Saturday, February 13, 2010

Setting the Stage: The tactics of Surveillance Camera Theater

(Big love to Surveillance Camera Theater, all Camera Fraud supporters, Rep. Carl Isett and South San Francisco Mayor Mark Addiego)

How to Stage Your Own "Surveillance Camera Theater"

In 10 Easy-to-Follow Steps!
c/o Surveillance Camera Players

1. Find out exactly where the surveillance cameras are. If you haven't seen any as you've walked around your town or city, check the archives of the local newspaper for announcements of installations of closed-circuit TV systems. Surveillance cameras can be: A) operated in public places by the police or other "public" authorities; B) operated in public places by private authorities; C) operated in private by private authorities; or D) operated in private by public authorities. (To date, the SCP have performed in front of A and B, but not in front of C and D.)

2. Unless you live in the United Kingdom, it is unlikely that you'll ever be able to get a copy of the surveillance footage in which you appear, so forget about it, and concentrate on using your own cameras to document your performances. Be advised that this means having "an extra person," that is, someone other than the performers to shoot the film or video. (In the UK, citizens may request copies of CCTV footage under the Data Protection Act, which went into effect in October 2000. If you obtain such footage, use it to publicize your performance(s). See Step #9.)

3. Map the exact location of the cameras you've located in Step #1 and incorporate this information into your flyers (see Step #7).

4. Plan out as best you can the "play" you are going to perform. The action or message of this play should be clear, intelligible and relevant. Short is good; shorter is better. (Most SCP plays are around two minutes long.)

Your play can be original material or it can be an adaptation of someone else's work. (If it's the latter, choose a work that is as widely known and easily recognized as possible.) Your play doesn't have to concern surveillance cameras. But if it does, you'll have less to explain to people. If your play doesn't explicitly concern surveillance cameras, you'll have more to explain. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing, for it gives you an opportunity to say that you're using the cameras as if they were part of your own TV station and that your play is your idea of "must see TV," or you can say that you're giving the police officers and security guards who watch the cameras something really interesting to watch.

Don't know exactly what you want to perform? Come up with the location of your performance first, and then think what play would go over best in that particular place. Know what you want to perform? Then perform it in a place that best fits the subject matter.

Don't forget that the cameras don't pick up sound. This means that your performance will be silent. All characters, settings and action must be able to be conveyed by pantomime, costuming, scenery, words and/or pictures on poster boards, etc. etc. Get the poster boards in the discard bin of an art supplies store, and use big black magic markers to form the words and draw the images. Sketch out everything in pencil twice: first on a sketch pad and then on the board itself. When you're satisfied that you've gotten it right on the board, go over the pencil lines with magic marker.

5. How many people do you need to perform? You'll need at least two, not including your photographer/video person: one to hand out flyers, one to perform. Three people is good: two performers and one flyer-person. If you can get four or more people involved, more power to you. You're rollin' full on when you've got four or five performers, two flyer handlers and two photo or videographers!

6. Schedule your performance for a memorable day: the anniversary of an important historical event, an annual ritual (paying taxes, voting, worshipping Santa), or the day something important is happening elsewhere. If possible, match the time, place and subject matter of your play as best you can.

7. Prepare an informational flyer that will be handed-out while the performance is going on. The flyer should explain who you are and why you're performing in that particular location and, if you're rollin' full on, why you're performing on that particular day. Include the map you made in Step #3. Attribute your action and flyer to a group with a catchy name, even if one doesn't exist. Use the name "Surveillance Camera Players" if you can't come up with anything better.

8. When you finally perform your play, perform it over and over again for a total of 30 to 60 minutes. Marvel at how much fun this kind of protest is!

Before, during and after your performance, don't be afraid of the police or security guards. If someone threatens to call the police, let them, and continue with the performance. If and when the police come, approach them or let them come to you confident in the knowledge that you're doing nothing illegal. If and when the cops ask/order you to stop and leave the vicinity, do so, especially if you've been at it for a while and have made contact with and given flyers to a good number of people. Hit it and quit it! Your quarrel isn't with the police, but with the people who employ the police. Only get arrested (disobey an order to disperse) when you want to get arrested.

9. Write up the performance and publish it in a zine, on a Web site, or as a photocopied pamphlet that includes your original flyer, the map and whatever photographs you have from the performance.

10. Go back to Steps #1 or #4, and start again.

"Don't pay" says San Francisco Mayor over red light cameras

For information about obtaining a refund,
call the red light ticket hotline at (650) 829-3777.


SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA (KGO) -- The mayor of South San Francisco's message to those captured on red light cameras at two heavily traveled intersections in the city before Jan. 27 is this: Don't pay your ticket!

"We don't want any more money to refund, so please don't pay your ticket." That is South San Francisco Mayor Mark Addiego's answer to drivers who were nabbed by red light cameras in the city between Aug. 15 and Jan. 27. If you have already paid your ticket, the mayor says you will be reimbursed.

It all stems from one big snafu in which the City Council failed to seal the deal with the manufacturer of the cameras.

Related STORY: Technicality leads to refunds for red light runners

"The ratification of the contract somehow fell off the radar," Addiego said.

City officials believe some 3,000 drivers were ticketed, amounting to more than a million dollars in citations. They occurred at El Camino and Westborough, and El Camino and Hickey. Fixing the mistake will be costly for this small city, especially during lean times.

"It could range up to $50,000 to undo it, just administratively with manpower," Addiego said.

Not to mention all the money the city would have received from those huge fines.

Annalyn Chacon was caught on camera twice just one month after she moved to the area. Both times Chacon was making what is called a "California stop," a rolling stop as you make a right against a red light. The tickets have cost her almost $900.

Almost all of the many e-mails we received since we broke the story last week were from motorists who made those California stops.

Paul Ault was cited in September making the same kind of stop as Chacon did.

"I know it's a big revenue line for the city, but it doesn't seem responsible," Ault said.

Believe it or not, the mayor seems to agree.

"I don't think they rise to the same level as someone who blows a red light, so I think we need to look at the red light cameras for right turns versus through the intersection," Addiego said.

The mayor says a letter will be sent in two weeks to all those cited explaining how they can obtain a refund.

For information about obtaining a refund, call the red light ticket hotline at (650) 829-3777.

Utah opts out to beat the chip

c/o Salt Lake Tribune

UTAH - House committee approved legislation Friday that would prohibit the state from complying with provisions of the federal REAL ID Act, a measure supported by both the American Civil Liberties Union and the Utah Eagle Forum.

"What [REAL ID] could ultimately lead to is a national ID card that could lead to all sorts of government tyranny if it goes too far," said Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem.

The worrisome provisions include the addition of radio frequency chips set into the state's driver licenses that Sandstrom said "could lead to tracking of movements of individuals and could be used to track the purchases of things such as ammunition and guns."

Congress passed the REAL ID Act after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to impose uniform standards on state identification cards. The bill would not repeal the portions of the REAL ID Act that have already been enacted, including the requirement that residents provide a birth certificate to get a driver license.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


c/o No2ID

This Monday (8th Feb) the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) began the next phase of the ID Card Con - targeting 16-24 year olds living in London.

Minister for Identity, Meg Hillier invited the media to come and see the first 'volunteer' be fingerprinted at 8:30am. A dozen or more hardy NO2ID supporters mounted a chilly white protest in biting winds and the odd flurry of snow outside Victoria passport office. IPS security decided to stay in the warm, and keep an eye on us through the window.

Getting there half an hour before the minister meant we caught the media going in - and also coming out. Phil Booth gave interviews to ITV news and the Press Association cameras, and reporters from several London university newspapers. Guy Herbert spoke to news radio.

Inside the passport office, according to one person watching, the volunteer actually referred to himself as a guinea-pig. Shame he didn't get the full message on the flyers we were handing out, which is *don't* be a guinea-pig.

Bizarrely, one young man walking past our protest waved what looked like an ID card at us. He was turned away from the front door, but headed in by the side entrance. Members of the media said later he was a member of an IPS Public Panel "independent scrutiny" groups, hand-picked by IPS - which may explain how he came to be issued with a card before the
'first' volunteer...

Glimpsing Ms Hillier through the glass around 9:30am, we rapidly relocated our protest round the corner. But to no avail. The Minister snuck out another way, leaving another decidedly low-key media event without directly engaging her critics.

For more information, flyers to download and print off, and notice of upcoming 'Stop the ID Card Con' events in London and across the North West [UK], please visit:

REAL ID looms over Nevada

"We definitely didn’t fund it, and we were delaying it, waiting to see what the feds were going to instruct us to do because a lot of people felt like it was more than likely going away. … But what we did was totally put it on the backburner.”-Assembly Transportation Committee chair Kelvin Atkinson

Nevadans who breathed a sigh of relief when last year’s Nevada Legislature killed a bill to implement the federal REAL ID program in the state can start worrying again—the Gibbons administration has implemented it anyway. The director of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) said the regulations give the state the ability to move forward with the REAL ID program, even though state legislators don’t want the state to do so.

