Jason Ditton of Sheffield University
TYPES of CLOSED-CIRCUIT TV CAMERAS
2.1) Dummy CCTV cameras.
These should be destroyed and removed as they still induce paranoia and fear of punishment.
“Full bodied Dummy CCTV Camera including Lens and Mounting Bracket. Uses an actual Camera body so it looks like the real thing.”
2.2) Hidden CCTV cameras.
They are also useful for back-up surveillance in installations where the primary CCTV equipment is of a more traditional nature, i.e. standard cameras. In this case Covert Cameras can operate as a back-up where primary cameras are disabled by an intruder. Used mostly for temporary installations to catch repetitve criminal activity.
Discouraged by UK home office.
2.3) Wall mounted CCTV cameras.
Normally mounted just out of reach of an individual, but accessible by two people working together.
Mostly protecting private property, but often also covering public space.
2.4) Roof mounted CCTV cameras.
Normally police traffic cameras, but sometimes private or large offices or institutions.
2.5) Street post mounted CCTV cameras.
Normally local authority operated for surveillance of shopping areas or police traffic cameras.
11 Σεπτεμβρίου 2004 Θεσσαλονίκη. Καταστροφή κάμερας παρακολούθησης κατα τη διάρκεια των εγκαινίων της Διεθνούς Έκθεσης Θεσσαλονίκης.
METHODS of ATTACK.
3.1) Plastic bag.
Plastic bag filled with glue does the trick nicely.
Cheap and almost as effective as other short term techniques. Use Industrial grade bags which are thicker. Sometimes a camera going into repair will be ‘bagged’ over, so visually its ambiguous. To Bag a camera theres a high chance that you can reach it with ease. If this is the case dont hesitate to smash the glass, lens and any other components. Dont bag it afterwards, people need to see the units smashed.
Gives clear indication of inoperability.
3.2) Sticker and tape.
Placing of sticker or tape over lense.
Good training activity.
Gives clear indication of inoperability.
3.3) Paint gun.
Use a childs power water pistol with household paint.
Fast, fun and easy method – Highly recommended.
Easy to disable many cameras in a short period of time. a typical one hour action can easily take out 10 cameras.
Carry reserve paint in plastic containers.
Filter paint to remove lumps to avoid blocking gun.
Go for lense first and then cover the rest of the camera and surrounding area.
Clear indication of inoperability, plus draws further attention to the camera.
Camera is easily cleaned so only effective for short time only.
We used super soaker SC 400 – 2000 Edition camoflaged for urban night actions.
With a 50/50 mix of water based house paint (emulsion) and water we could hit targets easily at 4.5m above the ground.
Such a paint mixture totally obscures view through glass lense cover once applied.
Be prepared to get splattered: use disposable clothing.
No climbing required.
16/11/08 Καταστροφή κάμερας και ανάρτηση πανό αλληλεγγύης
3.4) Laser pointer.
Fairly powerful laser pointers can be purchase for low cost (20.00GBP)
Laser pointers of For garaunteed destruction a more powerful laser would be required.
But hazard of damaging eyes from misdirected pointing or reflection from the camera lense cover.
Also, very difficult to keep laser beam precisely still from any reasonable distance.
Can be attached to binoculars for better aiming.
No indication of in operability of camera.
Would not recomend this method.
3.5) Cable cutting.
Cables can be cut with either a sharp hand axe or garden pruning tools.
Make sure tools are electrically insulated to prevent shock from camera power supply.
Casual glance at dangling cables will reveal that camera is inoperable.
Requires complete costly rewiring.
Satisfying sparks emitted when cables cut.
3.6) Block drop.
Climb to the roof of the building on which the camera is mounted with some heavy weights eg concrete blocks and drop them on the cameras below.
Get correct drop position by dropping small stones first.
Camera will be totally destroyed in a shower of sparks.
Scaling tall buidlings with concrete blocks requires a certain level of fitness.
Pay careful attention to safety of others below.
This is a seriously hardcore method.
Κατέβασμα χαφιεδοκάμερας στην Πληροφορική ΕΚΠΑ
Training is essential for not only fitness, but also for developing techniques and more importantly preparing for unpredictable events.
4.1) Working together.
Get to know your partner very well.
You will need to know your partners limits and abilities.
You will need to know how much you can trust each other.
You can never be too fit.
Vary your exercises, but best training is actually doing.
Play on the terrain you will operate on.
Start on something easy like stickering.
Κατέβασμα κάμερας 2 19/3/2008
4.3) Learning territory.
Know every part of the area you will operate in.
Explore by day and night.
Climb every tree, building.
Explore every alley, bush and tunnel.
Climb every wall and railing and fence.
Don’t use paths or streets (only cross them at right angles).
If you have a police helicopter in your area then train aerial counter surveillance ie finding exisitng cover, flares, smoke.”
TV-B-GONE (KIT) : “MAKE EVERY DAY a TV-FREE DAY”
“Tired of all those LCD TVs everywhere? Want a break from advertisements while you’re trying to eat? Want to zap screens from across the street? The new Universal TV-B-Gone kit is what you need! This ultra-high-power version of the popular TV-B-Gone is fun to make and even more fun to use. Built in co-operation with Mitch Altman (the inventor of the TV-B-Gone) this kit is a great way to build something truly useful.
