Wednesday, 12 May 2010

User testing Responses: Charles Farrier

Charles Farrier (

Your prototype looks very interesting - and the application of cctv that it explores is timely.

You may be aware of the Internet Eyes Ltd cctv game about to launch in the uk - a private company asking private individuals to spy on each other using private cameras connected to the internet, with a cash prize each month for the person who reports the most infringements. There is also the texas virtual border patrol in the US whereby people can log on to the net and watch a live feed of the texas border and report suspicious activity (mostly just suspicious birds or deer). These projects seek to outsource cctv monitoring to members of the public.

A BBC television programme called 'Inside Out' described Internet Eyes as a "revolution" in CCTV despite the fact that it has not yet launched and that the texas virtual border patrol that they compared it to was an enormously expensive failure. Study after study has shown that CCTV does not have a significant effect on crime, so such "revolutions" are ways of ensuring that the public do not focus on the lie that they have been sold. Creating systems that encourage people to watch the world through a monitor and report people they see on the screen actually discourages people from interacting with real people and becoming part of the community they live in.

There have been other citizen spy pilots such as the cable TV channel in East London that showed live feeds of CCTV cameras in the area. All of these seek to make members of the public become the watchers and to become part of the surveillance state. In doing so they hope to normalise people to surveillance and aim to make people ignore the uses that constant monitoring can be put to by the state or corporations.

Perhaps your prototype could be modified to add a jackpot payout tray so that it could be used to play Internet Eyes and collect your prize for dobbing someone in.

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