“Axes, ropes and pitchforks are all encouraged”
The rules of Camover are simple: mobilise a crew and think of a name that starts with “command”, “brigade” or “cell”, followed by the moniker of a historical figure (Van der Lubbe, a Dutch bricklayer convicted of setting fire to the Reichstag in 1933, is one name being used). Then destroy as many CCTV cameras as you can. Concealing your identity, while not essential, is recommended. Finally, video your trail of destruction and post it on the game’s website – although even keeping track of the homepage can be a challenge in itself, as it is continually being shut down.
The use of surveillance cameras has become a thorny political issue in Germany. Inadequate CCTV footage was highlighted in the investigation of a bomb scare in Bonn last December (“Germans consider Brit-style CCTV,” shouted Der Spiegel). This, along with the brutal killing of a man in Berlin’s busy Alexanderplatz square in October 2012 spurred the interior minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, to call for “efficient video surveillance and video recording in public areas”.
For those who oppose CCTV, petitions and letters only go so far in the German capital. A group of 40 protesters walked the streets of Berlin for 1984 Action Day (protests against CCTV cameras and other surveillance, named after the novel by George Orwell) in June and pressure group Control Berlin has screened short films documenting CCTV’s rise. But Camover’s direct-action approach revolves around a small but committed group who call themselves “workless people – we are shoplifters, graffiti sprayers, homeless and squatters”. They claim to have snuffed out as many as 50 cameras since the game began a few weeks ago.