A group of activists in Berlin who are angered by the increase in surveillance cameras in the German capital have launched the protest Camover, which sees groups of people competing to destroy as many CCTV cameras as possible. Those participating in Camover are encouraged to give their group a name that starts with something like “brigade”, “cell” or “command” and affix this to the name of a historical figure. They then don ski masks and other attire to conceal identity and then destroy as many cameras as possible. This destruction is recorded and posted to the Camover website, where points will be awarded for the number of cameras taken out of action and the most inventive methods used! Posting the exploits to the site can often prove as tricky as the act of destroying the cameras because it is continuously being shut down!
The use of CCTV in Germany has been a cause of much political debate in the last few months. A bomb scare in Bonn in December and a murder of man in Berlin’s bustling Alexanderplatz square in October has spurred some leaders to call for more surveillance cameras to be installed. But not everyone is happy about the increase in video recording in public areas and protests have been made.
Some of the protesters have gone down more traditional avenues to make their government aware of their feelings against CCTV, opting for petitions and organized demonstrations. However the Camover crowd is certainly getting the most attention.
Since the “game” first began, the small but dedicated group of “players” who call themselves “workless people – we are shoplifters, graffiti sprayers, homeless and squatters,” claim to have taken out as many as 50 cameras!
The creator of Camover, who spoke to The Guardian on the condition of anonymity, said;
“We thought it would motivate inactive people out there if we made a video-invitation to this reality-game…Although we call it a game, we are quite serious about it: our aim is to destroy as many cameras as possible and to have an influence on video surveillance in our cities.”
The “competition” is scheduled to end on February 19th to coincide with the beginning of the European Police Congress and the team that gets the most points is awarded with a frontline place at a protest scheduled to take place on February 16th. As yet, the location of this protest has not been revealed but the Camover organizers have warned those who are attending to watch out for “flying cameras!”
So what do you think, is this just vandalism or a valid form of protest? Leave a comment and let us know.