We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Subversives apply here

The BigBrotherWatch campaign has a rather neat idea for a networked protest against the bully state, designed to encourage people to notice how much of it has insinuated itself into everyday life.


You put a standard sticker on some physical evidence of intrusion, threat, surveillance, overregulation, nannying… by or authorised by, an official body. You photograph it. You send in the photograph to them and/or publish it by other means… and that’s it. There’s a running competition for the best pics.

It is a smart use of the networked world to do something that is not quite the direct action loved by old-fashioned activists, but more directive action, to get the public’s attention on the world around us and how needlessly oppressive it has become. And it is a game, too.

Alex Deane of BBW tells me he has already had hundreds of requests for stickers, and some very serious and respectable think-tankies appeared to be taking them at a meeting I attended last night.

I wonder whether anyone will manage to tag an FIT unit?

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7 comments to Subversives apply here

  • Laird

    Interesting project; I like the idea. I don’t think we need an organization like this in the US yet, but we’re certainly heading in that direction. It will be interesting to see if this has any effect.

    Slightly O/T, there is an article on the BBW website entitled “It Could be Worse – You Could be in Australia“. I had gotten the general impression from the Commentariat here that things were somewhat better Down Under than in England. Is that wrong?

  • Kim du Toit

    Yeah, if you’re not going to necklace the things with burning tyres, then a sticker is about the next-best way to go — educate people as to how pervasive the snoopery has become.

  • I guess you don’t know about Captain Gatso then eh, Kim?

  • cjf

    FUT? “Intelligence Community” is a contradiction in terms. People amaze me. If everyone knows about some “secret police” what’s so secret about it?

    Odd thought, if cams are all around us, how do we really know who uses them? Some small tag or sign?
    Must be true, it’s in print?

    You’ll know you’ve “arrived” when you get a police citation for blocking the view of two cams watching one- another..

  • it’s a very good idea, but they really should have thought harder about the initials, considering some of the other connotations of “BBW”…

  • guy herbert


    It is my abbreviation, not theirs, but it is pretty much impossible to use language and letters without creating doubles entendres. The UK was very pleased with itself in the early 70s when the then nationalised telephone service had succeeded in giving all its customers STD… Subscriber Trunk Dialling. IF you are amused by that sort of thing, then see here(Link), and the interweb, passim.


    The human-rights community and the data-protection community get very excited about putting notices on CCTV cameras to tell you who is operating them, so that you can write letters to the operator and to the regulator, formally to exercise formal prescriptive rights. They call this “transparency”.

    From time to time I get into a lot of trouble with my allies because I express skepticism of the value of prescriptive rights, regulation or transparency. In fact am inclined to think (though there may be tactical advantage in their reception in law) human rights are an ornamental distraction from the pursuit of liberty, Gucci belts for those who think buying trousers is disgusting.

    One of the reasons we are in such a terrible mess in the UK is that those on the left who used to care about personal liberty became utterly infatuated with the legalism, having been given the Human Rights Act as a pretty distraction, and now spend all their time defending its importance.