Camover, The Anti-CCTV Protest Game To Take Down Surveillance Cameras



BERLIN - This is not your daddy's "video game."

Privacy activists in Berlin are protesting against surveillance video cameras by destroying and debilitating them, as part of a social game where you earn points for every CCTV taken down.

The Guardian spoke to the anonymous creator of the so-called "Camover" movement. "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. We thought it would motivate inactive people out there if we made a video-invitation to this reality-game."

photo: Black Bloc Fetish via Tumblr

The rules of this game are simple enough: form a crew and think of a name. Know each other's limits and abilities. Train, especially for unexpected events. You can never be too fit. Begin with something easy, like stickering. Post the videos to YouTube expand=1] for entry to the competition.

Each kind of camera and each form of destruction is worth a certain number of points. The group offers suggestions on "methods of attack" that range from the basic sticker over the lens and plastic-bagging, to laser pointing, cable cutting and block dropping (climb onto the roof of where the camera is, drop stones or blocks and see the camera destroyed in a shower of sparks).

The group’s site has been taken down, but its new official blog explains the rules and guidelines in German, English and Polish. In the FAQ section, the first question, and most obvious, is “Why destroy CCTV cameras?”. The answer given is that 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."

The usual methods of getting things done by the government -- petitions, signatures and letters -- only works to a certain degree. In the group’s ‘motivation’ page on the blog they declare that rapists and other criminals are not deterred by CCTV cameras, yet the government install more and more after each incident. After a failed bombing in Bonn last December, authorities called for an increased amount of CCTV cameras as Der Spiegel reported that one thing the cameras didn't see was who left the gym bag on the platform in the train station.

The winner of the game, according to The Guardian, does not get a trophy or a year's supply of spray paint but the chance to be in the front line of a protest that will take place on February 16. The game ends three days later, to coincide with the start of the European Police Congress.

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In Argentina, A Visit To World's Highest Solar Energy Park

With loans and solar panels from China, the massive solar park has been opened a year and is already powering the surrounding areas. Now the Chinese supplier is pushing for an expansion.

960,000 solar panels have been installed at the Cauchari park

Silvia Naishtat

CAUCHARI — Driving across the border with Chile into the northwest Argentine department of Susques, you may spot what looks like a black mass in the distance. Arriving at a 4,000-meter altitude in the municipality of Cauchari, what comes into view instead is an assembly of 960,000 solar panels. It is the world's highest photovoltaic (PV) park, which is also the second biggest solar energy facility in Latin America, after Mexico's Aguascalientes plant.

Spread over 800 hectares in an arid landscape, the Cauchari park has been operating for a year, and has so far turned sunshine into 315 megawatts of electricity, enough to power the local provincial capital of Jujuy through the national grid.

It has also generated some $50 million for the province, which Governor Gerardo Morales has allocated to building 239 schools.

Abundant sunshine, low temperatures

The physicist Martín Albornoz says Cauchari, which means "link to the sun," is exposed to the best solar radiation anywhere. The area has 260 days of sunshine, with no smog and relatively low temperatures, which helps keep the panels in optimal conditions.

Its construction began with a loan of more than $331 million from China's Eximbank, which allowed the purchase of panels made in Shanghai. They arrived in Buenos Aires in 2,500 containers and were later trucked a considerable distance to the site in Cauchari . This was a titanic project that required 1,200 builders and 10-ton cranes, but will save some 780,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year.

It is now run by 60 technicians. Its panels, with a 25-year guarantee, follow the sun's path and are cleaned twice a year. The plant is expected to have a service life of 40 years. Its choice of location was based on power lines traced in the 1990s to export power to Chile, now fed by the park.

Chinese engineers working in an office at the Cauchari park


Chinese want to expand

The plant belongs to the public-sector firm Jemse (Jujuy Energía y Minería), created in 2011 by the province's then governor Eduardo Fellner. Jemse's president, Felipe Albornoz, says that once Chinese credits are repaid in 20 years, Cauchari will earn the province $600 million.

The Argentine Energy ministry must now decide on the park's proposed expansion. The Chinese would pay in $200 million, which will help install 400,000 additional panels and generate enough power for the entire province of Jujuy.

The park's CEO, Guillermo Hoerth, observes that state policies are key to turning Jujuy into a green province. "We must change the production model. The world is rapidly cutting fossil fuel emissions. This is a great opportunity," Hoerth says.

The province's energy chief, Mario Pizarro, says in turn that Susques and three other provincial districts are already self-sufficient with clean energy, and three other districts would soon follow.

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