There’s a new game sweeping Germany that The Guardian described as the “real-life Grand Theft Auto” of CCTV cameras, which have been cropping up since the interior minister called for video surveillance in public places after the 2012 killing of a man in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz square.
Those protesting the widespread use of CCTV cameras in the country have begun a destructive game called “Camover.” If you’re wondering why the group believes such action is needed against the cameras, they present this quote as one of the reasons on their blog’s Q&A:
“The gaze of the cameras does not fall equally on all users of the street but on those who are stereotypical predefined as potentially deviant, or through appearance and demeanour, are singled out by operators as unrespectable. In this way youth, particularly those already socially and economically marginal, may be subject to even greater levels of authoritative intervention and official stigmatisation, and rather than contributing to social justice through the reduction of victimisation, CCTV will merely become a tool of injustice through the amplification of differential and discriminatory policing.”
The Q&A goes on to categorize different CCTV cameras based on location and speculates therefore who might operate them. But what’s more interesting is Camover’s suggestions for methods of attack. There’s the less damaging “plastic bag” method, which as it sounds involves putting an opaque bag over the device.
Still, this less destructive method according to Camover isn’t as advised, because if the player can reach it, they are recommended to smash the lens.
“Don’t bag it afterwards, people need to see the units smashed,” the Q&A reads. “Gives clear indication of inoperability.”
The suggestions for tampering with the CCTV cameras become increasingly more destructive as one goes down the list: paint gun, laser pointer, cable cutting and block drop. What’s this last one?
Climb to the roof of the building on which the camera is mounted with some heavy weights eg concrete blocks and drop them on the cameras below.
Get correct drop position by dropping small stones first.
Camera will be totally destroyed in a shower of sparks.
Scaling tall [buildings] with concrete blocks requires a certain level of fitness.
Pay careful attention to safety of others below.
This is a seriously hardcore method.
Camover recommends a training regimen for players that includes fitness, working with a partner and getting to know the territory.
Since the games begun a few weeks ago, The Guardian reported the group estimating about 50 cameras being destroyed thus far. The people the game is geared toward are described as “workless people – we are shoplifters, graffiti sprayers, homeless and squatters.”
“We thought it would motivate inactive people out there if we made a video-invitation to this reality-game,” the Camover creator told the Guardian, wishing to remain anonymous. “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.”
Watch Camover’s video:
The activities involved in Camover, which is technically a new as a “game,” have been happening for a while (as seen by the videos included on the site described as “how Greek anarchists destroy CCTV cameras.” Here are a few of those: