He’s back: Creepy Cameraman pushes the limits in new public surveillance video

Remember the anonymous guy who walks up to random people around the Seattle region and starts taking video of them without explanation? He’s back with a new compilation of his adventures — the fourth in a series and the first in more than six months. Watch it above.

cameraHe calls himself Surveillance Camera Man, but we prefer the name Creepy Cameraman because of the effect he has on his subjects.

However, in this latest video, he meets his match in the form of a woman who sets aside her initial exasperation, pushes back by asking the cameraman about himself, poking at him and grabbing his sunglasses. Ultimately she deals with the situation by inviting him to follow along with her and continue recording. It looks like he decided not to take her up on it. It’s a refreshing contrast to the violent responses he gets from others.

Another milestone in this new video: The guy who appears ready to throw a chair at him.

“Be sure to put it on YouTube!” yells another of his angry subjects at the end of the video.

The videos are an apparent commentary on the pervasiveness of public surveillance, which has taken on a whole new twist with the recording capabilities of Google’s Project Glass. The latest video also comes at a time of heightened concern over privacy in general, given the NSA data surveillance controversy.

Along those lines, one fascinating part of the videos is the insistence by many of the people that the Creepy Cameraman needs their permission to record them in public places.

One new twist is the “Surveillance Camera Man” branding at the end, suggesting he’s getting more serious about this project. The original videos in the series have also been updated to include this branding. I’ve sent a message to Surveillance Camera Man via YouTube to see if he wants to talk. If anyone out there has been approached by him with his camera, or knows who he is, drop me a note at todd@geekwire.com.

Here’s one of the earlier videos, as well, including a heated encounter with a man talking on a phone at what appears to be Seattle’s University Village.

  • Guest

    Homeboy making these videos should try doing this in a town like Bakersfield or Reno instead of Seattle.

    He’d last about three minutes before he’d get an aluminum baseball bat to the face.

    • Nuyen06

      I am from tough place. If you were in tough place you’d see how tough tough place is.

    • http://www.kertongroup.com Derek Kerton

      Why aluminum? What are the particular beating advantages of aluminum over wood?

      • KingCaster

        The percussive sound I think will resonate at a lower pitch.

    • wmac

      Do you people hit the surveillance cameras too? Or you do not realize that they are doing exactly the same thing?

  • drewwalton19216801

    This guy’s got some serious balls. Pretty good way to get yourself shot if you’re filming the wrong person.

  • guest

    Isn’t he working for Google?

  • George Babbitt

    These videos are garbage.

    • wmac

      Oh, is it? Or perhaps your mind cannot take the irony?

      he wants to show that people do not react to huge invasions in the name of surveillance and things like Google glass but they become angry if someone does it with honesty!

      • George Babbitt

        That would be the case if this person explained the joke that they are playing on the unsuspecting subjects of these videos, seemingly with no advocacy being done, only obnoxious levels of ‘street art’ from the perspective of these people.

        • gseattle

          The people behind the many cameras in our world do not say a word, perhaps that’s his point.

          • George Babbitt

            And how do any of the people that he terrorized know that? All they know is that there is this creeper up in their grill, who may at any moment do something awful to them for the sake of being a viral video hit of somebody getting ‘x’ done to them all for the sadistic lulz.

        • http://www.kertongroup.com Derek Kerton

          The explanation, or the art of it, isn’t for those filmed, it’s for those viewing the video.

          He should explain? What justification do closed-circuit surveillance cameras offer? How do they explain the role they are playing on unsuspecting subjects? Nothing, right? So neither should he.

          Agreed that he’s a dick.

          • George Babbitt

            “Agreed that he’s a dick.”

            This is my point. Comparing him to a CCTV set up by a corporation or government entity is unequal. Those cameras aren’t up in people’s personal space with the potential(at least in the minds of his subjects)for physical violence.

          • http://www.kertongroup.com Derek Kerton

            But the point is that the gov’t agencies and the corporations filming public spaces are ALSO dicks.

          • George Babbitt

            That’s a given.

      • KingCaster

        Oh I get it. However this guy would do better to be working surveillance on the government — as I do — instead of private people. You come around me with a camera I’ll get mine out and we’ll have a nice little tete a tete bro. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbEBtAF7WJg

      • Ken M. Trollerson

        If this was all about civil liberties and pointing out the invasion of privacy of public surveillance cameras, then why are the majority of his…targets…homeless people sleeping on benches, digging through garbage cans, offering to “party” with him for $10, etc. You may really want this to be some clever political stunt, but it’s not. It’s a creepy dude with sociopathic tendencies harassing mostly homeless people.

        • Spokker

          Homeless people harass us all the time.

  • Gues

    Although legal to take video of people in public, they are breaking Google’s YouTube policy. Sooooo, everyone should just flag the video for a violation and have Google take them down and ban the user. Tada!

    • guest

      Kinda hilarious that Google of all people has a policy on privacy violation. Didn’t stop them from illegally collecting all that personal data via Street View, huh? Anyway, if you read the YouTube policy this would only qualify if you interpret it as harassment or invading their privacy. Technically it’s neither; they’re in a public place and he isn’t threatening them in any way. I guess if you want to get pedantic you could look for copyright logos that are shown and therefore infringed, but that would be pretty petty.

      • stevec77

        Yea. Extraordinary irony.

      • http://www.cognation.net/ deancollins

        lol the irony of people having an issue about this but no one is rioting in the streets over prism……..

      • Guest

        .

      • http://www.kertongroup.com Derek Kerton

        You’re right about the Google irony here, but wrong about “collecting all that personal data via Street View”.

        Google just picked up a bunch of meaningless wifi bits as they drove mapping access point MAC IDs. The location of WiFi access point MAC IDs are useful for doing positioning determination of Android devices and are not personal info.

        If you think you’re right about this, please be specific about what “all that personal data” you mean and drop a citation or link.

    • wmac

      You don’t get the whole thing, do you?

      Google is going to do exactly the same thing with google glasses in global scale.

      • Guest

        It is completely untrue that “google [sic] glasses [sic]” will upload live video of strangers “in [sic] global scale.” Psychopaths will upload live video so as to harass strangers, as they do today using iPhone and Android. Google will behave, as it always does, as a responsible citizen and create products to enhance our reality through consensual application of technological services.

        You will now apologize to Google for besmirching their products, to the man to whom you replied for insulting his cognition, and to me for wasting my time. You will then delete your hateful, ignorant, fearmongering comment.

        • wmac

          Haha! Google, Responsible, Privacy!!

          But seriously, the whole concept of internet is shaken due to the huge and continuous internet users spying scandals.

        • Hey Google shill

          responsible? consensual?

          Does being ordered to delete the private data they illegally obtained sound like either? How about the book search settlement? Android patent violations?

        • Max O.

          Gosh, Guest. You sound like you think you’re in charge. Did you forget to log in or something?

        • Sadman

          Can’t believe people don’t get the irony of your comments. So sad…..

      • http://www.kertongroup.com Derek Kerton

        Google Glass won’t do “exactly the same thing”, unless the wearer of Glass invades people’s private space, refuses to explain or go away, returns again, and from close range aims their head repeatedly at people snoozing on benches.

        There are differences between:

        - being filmed
        - being unwittingly filmed
        - being filmed within earshot
        - being annoyingly filmed
        - being persistently filmed

        Glass may do the top three, but the Creepy Cameraman specializes in the bottom three.

  • LarryB

    Isn’t U-Village private property? Just find a security guard and get Mr. Video ejected. That said, I’m sure that Mr. Cellphone was on at least one U-Village security camera at the time.

    On the street? Walk into a store.

    Legal socially acceptable.

    • Non of your business

      Except because there was audio of him talking on the phone it can be considered wiretapping in the state of Washington, a felony.

