German Anti-Surveillance Campaign Coming to US

By Carlton Purvis, Published Apr 15, 2014, 12:00am EDT

The German Pirate Party recently created an anti surveillance campaign that focuses on the security (or lack of) that cameras provide people. The PP is now working on English version of the flyers to reach more of Europe and possibly cross over to the United States.

For this note, we review the flyers and share our findings from talking with its creator.

The campaign targets both video surveillance and NSA-style surveillance. But first, here are some of the more popular posters in the campaign:

Translation: Rapid first aid improves security - Surveillance Does Not!

Translation: A midwife improves security - Surveillance Does Not!

Translation: Installing smoke detectors in all apartments improve security - Surveillance Does Not!

Translation: Proper Braking distance improves security - Surveillance Does Not!

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Michael Gerhold is the creator of the posters for Kampagne für mehr Sicherheit (The Campaign for More Security). He is a part of Servicegruppe Gestaltung [link no longer available] and has been with the PP since 2009. In school he studied industrial design but he spends most of his time now creating graphics for campaigns. He started this campaign last year with the hope of providing another point of view for people to see security.

“Often the discussion about this term is driven by politics calling for more surveillance. My goal is to show the people: You don’t need more surveillance to have more security. It’s actually in your own hands,” Gerhold said.

It started out as an online-based campaign in Germany. Each day the PP would post a new picture from the campaign. There are about 25 of them. They have roughly 100,000 followers on social media.

“We had a great impact and got lots of comments and then I started to think about other use cases. We printed postcards, stickers and posters that we used during the European elections,” he said. The PP in the Netherlands also used the campaign now.

Just this week he began translating the posters into English. Here are the first three created for the English campaign:

They are being posted daily to the English campaign site: [link no longer available].

The Goal of the Campaign

The goal of the campaign its make people think about and question how much surveillance is really necessary and what they reallly need to feel secure.

“Most people think after 9-11 we need surveillance, but now after the great NSA scandal there’s a new thinking. People are starting to connect surveillance directly with their privacy. They are afraid to write personal things in mail. This campaign uses this moment to change the public opinion about surveillance a little bit. The are point where surveillance is useful but never inside the privacy of the people,” Gerhold said.

Europe vs. the U.S.

The U.S. and Europe have very different views of privacy. The campaign went viral in Europe where privacy is more valued, but does it stand a chance in the U.S.? So what do you think about the campaign?

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