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Secure Beneath the Watchful Eyes;
October 28, 2002 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Secure Beneath the Watchful Eyes; Big Brother goes retro. In the artistic tradition of classic London Transport poster art comes this sinister-looking campaign. Reminiscent of these parodies, but the art is better and they're not kidding.
posted by George_Spiggott (29 comments total)

 
That big blinking eye on the website is creepy!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:45 PM on October 28, 2002


more discussion here
posted by dolface at 3:53 PM on October 28, 2002


Um, dolface, that's the same link.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:55 PM on October 28, 2002


Thoughtcrime! Thoughtcrime! I'm going to turn you all in..
posted by ac at 3:56 PM on October 28, 2002


doubleplusscaryasshitungood
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:57 PM on October 28, 2002


Uh this photo has Bill Gates in it, was that the deal he made with the Feds, be a big brother to Lady Liberty?
posted by thomcatspike at 3:58 PM on October 28, 2002


Wolfdaddy doubleplusgood duckspeaker.
posted by ac at 4:05 PM on October 28, 2002


that is some scary shiat. There needs to be a little civil disobedience in action; tear those pieces of fascist shiat down.
posted by cru de meon at 4:05 PM on October 28, 2002


wow, i am dumb.
posted by dolface at 4:16 PM on October 28, 2002


Whoops, I was fooled by the parody and read too much into it.

I guess this means this will be next for the states as we are younger and seem to follow the UK like finger prints for library cards for the tots discussed earlier this year.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:17 PM on October 28, 2002


Big Brother in the UK? Oh no, you mean Western European governments can be as bad the evil US?
posted by Bag Man at 4:30 PM on October 28, 2002


In retrospect (heh) I might have included this link. The Cameras are Coming. (Via Wired.) David Brin suggests it's not a question of whether we'll have surveillance of public space -- he considers that a foregone conclusion --- but whether it will be done in a forthright way which not only respects citizen's rights but actually considers their needs as well, and involves them in the process. Compare his descriptions of "City One" and "City Two" and ask yourself if we're even likely to be given this choice.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:32 PM on October 28, 2002


Yeah, if there's one thing I hate, it's feeling secure in public places. I ride Boston's T because I like the slight sense of danger and I find poorly-behaved adolescents amusing.

Note to reactionaries: The ads are promising safety. If you're afraid of being singled out by authorities for your behavior on public buses, then you shouldn't be on the bus in the first place. The ads are a really cool nod to a bygone era, and show that someone involved in London transportation has a sense of humor. That's it!
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:37 PM on October 28, 2002


I gotta agree with Mayor....it seemed funny to me. Of course the ad group knows it looks like 1984 - it was done intentionally.
posted by Kevs at 5:39 PM on October 28, 2002


If you're afraid of being singled out by authorities for your behavior on public buses, then you shouldn't be on the bus in the first place.

No, I'm afraid of being singled out by authorities because the automatic face-recognition software matches my face to a name in an automatically generated list of suspicious people. Sure, they would probably let me off after discovering their mistake, but how many hours (or days) of arrest and interrogation would I have to go through first?
posted by Mars Saxman at 5:53 PM on October 28, 2002


Mars Saxman: How many hours (or days) of arrest and interrogation would I have to go through first?

That is the price of freedom! Err, waitaminute...
posted by UKnowForKids at 6:30 PM on October 28, 2002


Of course the ad group knows it looks like 1984 - it was done intentionally.

So, the government is cloaking a message meant to reassure riders that they should feel safer...in a joke referring to our fears that the authorities are monitoring our political loyalty. Yes, that's what I want from my public service announcements -- subtle, menacing comedy!
posted by BT at 7:02 PM on October 28, 2002


new tagline?

"Metafilter: Subtle, Menacing Comedy"

seriously, very cool link.
posted by Vidiot at 8:08 PM on October 28, 2002


Interesting MC. But I fail to see how a camera makes you safe? Does it reach out and slap criminals about before they make their move?

Cameras will deter mugings about as much as they deter 7-11s from being robbed at gunpoint. ie: They'll increase crime due to reduced police presence and a false sense of security.
posted by shepd at 10:31 PM on October 28, 2002


Obey.
posted by eddydamascene at 11:59 PM on October 28, 2002


yeah, they disarm your fears by making a nice parody of Big Brother, then go and do Big Brother things once they have you romanticizing their clever artwork.
posted by cru de meon at 12:40 AM on October 29, 2002


I think it's a fantastic ad campaign. A key theme of 1984 was that of the gov't cynically portraying oppressive surveillance as comforting. ANY ad campaign which sought to reassure transport users that surveillance should be reassuring would be compared to 1984. By confronting these perceptions head-on, there is nothing left to do but examine the differences between the situation of 1984 and London 2002-- namely that this surveillance actually will be used to track (supposed) criminals, rather than political dissidents. A fantastic ad campaign for a less than great security plan.
posted by 4easypayments at 12:51 AM on October 29, 2002 [1 favorite]


Maybe the poster is trying to act as a deterrent to crime, rather than make the innocent feel safer?
posted by BobsterLobster at 1:47 AM on October 29, 2002


I'd like to see a link to those posters you see on the walls in the movie Brazil.
posted by alumshubby at 4:36 AM on October 29, 2002


At least under the Data Protection Act in the UK you can ask any organisation - including Transport for London - for copies of any video they have recorded of you with their CCTV systems.
posted by kerplunk at 5:34 AM on October 29, 2002


Am I really the only one who finds it amusing that this post and the one with the "Meary" eyeballs are side-by-side?

It's your choice; either go to London and ride the Metro, or simply order those stickers and create the illusion of Big Brother's watching eye in your own environment.

Now, how disturbing will it be when someone invents a camera flat enough as to be undetectable on the posters themselves...or the stickers....
posted by squasha at 7:28 AM on October 29, 2002


I like to imagine a conversation between two ad folks involved in creating the posters:

"How are we going to approach this? You know that there's a certain clinically paranoid segment of the population that believes that anything done ostensibly in the public interest is automatically an attempt to control them."

"Why would they think that? Why would any government oppress people just for the sake of oppressing them? What politician or corporate interest would benefit directly from video cameras on public buses?"

"See, that's one of the hallmarks of mental illness-- it isn't rational."

"It's irritating, regardless. You know, I just had an idea that will get the message out and really bother paranoids..."
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:54 AM on October 29, 2002


"You know that there's a certain clinically paranoid segment of the population that believes that anything done ostensibly in the public interest is automatically an attempt to control them."

Uh huh. How about, "You know that there's a certain logical fallacy called the straw man..."
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:31 AM on October 29, 2002


well, i've seen one of these adverts at a bus stop and paid no attention to it apart from the graphics. you have to look at it from the point of view of a vulnerable person getting on a bus or tube - they will feel a lot better if there are some police around. perhaps the ad is also attempting to put the shits up any criminals who see it. i don't really think is has anything directly to do with civil liberties. it's not like they're going after people for their political convictions.
on a slight tangent i saw an interesting program on tv last night detailing how members of the communist party were blacklisted from getting jobs in a ford factory in liverpool during the 70s.
posted by mokey at 9:47 AM on October 29, 2002


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