cameras are everywhere. What would it be like to be Tom Cruises
character in Minority
Report, walking through a public space unable to avoid video
surveillance cameras that know who you are? Kinda creepy, huh? This
technology is on the verge of widespread implementation around the
world. Tommy got an eye transplant in the movie, which solved the
problem. Unfortunately, modern facial recognition software relies
on several reference points so changing just a few traits, like
two baby blues, is usually not enough. I like to have fun. Sometimes
that means doing something thrilling like skydiving or bungee jumping,
and sometimes that means innocently and harmlessly being a trouble
maker. So, in that spirit, lets make some trouble.
video surveillance cameras are found all over the place, especially
in large cities and particularly in the UK, they are keeping an
eye on you to make sure you dont do anything you arent
supposed to. Their impact for good is minimal but their potential
for misuse is great. What is even more frustrating is the fact that
are trying to keep the watch-ees from watching back. So here
are a few of the weaknesses that public video surveillance camera
systems currently have.
and Speed Enforcement Video Surveillance Cameras
Red light cameras
and speed enforcement cameras are a big part of the problem. These
cash machines are not intended to, and do not increase safety. In
many cases they are not properly calibrated or there is a malfunction
in the unit capturing innocent people in the crosshairs. In order
to avoid being captured improperly, people can first avoid the cameras
altogether by knowing what streets and highways to avoid. In the
has a great list of these camera systems throughout the country.
If there is
a need to frequent these areas, the red light and speed camera systems
have difficulty establishing proof of guilt if the drivers face
is obscured while near the intersection. Each state and even each
judge will have slightly different requirements for conviction,
but some simple examples are putting the sun visor down low while
in an intersection or wearing a sombrero pulled down low while driving.
Some have even driven a car configured for driving in the UK (driver
sits where a passenger normally sits in the US) so there will be
nobody in the driver's side of the car for the picture. There are
some other weaknesses and thoughts at highwayrobbery.net,
but be sure to consult an attorney about your unique circumstance
before relying on any of them as advice.
There is a
really fun feature in NYC called isee
which allows individuals to map out the path of least surveillance
when walking in NYC. I am surprised that this has not spread more
quickly to include more areas. If you cant map out ahead of
time to avoid the cameras, a laser pointer aimed directly at the
lens of a camera has been shown to obscure the image of many surveillance
cameras. This does no damage to the camera. Infra red LED lights
can also be used to obscure the image of some video surveillance
cameras when aimed at the lens and dont emit any visible light
that can be seen by other passersby.
High Effect To Avoid Video Surveillance Cameras
a low-tech hawala
system, possibly the most practical and easiest way to avoid
being identified on video surveillance cameras is to wear a hooded
sweatshirt or coat with your face buried deep inside the hood.
Also, most cameras are mounted several feet overhead so looking
down helps obscure identity. This is easier done in Minneapolis
than in Miami but Im sure appropriate modifications can be
made to blend in with the fashions of warmer climates. Even celebrities
use this simple method to do their best to avoid unwanted
These are just
fun observations of the weaknesses of constant public video surveillance.
It takes little effort to avoid most video surveillance camera scrutiny.
No eyeball transplant
necessary. Maybe a thorough read of the book How
To Vanish would help too.
Rounds, J.D. is a California attorney. He holds a degree in Accounting
from the University of Utah and a law degree from California
Western School of Law. He practices civil litigation, domestic
and foreign business entity formation and transactions, criminal
defense and privacy law. He is a strong advocate of personal and
financial freedom and civil liberties.