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CAMOVER: Attack the Surveillance State
Pamphlet on direct action against surveillance passed out last night while the city voted to continue with the implementation of the Domain Awareness Center.
What is Camover?
It started in Berlin. Small groups hit the streets at night to smash and dismantle the CCTV surveillance cameras adorning the city streets. They posted videos and photos of their exploits online and called the guerrilla project Camover. The anti-surveillance project quickly spread throughout Germany, to Finland, Greece and now even the U.S.
The Domain Awareness Center, a joint project between the Port of Oakland and city, started as a nationwide initiative to secure ports by networking sensors and cameras in and around the facilities. The busy port is one of seven U.S. maritime facilities that the Department of Homeland Security considers at highest risk of a terrorist attack.
Since its inception in 2009, the project has ballooned into a surveillance program for the entire city. Some officials already have proposed linking the center to a regional Department of Homeland Security intelligence-gathering operation or adding feeds from surveillance cameras around the Oakland stadium and arena complex.
In the next year, authorized personnel in Oakland will be able access multiple video feeds from a large swath of the city, along with real-time information such as weather and detailed crime information all on in one location, even on their laptop and mobile device.
Despite public outcry, in the middle of the night the City Council unanimously voted in favor of this system*. Our elected officials in Oakland do not represent us, they are not interested in our concerns. They leave us no choice: resist in the streets.
Who hasn’t noticed? There are cameras on the streets, in the shops, on public transportation, even in schools and at work! Video surveillance is used to monitor our lives, to control our actions, and to suppress our resistance. Comprehensive monitoring is the most visible manifestation of the ubiquitous eyes of the state, done under the guise of society’s basic need for security.
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 demeanor, are singled out by operators as un-respectable. In this way youth, particularly those already socially and economically marginal, may be subject to even greater levels of authoritative intervention and official stigmatization, and rather than contributing to social justice through the reduction of victimization, surveillance will merely become a tool of injustice through the amplification of differential and discriminatory policing. This type of authoritarian rule is not new to the people of Oakland.
Methods of Attack
• Plastic Bag: Plastic bag filled with glue does the trick nicely. Use industrial grade bags which are thicker. Sometimes a camera going into repair will be ‘bagged’ over, so it’s visually ambiguous.
• Sticker or Tape: Placing of sticker or tape over lens.
• Paint Gun: Use a child’s water pistol, such as a Super Soaker, filled with household paint. Carry reserve paint in plastic containers. Filter paint to remove lumps to avoid blocking gun. With a 50/50 mix of water based house paint and water we could hit targets easily at 4.5 meters above the ground.
• Laser Pointer: Laser pointers of 5 mWatts or more can temporarily blind and may even permanently damage cameras. For guaranteed destruction a more powerful laser would be required. Hazard of damaging eyes from misdirected pointing or reflection from the camera lens cover. Can be attached to binoculars for better aiming.
• Cable Cutting: Cables can be cut with either a sharp hand axe or garden pruning tools. Make sure tools are electrically insulated to prevent shock from camera power supply. Requires complete costly rewiring. Satisfying sparks emitted when cables cut.
• Get Creative: There are a myriad of ways to attack that are not listed here. Be resourceful!
*This pamphlet was first printed after the July 30th meeting where the DAC was originally passed, the November 19th was not entirely unanimous.