REAL ID, a 2005 federal mandate, imposes authentication and issuance standards on state driver licenses and identification cards in order for them to be used for federal “official purposes,” however that is defined by homeland security officials. Essentially, it creates a national ID card, though design features may differ from state to state. It has raised concerns about both privacy and overreaching federal mandates.

But the federal law has faced stiff opposition in state legislatures—including Nevada’s—and the Obama administration and Congress have been drifting toward softening its provisions or junking it altogether.

Assembly Transportation Committee chair Kelvin Atkinson said, “We definitely didn’t fund it, and we were delaying it, waiting to see what the feds were going to instruct us to do because a lot of people felt like it was more than likely going away. … But what we did was totally put it on the backburner.” He said he hadn’t heard about the Gibbons regulations.

REAL ID has also faced harsh criticism from advocates of personal privacy, particularly conservatives. Liberals have been more divided.

In Nevada, an anti-REAL ID resolution was approved by the 2007 Nevada Legislature, and an implementation amendment was introduced and then killed in the closing hours of the 2009 Nevada Legislature. But an earlier 2007 measure also gave the state DMV authority to move forward with implementation, though that authority had restrictions on it.

One administration source says the Nevada REAL ID regulations were rushed to completion after the Las Vegas Review Journal ran a Nov. 26 story that read, “The head of [DMV] is questioning whether Nevadans will be allowed on interstate flights starting Jan. 1 because of the failure of legislators to adopt a driver’s license regulation to comply with the federal Real ID law.”

It was not true that people might not be allowed on flights—the federal Homeland Security Department has pretty much suspended REAL ID with extensions of time for the states until Congress can clarify its desires. But a few days after the R/J story ran, Gov. Jim Gibbons said he would implement the REAL ID law by executive regulation. As a member of the U.S. House, Gibbons voted for REAL ID both when it was a stand-alone bill, which failed to pass, and when it was tucked into a troop funding bill, which passed.

In Nevada, privacy advocates—particularly the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, which was instrumental in defeating the 2009 legislative implementation of REAL ID—feel betrayed. “I think that’s bad faith,” said Rebecca Gasca of ACLU of Nevada, referring not to individuals but to the fact that opponents played by the rules and defeated the legislation, only to see the program implemented anyway. “I mean, if they didn’t actually need the legislature, then why was it considered by the legislature? The DMV tried, multiple times, to have the legislature consider pieces of [REAL ID] legislation. That was open, it was transparent, and it was soundly rejected.”

Gibbons has drawn criticism from conservatives, such as a website that ran an essay headlined “Nevada governor Gibbons capitulates to Real ID citing phantom fear of stranding travelers.”

But Gasca said that all along, it’s been the DMV that has rushed REAL ID, applying for grants and changing cost estimates to move implementation along, all in defiance of the 2007 legislature’s anti-REAL ID resolution, Assembly Joint Resolution 6. DMV director Edgar Roberts has written to Gibbons that the lawmakers were poorly informed when they adopted that resolution. In December, ACLU sent a letter to the governor reading, “Nevadans do not support REAL ID and their elected legislators have refused to adopt it. Here in Nevada, the 2007 Legislature passed a near-unanimous joint resolution, AJR6, urging Congress to repeal REAL ID.” Roberts responded, “AJR6 was passed when the law was passed prior to the final rules being released in January of 2008. The decision was based on many assumptions and unknowns regarding the final rule.”

Roberts and the governor’s office said the regulations prohibit using radio frequency identification (RFID) chips or any other technology capable of tracking people in Nevada licenses, which seems to be a straw man because REAL ID does not require those features in the first place.

“Just the mere fact that [RFID’s] not in the ID doesn’t mean it’s not a federal ID,” said Gasca. “Information will still be contained on the back of the card and is scannable. There are no prohibitions on how and who can scan that.”

According to DMV, the regulations adopted by Nevada put it in basic compliance with 18 standards mandated by the Homeland Security Department. Those standards include requirements that the state keep photos of all drivers in its files rather than just using them for licenses; documentation by all drivers of their date of birth, social security number, residential address, and lawful status; background checks on DMV workers who have access to drivers’ information; and “integrated security features” in licenses. Many drivers, particularly older drivers, no longer have such documents—and having shown those documents to the DMV in the past will not help them in the future. They’ll have to present them again.