  • tokencode

    Wow the people commenting here are clueless… This is to show you that things like project Glass and ubiquitous filming are a huge invasion of privacy. Don’t like what this guy is doing? Write your congressman and get the laws changed because it is completely legal currently. This will happen ALL of the time to EVERYONE and you won’t even know it.

    • 23t2r

      Uh, private businesses can refuse service to anybody at anytime. Bars have already banned people from using Google Glass.

      And if somebody is harassing you with Google Glass, punch the shit out of them and smash their fancy toy and teach them a lesson.

      • guest

        Punching them would be assault.

        • lipstadt

          And just the larceny of a $1500 item is a felony (in NY), but with (even the threat of) force, it’s a robbery charge.

        • Puce Buzzard

          Not necessarily. If he was on private property, told to leave, and kept coming back.. then they could use force to make him leave… (at least it is here)

          Not so on public property… he can get a way with filming anything… but as soon has he enters private businesses, rooms, etc… he has little recourse to being removed with force.

  • wmac

    When the google glass becomes popular the whole lives of people will be filmed (in addition to state cameras doing surveillance of people’s lives).

    So either do something or prepare yourself to be filmed all the time.

    • http://www.kertongroup.com Derek Kerton

      I suggest a new hairdo, and a little powder to take down the glare.

  • JustJPs

    “oh it’s fine, it’s just a video” LOL!

  • Guest

    This is funny on some many levels. Not just the statement on the pervasiveness of surveillance and our odd and often contradictory feelings about that, but the other irony as well. For example I love the guy in the outdoor seating at a public coffee shop claiming his “private conversation” is being disrespected and it’s offensive. The same asshat probably thinks nothing about talking away on speakerphone at full volume while I’m with a friend at the next table trying to have an enjoyable chat over a java.

    • wmac

      He hasn’t heard about NSF, NSA, GCHQ, … phone snooping.

      He still thinks phone calls are private.

  • Fred

    I think people would be just as upset if someone stood three feet away and stared at them.

  • Guest

    This is upsetting. We trust Google to be a good steward of our data, and they have been just that. We do not trust this man, who won’t even tell us his real name (against the policies of well-behaved socnets like Goo and Face), to behave so rationally.

    Furthermore, Goo, Face, Ap, and other companies which aggregate our data provide valuable services in return for it. This man is aggregating video for the sole purpose of harassing men who threaten his life.

    Shame on this man for endangering himself and those around him. Shame on GeekWire for amplifying his putrid productions.

    • wmac

      Oh boy… How upsetting!!! I am now crying on my salad…

      But seriously, you have been ^%$ sleep in recent few weeks? You never heard about Prism, Blarney, Take-It-All, Fairview and all those spying schemes the spying agencies have been using?

      Go put your head under sand , and hope your a$$ will be taken care off.

      • Guest

        You can say “fuck,” “shit,” and “ass” here. We’re all adults.

        And to answer your question, Goo takes better care of me than the gov does. They even refused the NSA inquiry about me.

    • Wake Up

      Google is an advertising company. Their customers are advertisers. You’re the product being sold. They’re a retailer of your data, not a steward.

      • http://www.kertongroup.com Derek Kerton

        Picture a win-win-win situation. Google does.

        I accept that you are correct. Google sells ME to advertisers. Google wins, the advertiser wins. Now, isn’t it possible that I also win? Think of the ways that this could happen…Google does. How about if Google offers me enough value (free of charge) that it easily exceeds the cost to me of sharing the personal information. Then, Wake Up, you’d have a win win win.

        Google gives me the search results I want, the navigation I need, the voice input that makes me safer. They give me entertaining and enlightening video hosting. They give me free email. Free office document word processing. Free online storage. Free photo management. They give me a free mobile OS. If Google is selling data to advertisers, I’m definitely getting something in return. Lots, in fact. Actually, I PREFER Google because I feel like advertising is less intrusive in their services than in most others.

