To spark interest in civil liberties, put up mystery surveillance cams

surveillance-cams-privacyHere’s a creative way to spark more public curiosity and concern about mass surveillance and civil liberties: put up mysterious surveillance video cameras in public squares across the country. The cameras will creep people out, as well as generate buzz and curiosity—one of the best ways to spur people to investigate and seek out more information.

Ideally, the equipment should be functional enough to follow passers-by in real-time rather than stay passive as a stationary installation. Live video could even be broadcast online on a website, which would then provide issue background and advocacy information.

Regardless of the fine details of implementation, the broader purpose of the project is to replicate the unease of being watched by powerful entities with questionable and shadowy reasons to do so. That is, it’s meant to simulate some of the key effects of governmental mass surveillance that isn’t subject to strong public oversight. The resulting suspense and anxiety could be then harnessed for raising public awareness and informing the American people.

For resources on privacy and surveillance issues, see the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.