In his proclamation of the REAL ID regulations, Gibbons explained his authority in an unusually informal way. The proclamation reads that he was adopting the regulations in spite of the 2009 defeat of implementing regulations based on “conversations with Assembly leadership and [legislative] staff held throughout the [final] day” of the 2009 legislative session. The proclamation refers to “tight timelines” in those closing hours of the legislature and asserts that DMV representatives were “informed that the language in existing statute (passed during the 2007 Legislative Session) would allow the Department to adopt the federal requirements by regulation.”

We attempted to find out who at the legislature informed DMV officials of this and who the DMV officials were who received the information. We received a statement from DMV: “The information regarding existing language in statute was provided to the Department by LCB [Legislative Counsel Bureau] analysts and forwarded to the Assembly leadership. The Director [Roberts], the ASI project manager and the ASI project management analyst were informed on the last day of session, when SB52 was passed by the Senate and was scheduled to be heard by the Assembly.”

A DMV spokesperson said the 2007 statutory language “requires the Department to adopt rules by regs … prior to ‘the date of expiration of any extension of time granted to this State by the Secretary of Homeland Security to comply with the provisions of the Real ID Act of 2005, or until May 11, 2008, whichever is later.’ ”

However, while that language is in the statutes, so is language requiring that regulations “must not become effective until the later of: (a) May 11, 2008; (b) The effective date of the regulations issued by the Secretary of Homeland Security to implement the provisions of the Real ID Act of 2005; or (c) The expiration of any extension of time granted to this State by the Secretary of Homeland Security to comply with the provisions of the Real ID Act of 2005.” Extensions are still in force.

Gibbons used emergency regulations, in spite of the lack of an emergency. Such regulations remain in force for 120 days, after which legislators will probably void them. The problem is the DMV will likely have REAL ID already in place by the time the legislators can act—and the legislators will then be put in the position of undoing a program that is already in effect.

Big brother, big government

Big brother could be keeping a closer eye on you
c/o ArgueWithEveryone forum

OKLAHOMA CITY -- An Oklahoma lawmaker is calling a piece of legislation under consideration in the U.S. Congress a "big brother, big government bill." The Pass I.D. Act calls for standardizing driver's licenses across the country, but State Representative Paul Wesselhoft says the bill is an invasion of privacy.

"I think it's big brother at its worst. I know the motive behind it is to curb illegal immigration and other security issues but I think it's a violation of our 4th Amendment," says Rep. Wesselhoft (R-Moore).

Representative Wesselhoft believes the Pass I.D. Act could give the government unprecedented access to your personal information through your driver's license.

The republican claims there's a provision in the bill that calls for ID's like licenses to carry radio frequency identification chips.

"They could embed that with a chip, they can track you and find out not only where you are, but who you are," says Rep. Wesselhoft.

The U.S. Senator from Hawaii who is sponsoring the act says that's just not the case.

We contacted Senator Daniel Akaka's office; his staff told us the bill implements the 9/11 commissions requirements for driver's license security.

In a written statement, the senator's office says: "Neither REAL ID nor PASS ID call for computer chips of any sort. As recommended by the 9/11 commission, the existing REAL ID regulations require IDs to contain machine readable barcodes much like you would find at the supermarket. Police officers can scan the barcodes to easily verify the information printed on the front of the ID and detect fake IDs. Many states have been using the barcodes for years."

Despite what the congressman's office told us, Representative Wesselhoft says there is language in the bill that could allow for computer chips in driver's licenses.

However, he does admit he has not read the bill in its entirety.

The representative is now proposing a new bill aimed at protecting Oklahoma driver's licenses from government intrusion by preemptively disallowing state and local governments from tracking a persons location or obtaining personal information from an individuals driver's license.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

FARFA beats the Chip on Waking Up Orwell


This week we're back to our regular news magazine reporting and commentary format.

SPECIAL GUEST: Judith McGeary of Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance analyzes the prospective defeat of National Animal ID (NAIS), associated with animal chipping mandates.

THIS WEEK'S DIY GOVERNMENT: Downsize D.C., proud sponsor to comprehensively repeal the Real ID Act so there is nothing left for Joe Lieberman to cling to, supplements FARFA's work with an online campaign.

BUZZWORD: "Intervention" preferred to "revolution".

FEATURED GUEST: Filmmaker Tim Jackson discusses the history and art of the political prank exhibited in his film Radical Jesters. Politics tends to be rough and intense waters, which makes it prime real estate for the comic and satirical humorist. Much of dissent in the form of direct action has become criminalized. (i.e. It's illegal to stop traffic by stepping into the streets during business hours with intent to assemble for purposes of demonstrated protest.) The last bastion of dissent is to get really creative using what you know, who you are and what you have on hand.

