Thursday, 6 December 2012

Surveillance Camera Man

There are some videos on YouTube called "Surveillance Camera Man" where a man with a camcorder walks up to random strangers and records them, offering no justification except "it's just a video". Because there's no statement from the "artist" and no justification given in the videos themselves, it's hard to attribute any motivation to him. That's probably part of the point, but it makes it harder to decide whether this is just a joke or whether it's a statement (and, if so, what the statement is). My guess is that it's a statement, because someone who was joking would probably be giggling at some point.

The motivation attributed on BoingBoing was that this is a statement about how we feel about surveillance. When it's an anonymous, remote, unobtrusive camera on every single street corner and behind every desk, we don't care. The second someone takes hold of that camera, it suddenly feels invasive. So the point is to demonstrate that we have a double standard with cameras. I'm not 100% sure that's it, but it's a good point. We have probably already pushed surveillance cameras to the natural limit of what people will accept. Push any further and you'll get widespread objections.

Or will you? If we have a generation grow up with surveillance at this level, expecting that everything they do in public is on camera, then their children will be likely to accept a greater level of personal surveillance. It might be possible to erode that privacy feeling so far that it disappears entirely, and no one individual or social agenda will be responsible. It will be something that humanity has collectively decided to do to itself.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I only watched one of the videos.
PPS - I'm pretty sure I got the point.

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