By Kim Zetter
It’s being called Grand Theft Auto for the surveillance generation, only instead of being played out in the digital world, it’s played out in the real world. And the object of the game isn’t to steal cars or pull off other underworld pranks but to take out Big Brother’s eyes by destroying CCTV surveillance cameras spread across the city.
That’s the new game being played in Berlin and other German cities under the rules of Camover [note: the website keeps changing addresses so link may not work], an activist sport for those who hate surveillance cameras, according to The Guardian.
Teams of players are charged with taking out as many cameras as possible — by ripping them out of mounts, cutting cables or covering the lenses with black paint using Super Soaker squirt guns — and videotaping the vandalism in the process.
Points are awarded for the number of cameras destroyed — with bonus points granted for the most inventive methods.
“We thought it would motivate inactive people out there if we made a video-invitation to this reality-game,” the creator of Camover told the Guardian. “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 was launched as a protest against the European Police Congress being held in Berlin on February 19. There’s no real prize for the game. The winner gets front place in a protest that will take place three days before the congress begins.
The organizers of Camover explained their motivations on their web site:
“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,” they write. “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.”