Power: 2 AA batteries
Output: 2 narrow-beam and 2 wide-beam IR LEDs
Number of TV codes: 230 total codes, 115 for ‘North America’ and 115 for “Europe”
This covers pretty much every TV of the following brands, including the latest flat-screens and plasma TVs
more than 100 ftNew! v1.2 of the kit is twice as powerful, 150 feet or more!
This kit was a successful collaboration with Cornfield Electronics
INSECURE WEBCAMS MAP
Message boards on Reddit and 4chan were ablaze last January over a freshly exposed vulnerability in certain models of Trendnet home security cameras. This flaw, when manipulated correctly, allowed users to surreptitiously gain access to thousands of at-home IP camera feeds, providing a veritable online playground for peeping toms. In response, Trendnet issued a firmware update that purported to eliminate the threat, though nearly one year later, it’s apparent that many owners never took action.
Earlier this month, Network World reported that many Trendcam users were still exposing their live feeds to the public, through a Google Maps-powered web app. The site requires no password or additional software, and provides not only real-time streams, but the precise location of every camera, as well. Clicking on a given pin opens a live stream from that particular camera, allowing visitors to spy on sleeping babies, empty living rooms, office interiors, and dimly lit parking lots.
Spending just a few minutes on the site can evoke an unsettling mix of fascination, guilt, and dread. The moving images that were once isolated and divorced from context are now fixed within a geographic space, imbuing them with an extra layer of reality — and, perhaps most important, lending a new sense of scale to Trendnet’s security hole. The identity of the site’s creator remains unclear, though it appears to have been launched as part of a broader awareness campaign, and is likely associated with the @TRENDnetExposed Twitter account. Prominently displayed across the top of the interface is a download link for Trendnet’s firmware update, alongside a Pastebin document full of links to exposed streams. The @TRENDnetExposed account has also been publishing these links, branding each post with a #TrendNetExposed hashtag.
Thus far, there’s no clear explanation for the persistence of this vulnerability. Trendnet, for its part, says it has notified all owners of affected cameras, thoughNetwork World speculates that some users may have never registered their devices to begin with, which would therefore make it difficult to identify them. The manufacturer also ceased shipments of all affected models last year, and pulled any remaining cameras from store shelves. In a statement provided to Network World, Trendnet IT Director Brian Chu said the company is doing its best to raise awareness of the issue, though he stopped short of offering an explanation for its resilience. “Trendnet is doing everything it can to notify all Trendnet IP camera users to update the critical security firmware on affected cameras,” Chu said. “Obviously, it is an ongoing project.”
GOOGLE STREET VIEWS
The Nine Eyes of Google Street View
curated by Jon Rafman / 8/12/2009
“Two years ago, Google sent out an army of hybrid electric automobiles, each one bearing nine cameras on a single pole. Armed with a GPS and three laser range scanners, this fleet of cars began an endless quest to photograph every highway and byway in the free world. Consistent with the company’s mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” this enormous project, titled Google Street View, was created for the sole purpose of adding a new feature to Google Maps. Every ten to twenty meters, the nine cameras automatically capture whatever moves through their frame. Computer software stitches the photos together to create panoramic images. To prevent identification of individuals and vehicles, faces and license plates are blurred.
20 Rue de la Vicarie, Saint Brieuc, France
Street View’s facial recognition software sometimes fails, unintentionally revealing an individual’s identity.
Today, Google Maps provides access to 360° horizontal and 290° vertical panoramic views (from a height of about eight feet) of any street on which a Street View car has traveled. For the most part, those captured in Street View not only tolerate photographic monitoring, but even desire it. Rather than a distrusted invasion of privacy, online surveillance in general has gradually been made ‘friendly’ and transformed into an accepted spectacle. Initially, I was attracted to the noisy amateur aesthetic of the raw images. Street Views evoked an urgency I felt was present in earlier street photography. With its supposedly neutral gaze, the Street View photography had a spontaneous quality unspoiled by the sensitivities or agendas of a human photographer. It was tempting to see the images as a neutral and privileged representation of reality—as though the Street Views, wrenched from any social context other than geospatial contiguity, were able to perform true docu-photography, capturing fragments of reality stripped of all cultural intentions.
Main Street, Rapid City, South Dakota
Berwick Rd. Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
The way Google Street View records physical space restored the appropriate balance between photographer and subject. It allowed photography to accomplish what culture critic and film theorist Siegfried Kracauer viewed as its mission: “to represent significant aspects of physical reality without trying to overwhelm that reality so that the raw material focused upon is both left intact and made transparent.” This infinitely rich mine of material afforded my practice the extraordinary opportunity to explore, interpret, and curate a new world in a new way. To a certain extent, the aesthetic considerations that form the basis of my choices in different collections vary. For example, some selections are influenced by my knowledge of photographic history and allude to older photographic styles, whereas other selections, such as those representing Google’s depiction of modern experience, incorporate critical aesthetic theory. But throughout, I pay careful attention to the formal aspects of color and composition. Within the panoramas, I can locate images of gritty urban life reminiscent of hard-boiled American street photography. Or, if I prefer, I can find images of rural Americana that recall photography commissioned by the Farm Securities Administration during the depression.”
Rue Saunier, Toulon, France
31 Calle de San Dalmacio, Madrid, Spain