[Reader-list] "World Sousveillance Day" today -- Watching the watchers

Harsh Kapoor aiindex at mnet.fr
Mon Dec 24 23:19:22 IST 2001



                              FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Destruction of privacy and dignity by unaccountable organizations to
    become a target of ordinary citizens.

    An international coalition that includes artists, scientists,
    engineers, scholars, and others is declaring December 24, to be "World
    Sousveillance Day", or "World Subjectrights Day".

                         THE SHOT SEEN AROUND THE WORLD:

    At noon on Monday, December 24, 2001, ordinary people all over the
    world will call into question the growing and dehumanizing effects of
    increased video surveillance, automated face recognition, and
    Covernment (Corporate+Government) tracking in public places, as well
    as private places.

    Often Covernment officials that use video surveillance try to prohibit
    others from taking pictures or video within their establishments or
    regimes, but on this day, many people will photograph these officials,
    their establishments, and their security systems.

    As high noon sweeps past various time zones, the shot heard around the
    world will be that of clicking cameras.

    Rather than protesting by carrying signs, or by marching, citizens
    will protest by going on shooting sprees. Armed with their own
    photographic or videographic cameras and recording devices, and
    shielded with masks or disguises, ordinary citizens will dish out some
    accountability while remaining anonymous to the massive proliferation
    of face tracking surveillance.

                             HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE?

    All you need to do is bring a disguise and a camera --- any camera
    (even a fake or maybe camera, a broken camera, or one with an empty
    film magazine) --- to a place where video surveillance is used.

                       HOW WILL I KNOW WHO I SHOULD SHOOT?

    Taking pictures of the surveillance cameras, or even just wearing a
    disguise, will cause models to appear very quickly for you to
    photograph. When you point your camera at their cameras, the officials
    watching their television monitors will very quickly dispatch the
    models for you to shoot. This is a universal phenomenon that happens
    in nearly any large organization where video surveillance is used.
    Models often carry two--way radios and wear navy blue uniforms with
    special badges. Most will be eager to pose close to your camera,
    especially the hand models:
    [v0011.jpg] [v0015.jpg]
    (director of security at Westin Hotels)
    They will reach out to you. They want to get close to you. They will
    crave the glamour of your camera. They will reach out and touch you,
    or place their hands over your camera lens so you can get a closup
    picture of their photogenic fingerprints.

    Why December 24th?

    This is a day when police are very busy watching for shoplifters,
    phone lines are very clogged, and communication is conjested.

    It is a time also when folks are reflecting on the year's activity and
    World Subjectright Day will be something for people to think about
    over the holidays.


    We are all accountable for our actions. Covernment keeps us under
    surveillance, whether we're just walking down the street, shopping, or
    sometimes even when we're changing clothes in department store fitting
    rooms (Phil Patton, Jan. '95, WiReD).

    When we ask why we are under video surveillance, we are told by the
    Covernment that ``only criminals are afraid of cameras'', or we are
    asked ``why are you so paranoid''. Now is the time to allow the
    Covernment to define itself.

    The camera is Hamlet's Mirror, allowing the Covernment to define
    itself within a Reflectionist context.

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