Or rather, breaking it is a game. In Germany, the latest late night activity/civil protest consists of filming yourself breaking surveillance cameras – whether by hammer, ripping them off the walls, smashing them, etc. The highest scorers get points. And points get you? Absolutely nothing. Especially since you have to be masked to score. Well, at least to not go to jail.
Since this is blatantly illegal, the participants wear ski masks and perform their bizarre game around bemused citizens riding the subway. Their videos are available online, and are pretty funny, until you consider the thousands of dollars worth of video equipment they are destroying, and the safety of their fellow citizens they are endangering.
The premise is that they don’t like the “Big Brother” like aspect of all the cameras. In today’s “Fishbowl” world, where every street is covered with webcams, and every path has been mapped with Google Street View, it’s really kind of inescapable, however.
Can they fix it by pulling down cameras? Not really. Can’t you see the headline? “Increase in Street crime!! More Cameras needed!!” So no net reduction in cameras.
While the security-camera smack down game is thus far a European phenomenon, the U.S. has seen people vent their ire against red light cameras with rifles, chains to pull them over, and even Thermite.
But with UAV’s becoming cheaper and cheaper, and with video technology getting smaller and cheaper, I suspect we’ll see more and more cameras, and more and more uses and abuses of the technology. How the future of surveillance will play out will depend to a large extent on legislators, both at the national and local level. Earlier this month Charlottesville, Va. made headlines for being the first city in the U.S. to pass a resolution against drones.
Security policies will always be controversial. When it comes to video surveillance – be it a drone, a traffic camera, or a store monitor – some will suffer and some will benefit. And some, as it turns out, will treat it as a game.
Joshua Marpet is on the Board of Directors of two Infosec conferences, BSides Las Vegas, and Security BSides Delaware. He is also staff at Derbycon, Shmoocon, and as the “InfoSec Megaphone”, anywhere else he goes. Joshua is an experienced Forensic, Incident Response, and mobile forensics expert and researcher. As an adjunct professor at Wilmington University, he teaches Information Security at an NSA/DHS certified Center of Academic Excellence. In his professional life, he is a managing partner at Guarded Risk, a proactive forensics and proactive incident response firm.