Poke Surveillance Culture in the Mechanical Eye

Fun Tips & Tricks to Confuse Cameras

By Anonymous

Surveillance cameras are increasingly forced into public spaces without warning. They are everywhere. If this is the environment we must engage with, then we will use all the tools at our disposal in resisting the processes of facial recognition. The liberal logic of transparency validates the existence of such technologies–one can think back to Aeon Flux which depicts a society where transparency is fetishized and exploited by politicians to at once control the masses and to construct their own spectacular presence. The American center-left is full of what Noam Chomsky would call proto-fascists: closet authoritarians who are quick to dismiss their presented permissive openness for the goal of societal control. Without further ado, here are some simple tips to resist surveillance culture in your town.

Make a Map – Surveillance cameras exist in physical spaces. Knowing where they are is part of the fun. Meet up with friends and split an area into digestible pieces. Now walk through your area, making note of where the cameras are. Pool the information found together with your team and then map it. After you have your map, you can figure out which routes avoid surveillance and which territories to be vigilant within.

Paint Your Face – Facial recognition software focuses on the area from the bridge of your nose to where your eyes meet. Avoid make-up that will highlight distinct facial characteristics like eye shadow and lipstick. Since most software converts photos to black-and-white, monochromatic face-paint works best. Do what you can to scramble your face. Obscure shadows. Think asymmetrically.

Style Your Hair – Use the same approach as you did with your subversive make-up. Asymetricality is key. Cover as much of your face as possible. Especially the area between your eyes and nose. Extra points for cheek coverings.

Smile – When taking photographs for the state (driver’s license photos, mugshots, etc.) make sure to smile. Facial expressions that change the distances of your facial features make it harder for software to recognize your neutral face. Extra points for weirdo expressions.

Turn the Camera Around – If you can, move the camera. Make it face a wall so that its surveillance days are temporarily over.

Bag on the Camera – Get a shopping bag and tie it over an accessible surveillance camera.

Picture Perfect – Trick the camera with a picture of the very street scene it is supposed to be capturing. Set it up in front of the camera lens. See how long it lasts!

Stand in Solidarity with Berliners – 19 February 2013 will see the European Police Congress in Berlin. In preparation, German anarchists of the anti-surveillance CAMOVER are asking people to participate in a game. The only rules: see how many cameras you can covertly destroy. CAMOVER is also calling for a demo on the 16th of February at 8 pm in Mariannenplatz, Berlin.