A Letter to Emily Whitfield

22 June 2000

Dear Ms. Whitfield, Media Relations Director, American Civil Liberties Union:

Thank you for mentioning the Surveillance Camera Players (SCP) to Tom Nugent, author of the recently published piece entitled "Federally-Led Camera Project Aims to Cut Red Light Running, Crashes," which was published on 12 June 2000 by Fedbuzz.com. In addition to mentioning the existence of the SCP and the location of its Web site, Mr. Nugent quoted your remarks on the group. As they appear in Mr. Nugent's article, those remarks were as follows: "It's a really neat project. This is a group of people who go in front of surveillance cameras and put on little plays and things."

We are well aware that reporters sometimes do not accurately quote the people they interview, and that interviewees are sometimes stuck for words. We do not wish to be either ungrateful or over-critical. But these remarks -- especially the words "neat" and "little" -- really give the reader the wrong impression about the SCP.

Perhaps since you were not careful to point this out, Nugent's article does not say that the SCP is a protest group, i.e., that the only reason it puts on plays in front of surveillance cameras is because it is unconditionally opposed to the indiscriminate (and, to our mind, unconstitutional) use of these cameras in public places. Our plays, though short, are far from "little." We perform "heavy" material such as George Orwell's 1984 and Wilhelm Reich's The Mass Psychology of Fascism. We do not, in Nugent's words, "get a kick out of performing." We only get a "kick" from knowing that we are promoting discussion about a drastically under-discussed problem, which is nothing other than the steady erosion of the right to privacy.

Please continue to refer authors and reporters to the SCP, but, if you could, please keep our comments in mind when you do. Thank you very much.


The Surveillance Camera Players

New York City

Contact the Surveillance Camera Players

By e-mail SCP@notbored.org

By snail mail: SCP c/o NOT BORED! POB 1115, Stuyvesant Station, New York City 10009-9998

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