More Cameras the Past Four Days

Here is an update on my attempt to watch out for surveillance and other video cameras that capture my image without my permission.

Friday

I worked at home part of the day and went into the office. I visited one elementary school. We then drove to Stowe for the weekend.

Traffic cameras: 7
Office building cameras: 3
Parking garage cameras: 3
School cameras: 2
Additional interstate traffic cameras: 2

Total cameras: 17

Saturday

I was a Trapp Family Lodge for the weekend with my family. I saw no security cameras there. We did go to a restaurant in town.

Restaurant cameras: 4

Total cameras: 4

Sunday

We drove home from Stowe without any stops.

Traffic cameras: 3
Additional interstate traffic cameras: 2

Total cameras: 5

Monday

I went to a school for my work with students. I made no other stops.

Traffic cameras: 10
School camera: 9

Total cameras: 19

This is a total of 45 cameras I noticed over four days. Add that to the 100 cameras I noticed the four days before and that totals 145 times I have been on camera over eight days. Again, I am sure I missed a few. They are not easy to notice. I am getting better at both remembering to look and at noticing. I will at least look through the rest of this week to see what I can see in terms of what sees me.

Looking Out for Cameras

I posted last week about how I have been interested in finding security and surveillance cameras in my community. My question has been this: how often are images of me taken without my permission or even my knowledge? I have been trying to pay attention to these stealthy¬†cameras around me this week and I feel like I have done a pretty good job. Below¬†is an update. To clarify a few things, I am only looking for cameras that might see me. Any that I know about that are nearby but not close enough to capture an image of me do not count. I also only count each camera once. If I pass by the same camera again the same day I don’t count it again. I do count separate cameras on their own, however. For example, I count each camera at an intersection when I get captured; if I head out and then back I count cameras pointed in both directions.

Monday

I worked at home most of the day but went into town to get some groceries. I made only one stop.

Traffic cameras: 6
Grocery store cameras: 15

Total cameras: 21

Tuesday

I went into the office, which is monitored by security cameras. I parked in a parking garage, also monitored. I stopped to get gas and did not go inside.

Traffic cameras: 9
Office building cameras: 7
Parking garage cameras: 3
Gas station cameras: 2

Total cameras: 21

Wednesday

I had a meeting a good distance away, at Jay Peak Resort. I stopped at a gas station to use the restroom.

Traffic cameras: 10
Gas station cameras: 7
Jay Peak Resort cameras: 15
Additional interstate traffic cameras: 4

Total cameras: 36

Thursday

I went to a school for my work with students. I stopped for a cup of coffee at a convenience store.

Traffic cameras: 14
School camera: 1
Convenience store cameras: 7

Total cameras: 22

Now some of these are duplicated on multiple days. I take the same route two days in a row, for example, so the traffic cameras are ones I might have passed the day before, but this tallies up to at least 100 times I have been on camera in the past four days, not including cameras I may have walked past more than once. I will keep my eye out the rest of the week, as well as next week. I have a pretty varied schedule over those days and will be in many different places, so it could be interesting.

More Cameras Out and About

It is really hard to start thinking about something I have been ignoring for so long. I knew that if I wanted to be aware of all the cameras in my world it would take some practice, but I keep forgetting to look. I keep forgetting to try to be aware. Security and monitoring cameras are typically positioned so that they are unobtrusive, sure. They are visible but not noticeable on purpose.

Over the past couple of days I noticed a few cameras taking my picture. Yesterday I noticed three at a local market but I forgot to look when I was at the register area. I was checking out, paying and so on, so I tried to pay attention to the person helping me. I tried to be friendly and to make sure I appreciated what she did. That meant I did not look up to see the cameras around me, but I am sure there was at least one near the registers.

Yesterday I also went into a computer store to get a replacement back-up hard drive. I paid attention to the people around me and to what I sought, but I forgot to look for cameras. I am sure they were there but again, they are not meant to be seen, so I did not see them.

Today I noticed another camera at our local grocery store. There may have been more, but once again I stopped looking. It is really hard to pay attention all the time to looking for cameras when I have been not doing so for so many years. Part of my interest in seeing them is that I want to be more aware, not just of the fact that I am being spied on, but also of my environment, whatever it may look like. I want to practice paying attention. There is far too much in my world that I do not see. That makes sense–there is too much around to notice it all–that would simply be overwhelming. But still, I want to see more of what is around me.

I will keep trying to pay attention. I remember sometimes, after all. If I keep trying I will remember to look most of the time. I guess that is the best I might hope for, at least for now. Once I do really notice them I want to be aware enough that I wave to every one. Why not be friendly? Even to strangers trying to spy on me? Can’t hurt, right?

On Camera Again

Recently I was listening to fairly new podcast from National Public Radio, Invisibilia, which I highly recommend if you like good storytelling and thinking of things in new ways. The episode, Our Computers, Ourselves, examined how computers affect human behavior, for good or bad. One of the themes was the ubiquity of computers in our lives. They did not dwell on this as part of the show, but as I drove through the snow on my way to work, my own thoughts kept curling around the idea. I looked up and saw a video camera on a light pole, and I wondered, how many times does a camera take an image of me each day? I don’t live in a city but I also don’t live in the most rural part of Vermont. So, in the largest city in Vermont, a very small city by the standards of most other states, how ubiquitous are cameras?

Since then I have been thinking I should count them. Could I be aware enough to see the cameras that watch us but that we have forgotten are there? I knew that I would have to pay attention, that I would have to start noticing things I no longer see. I figured I would try it out today, knowing that it would be an imperfect experiment to start.

On the way to my destination for the day I passed at least two traffic camera intersections where I assume my image crossed a screen. I tried to pay attention but got lost in whatever I was listening to and didn’t look for cameras once I exited the interstate. I did go to a school this morning, which meant a camera aimed itself at me as I buzzed the front desk. I am guessing I missed some cameras but that is at least three, all of which carried my image twice. So at least six times today I was filmed (I’ll have to work on being careful with that word as there was no actual film involved) and none of those instances were of my own choosing.

I plan to try to keep an eye out for cameras around here as I drive and work and shop and play. I am guessing I will find some in unusual places. At some point I will try to count them all in a period of time (one day? one week?). If nothing else it will be good practice noticing, paying attention, being aware. I may find that there are fewer cameras than I imagine; I may find there are more. Either way, the question–how often am I camera?–is worth asking.