        Why do you assume that there MUST be a loser in the deal? Why do you assume that Google users are dupes? Nobody with half a brain thinks that Google isn’t in it for their own profit, yet we willingly enter their three way deal because we estimate that we come out ahead.

        If you estimate that you don’t come out ahead in the deal, don’t use Google, or use their opt-out privacy tools. Try opting out of NSA’s Prism so easily!!

  • http://josephsunga.com/ Joseph Sunga

    Did he really just walk into someone’s home?

  • Guest

    YouTube has taken the video down, but you can still find it here: http://surveillancecameraman.com. Looks like he’s setup his own site. According to whois, the domain was registered anonymously via DomainsByProxy.com just yesterday.

  • dsculpin

    Kind of creepy to think god is watching everything you do – even your most intiment moments – yet no one seems outraged.

    • http://www.kertongroup.com Derek Kerton

      I opted out.

      • dsculpin

        A wise decision.

  • 43r23r

    This guy is a fucking loser. This has nothing to do with spreading awareness about “CCTV surveillance”. He’s just being an ignorant troll who refuses to engage the people he meets. How do you expect the people to act when this guy refuses to actually have a conversation or when he does, he says irrational things that have nothing to do with what the person asked? How does he expect people to react when he trespasses then stands there not responding to questions?

    Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll get a bullet to the head then somebody will steal his video camera and post the video, then we’ll have something worth watching.

  • Drew

    I think he shows what you get when there is stuff missing from the law about privacy and modern tools like film and recording. People are being filmed on an incredibly large scale and they don’t care. However this time there is a person behind the camera following them.

  • adracamas

    Youtube took one down. This guy has a valid point though.. you can’t go anywhere without being watched with a camera. No one seems to care unless someone is holding it. Maybe because no one seems to know who to complain to ABOUT all the cameras everywhere.

    • http://www.kertongroup.com Derek Kerton

      Interesting points. But is it the camera, or the invasion of personal space? I mean, if he were JUST staring, and didn’t even have a camera, wouldn’t he get a very similar response? If he just stood stationary at a corner, and filmed people as a CCTV does, they probably would not react like that.

      I’d like to see him experiment with:

      - do the same thing without a camera

      - stand in a public place with the camera, and film without moving. Only film people that arrived after you.

      I’d bet that in A, people react angrily, and in B, they react much less.

  • Michael Montgomery

    Trying to commit suicide via camera. Smooth man.

  • Guest

    Someone should film this guy while he’s filming someone else, just so he knows how it feels.
    And as for his point that it’s “legal”, why doesn’t he try filming a police officer on the street? Perfectly “legal”, right?

    • Derptard

      it is legal actually.

      • Guest

        You are correct in that there is no law that specifically prohibits this. However, just because something is legal does not mean that it is acceptable. If this guy were to film a police officer (which he won’t), the police officer would ask him to stop doing so and he would, even though there are no grounds for an arrest.

        On the other hand, I don’t know if there is a law on the books specifically against him filming outside a bank on a public street. However, if someone were to do this, police could suspect that he were casing the joint to commit robbery at some point in the future. Maybe there is or there isn’t a law on filming banks, but doing the exact same thing he’s doing now would land him in serious trouble in that situation.

  • Chris

    That fat woman who was poking at him was the rudest most annoying of them all imo and the writer here actually likes that one? Wow, such different opinions.

  • R P

    I hope someone beats him severely.

  • PhotoMan1000

    I’ve done a lot of street photography and quite honestly even Detroit has more friendly people in it than Seattle. So it doesn’t really surprise me how people are reacting to him. I also wonder how many people he videotapes don’t care. He doesn’t show many of them. It’s obviously more entertaining and more marketable to piss somebody off and show it to the world.

  • KingCaster

    This guy would do better to be working surveillance on the government — as I do — instead of private people. You come around me with a camera I’ll get mine out and we’ll have a nice little tete a tete bro. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbEBtAF7WJg