Year after year, the state is developing its equipment and methods of generalized surveillance. The process of gentrification and gentrification of the population that accompanies the Greater Paris project, the 2024 Olympic Games, the famous “feeling of insecurity”, are all reasons and pretexts for the implementation of new security devices, in the Paris suburbs, but not exclusively. It’s not news that the state is keeping tabs on us, managing us, and spying on our lives with ever more sophisticated, intrusive and effective means. Its dirty cameras film us in the streets, in squares, in shops, in transport, elevators, intercoms, smartphones, drones, at toll booths, etc.
In the name of the unbearable security of all, of social peace and the common good, which we do not want. This security is always the reduction of life, restricted to pacify us in the machine of capitalist production. Surveillance, as a tool of control, poses in its acceptance or refusal the question of life. Let’s fight against this dull and bland existence, without any subversion of normality, without any of our own initiative to set things in motion, without any perspective of a global collective emancipation. Cameras, and surveillance in general, restrict our desires. We tell ourselves that there is no point in stealing a safe-deposit box, burning a car or breaking a window because we will be spotted.
The role of cameras is now a major factor in the pacification of revolts, both in prevention through their dissuasive aspect and in repression through their judicial use. The state would have us believe that its cameras are all-powerful, that it could permanently have access to all our actions: no, it is not! Its cameras, like all the buildings it erects, are imperfect in their functioning but also vulnerable and can be destroyed. The cameras serve to protect “us”? But who is this “us”? It is order, money, property, the bourgeoisie, the state. Us, they take us to prison. Let’s refuse the logic of security, of tracking, of control and management! Let’s destroy the barriers that stand between us and freedom. Let’s attack their surveillance cameras.
There are several ways to do this:
(which are far from being exhaustive, let’s be creative)
Attack the camera
CCTV cameras are usually mounted on a pole or fixed to a wall. It is possible to attack the camera or damage the wires that supply it with electricity.
For the first option, if the camera can be reached, its view can be onstructed with paint, thick markers, stickers, garbage bags, or other non-transparent objects. If the camera can move, it can also be forced to turn to look at the sky or a wall. A camera that can no longer see anything is of no use to them.
To make sure it is out of order, the most effective way is to rip it out, with a sledgehammer or a hammer. If it is high up, you can use a pole to give yourself more reach, by attaching a noose to the end of the pole to pull the camera down by catching it in the noose and then pulling with your body weight. Good climbing poles and ropes can be found in climbing shops.
Opening the hatch
As for attacking the wires, which makes sabotage more time-consuming and expensive to repair, you must first give yourself access to them. For city cameras, there are many different models, depending on the district and the city, but most of the poles that hold the cameras have a hatch of about 30 centimetres by 10 centimetres that can be opened with, depending on the model, an Allen key of size 5 or 6 or an electrician’s triangle key (which can sometimes be replaced by a socket wrench, usually 10). If it is another lock system, there is a key that opens it. These hatches are either relatively low and reachable, or relatively high, in which case you’ll have to get up on a stepladder or some such crap, as stable as possible. Once the hatch is open and the cables are accessible, they must now be destroyed.
Cutting them with sufficiently sharp pliers can produce sparks and conduct current: be careful! Use insulating gloves and pliers with an insulating part. If possible, cut them in two places so that you can remove part of the cable, which will make the repair longer and more expensive. Burning them requires putting something filled with gasoline in contact with them, and something that burns on top, and it burns, so be careful. It is also possible to come with a battery-powered grinder and cut the pole directly, or to go after it before the installation of the camera, when there are only the small wires coming out of the mast head.
There are also the cable cabinets of the municipal cameras, which send the videos to the CSU (Centre de Supervision Urbaine) or the local police station. Sometimes these live videos are sent over fiber-optic cables and it is possible to attack them by attacking the electrical cabinets.
Always remember that before the camera is destroyed, it is filming, so be careful.
These tips and techniques are not exhaustive and are the result of collective intelligence and its sharing, we look forward to them being outdated. There are several instructive videos of camera destruction on the Internet, by typing in “CamOver”, in several countries around the world.
The site “Paris sous surveillance” has an interactive map showing different cameras in Paris, it is not up to date in all cities.
Protect yourself from repression, depending on the intensity, the cops can open an investigation to look for culprits, be careful with your fingerprints and DNA, your purchases, etc.