London leaves Vancouver in the dust

March 24, 2009

Okay, I take it back.  Just when I post that Vancouver is catching up to London in terms of absurd surveillance and the whole attitude towards ‘reporting the suspicious,’ London takes a huge leap and widens the gap near-infinitely.  The Metropolitan Police have just started a new campaign instructing Londoners: “Don’t rely on others. If you supect it report it. Londoners are being asked to trust their instincts and report suspicious behaviour to help combat terrorist activity.”

This is bad enough, telling people not to rely on their communities or the people they know – just report everything.  But to make it worse, the message is accompanied by two awful posters.

Thanks, London, for making me seem like a presumptious jackass.

(via Boing Boing)


Report the suspicious – Vancouver’s steady slide towards London-like surveillance

March 20, 2009

Suspicious behaviour I saw this interesting ad on the bus today, following on the heels of the semi-recent announcement of the new 2010 Olympic security budget of $900 million (up from the original $175 million – you can read a fairly negative take on that in Maureen Bader’s Georgia Straight article “Olympic security budget will create a big brother legacy”).

What I really like about this ad is how they pay the slightest of lip service to avoiding overbearing, Big Brother-esque citizen surveillance.  This isn’t as bad as many of the London ads I’ve seen bandied around on the internet, but it’s most certainly a step in the wrong direction.  And, it doesn’t really make any sense.  The hastily shot photo, captured as I was getting off the bus with my awful cellphone camera, misses the text over the Bugs Bunny imprint, which read: “Call a cartoon channel.”  What is that even supposed to mean?  This very wishy-washy, ambiguous ‘strange vs. suspicious’ dichotomy wherein cartoon rabbits are the benchmark of strange leaves very little room for anything else in that category.  Thus everything becomes suspicious – a homeless guy sleeping in the back row, for example (which is a relatively common sight in Vancouver, what with our huge homeless population and very wet weather).

I imagine we’ll be seeing more and more of this as the Olympics approach, what with the huge security budget mentioned above and the endless vieing of real estate developers to fully sterilize Vancouver in making it the ‘perfect city.’