3 thoughts on “Optometric Metropolis”

  1. From New Scientist, 4 January 2006: “A team of Austrian computer activists have demonstrated a method of hijacking police CCTV cameras, in protest over increased surveillance of public areas in their country’s capital. A group called Quintessenz used an off-the-shelf satellite receiver to intercept the video signal transmitted by a surveillance camera overlooking a busy square in the capital Vienna. The feed had been crudely scrambled by modifying the analogue video signal but the activists were able to unscramble it using commercial video processing software. This enabled them to view everything recorded by the camera, and revealed both its capabilities and shortcomings. ‘The funny thing was, the camera wasn’t able to see right below itself,’ says Christian Moch, a spokesman for Quintessenz, ‘so people could carry out drug deals underneath it without being seen’. Moch says Quintessenz decided to hijack the camera to protest over a law introduced in Austria in 2005 permitting police to install surveillance equipment in public places without obtaining a warrant. ‘They’re watching our every move and that’s just wrong,’ he told New Scientist. ‘It’s too close to the book 1984.’ Part of the stunt saw the activists experiment with different ways to block the video camera’s view – they found that laser pointers and balloons were both effective. Since they carried out the prank, the police have started using cameras that transmit their video feed via a cable instead of using a radio link.”

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