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friday :: june 4, 2004
monitor public space: eyes in the skies, democracy in the streets

Faced with the electromagnetic specter of the unknown, human-rights groups have decided to seize extraordinary market opportunities, and equip themselves with the latest in airborne imaging devices, radio communications vectors and geographic information systems (GIS), to locate and track the adversaries (our public-service administrations) even as they are locating and tracking you. The result is the System-77 Civilian Counter Reconnaissance initiative: Eyes in the skies, for democracy in the streets.

With one or several UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) controlled by real-time synthetic vision, feeding video captures and GIS map-readouts to a portable, radio-linked computer, civil society at last obtains the information advantage enjoyed by the secret services, the army or the police. The peer-to-peer surveillance concept, top-down surveillance for grassroots initiatives! S-77CCR is a tactical urban counter-surveillance systems for ground controlled UAV's and airborne drones to monitor public space.

The violence of classical theatres of battle is overshadowed by the rise of low intensity conflicts in highly developed societies of capitalist democracies. The increasing privatization of security in this all-pervading omni directional new style of confrontation asks for solutions towards transparency and a balance of power. To allow for equilibrium of skills in surveillance and a broad education of the public in control technologies, access to a technology for the people seems necessary. In respect to abuse of civil and human rights defensive public intelligence is well advised to use advanced techniques of crime mapping and spatial representation of conflict. Coordinated alternative electronic intelligence efforts can create a fluid gaze for top view assessment of structural social conflicts. Self-protective tools of risk assessment in the hands of independent citizens are a prerequisite for confronting challenges of global risk environments and civil conflicts.

Semiautomatic geographic information applications can analyze street deployment of hostile elements or containment units for civil society conflict analysis. Biometric surveillance methods for the security of the cultural and political active citizen allow the tagging of government representatives and business agents. The observation of police forces or riot control units can give a tactical advantage in mass demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience.

Recent public conflicts have made it clear that technology for independent monitoring of operations is necessary for staying on top of developments and news but also for issues of legal procedures and court cases. >from *System-77 / Civil Counter Reconnaissance site*. via pablo

On May 13, 2004, the Vienna-based Net culture platform Public Netbase presented the System-77 installation, accompanied Projekt Atol Pact's Signal Server! opening performance. Project Atol Pact, headed by Marko Peljhan, is known for its conversion of military information technology for civilian purposes and has received several awards. S-77CCR represents a globally active consortium whose goal is to promote the use of surveillance technology by civil society, in contrast to the intransparent and anti-democratic employment of such technologies by public and private security agencies.

According to Konrad Becker, director of Public Netbase, "the project is an attempt to foster an understanding of art as socio political intervention in the public realm”. The Karlsplatz square, a point of convergence of urban conflict, offers an ideal environment for the installation, allowing it to address real points of reference. "The installation is under permanent police observation. According to a TV report, it has generated a feeling of insecurity among the security forces." Ever since the projects beginnings, the S-77CCR principle "Eyes in the skies, democracy in the streets" has proved to be highly effective. "Vienna will be the focus of attention until 28 May. Instead of further curtailing fundamental rights, technologies will be used to strengthen democracy in the streets", Becker concluded. >from *Feeling Counter Reconnaissanced* by lmare. may 20, 2004

related context
public netbase t0 media~space!. institute for new culture technologies
> iRank: blog epidemic analyzer. see comments about smart-mob demonstrations on the eve of the spanish elections. march 12, 2004
> another world is happening: network-based movements. 'the power of the loose, non-hierarchial, evolutionary movements that have been enabled by the development of the internet.' march 3, 2003
> smart mobs: new uses of mobile media. 'the combination of mobile communication and the internet makes it possible for people to cooperate in ways never before possible. smart mobs: the next social revolution.' october 3, 2002

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