It’s 1948 all over again…

As we enter a new decade people all over the world are examining their situations, their recent past, and making plans for the future. For whatever reason, we keep stumbling across reports of government surveillance and harassment of civilians. We hope it is not a theme that will continue for the rest of the year – it is pretty much of a downer – but for right now it got us thinking.

When we were at University, we were assigned a book in one of our intro classes. it was lightweight science fiction short stories, but one of them struck a cord. A woman was living in a wired world, with sentient appliances etc. She found that she couldn’t get away from the nefarious forces watching her every move, and finally found herself huddled in the corner of her apartment, with all of the electrical devices piled in the center of the room, lest they plug themselves in and start reporting on her again.

Cowering in fear is just one reaction to living under constant surveillance. The UK is generally understood to have the highest number of cameras per capita anywhere in the world. In addition, anti-terrorism laws have encouraged police harassment of anyone “suspiciously” recording (via video, still camera, dictaphone, or even painting) in public places. The watchers don’t appear to like others using the technology.

There have been media reports on the harassment, groups like “I’m a Photographer, not a Terrorist” agitating with flash mobs and other forms of street theatre/protest, civil rights groups helping to educate people about their rights, and then the most creative reaction we have come across:

The Get Out Clause a Manchester band, used the CCTV coverage in the city ( plus a freedom of information act request) to create an inexpensive video. The story is here, and the video is below.

It would have been nice to integrate the CCTV with the song, but still, very creative.

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