You can watch Radical Jesters in chapters at

SAY YES!! EFF Push's for telecomm exposure

Appeals Court Backs EFF Push for Telecom Lobbying Documents Disclosure
c/o EFF

Panel Rules Law Does Not Protect Identities of Lobbyists

San Francisco - Today a federal appeals court rejected a government claim of "lobbyist privacy" to hide the identities of individuals who pressured Congress to grant immunity to telecommunications companies that participated in the government's warrantless electronic surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans.

As the court observed, "There is a clear public interest in public knowledge of the methods through which well-connected corporate lobbyists wield their influence."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been seeking records detailing the telecoms' campaign for retroactive legal immunity under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Telecom immunity was enacted as part of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.

"Today's ruling is an important one for government and corporate accountability," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "The court recognized that paid lobbyists trying to influence the government to advance their clients' interests can't hide behind privacy claims to keep their efforts secret."

This decision is the latest setback for the government in its long-running attempt to delay disclosure of the documents EFF seeks. So far, EFF has obtained thousands of pages of records through this litigation.

"AT&T, Verizon and Sprint expended millions of dollars to lobby the government and get an unconstitutional grant of retroactive immunity for their illegal spying on American citizens," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "The public deserves to know how our rights were sold out by and for telecom lobbyists."

The appeals court sent part of the case back down to the district court for further consideration, including whether disclosure of the lobbyists' identities would reveal intelligence sources and methods and whether communications between the agencies and the White House can be withheld under the presidential communications privilege or other grounds.

E-TERRIFY: Marchant Unveils “Mortgage E-Verify Act”

BTC - Someone wants to see your citizenship papers if you are going to own a home.

Washington, D.C. - February 5, 2010 - (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Kenny Marchant (TX-24) issued the following release today after unveiling his new bill, H.R. 4586 the Mortgage E-Verify Act.

“As a member of the House Financial Services Committee, I am happy to introduce my bill, the Mortgage E-Verify Act, which would require, as a condition for modification of a home mortgage loan held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), that the mortgagor be verified under the E-Verify program. My bill will potentially save millions by cutting down on fraudulent claims from illegal immigrants and protect taxpayers from subsidizing the restructuring or renegotiation mortgages of illegal immigrants.

“E-Verify is a fantastic program which I have supported making permanent for employers. Mandating its use as a condition for home mortgage loan modifications would help eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in the system and bring integrity to the process. In fact, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement division (FinCEN) estimates that mortgage fraud increased 1,411 percent from 1997 to 2005. Furthermore, two-thirds of fraud reports in the last decade are due to falsified statements on loan documents. My bill would curb these abuses and protect the taxpayers.”

There was a major case in Nevada where a mortgage company branch manager conspired to manufacture and submit false employment and income documentation for borrowers, most of whom were illegal immigrants. Fifty-eight of the 233 fraudulent FHA loans totaling $6.2 million have, not surprisingly, gone into default, costing HUD nearly $2 million. The branch manager was found guilty on 32 counts of submitting false information to HUD, and one count of conspiracy.

Utah invokes the 10th; HB 234

BTC - GUESS WHAT? The 10th Amendment strategy works.... on Real ID... again.

Introduced in the Utah Legislature is House Bill 234 (HB234), which if passed, would prohibit the state from “participating in the implementation of the REAL ID Act of 2005.”

Real ID created national standards for driver’s license and identification cards and opponents have been resisting it for various reasons – it’s a privacy risk, forces states to bear the financial burden, and is not authorized by the constitution.

HB234 addresses much of this:

The Legislature finds that the United States Congress’ enactment of the REAL ID Act into law:

(a) is inimical to the security and well-being of the people of this state;
(b) will cause unneeded expense and inconvenience to the people of this state; and
(c) was adopted in violation of the principles of federalism contained in the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The Utah legislature passed House Resolution 4 (HR4) in 2009, which was a non-binding resolution making clear that the legislature opposed the law. Supporters of HB234 see it as a logical follow-up to the resolution passed last year.

States were originally given until May 2008 to comply with the law, but widespread resistance resulted in the Federal Government changing that deadline not once, not twice, but three times.

More than two dozen states have passed resolutions or binding laws opposition the act, rendering the Bush-era law nearly null and void in practice.

CLICK HERE – to view all current Real ID nullification legislation

Michael Boldin is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center. He was raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.