Mentioning video surveillance, a sticker on the T2 tram line in Paris refers to it as “video protection”. Considering the dubious efficiency of video surveillance for crime deterrence in unpatrolled spaces, I think we have a beautiful specimen of pristine security bullshit with bonus points for creative use of newspeak. While thinking about it I could almost hear a friendly security agent tell me “please sir, it is for your own safety”. I hope it is the last time I read “video protection” as a way to muddle the negative connotations of video surveillance under a layer of weasel fur, but I guess not.

And while I am at it, let it be known that I am not against video surveillance. I am against the incoherent, inefficient and  expensive dogmatic use of video surveillance for political purposes by flattering popular paranoia with a warm and fuzzy pixie dusted security blanket. Video surveillance is a mildly dissuasive technological extension of patrol work that requires real time attention and human resources for reaction and investigation – like all fortifications it is useless if it is not sufficiently manned. And like all tools it is more than useless if acquired for no profitable purpose other than furthering the personal ambitions of political leaders.