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|“||I'm just taking a video||”|
―Surveillance Camera Man
SurveillantCameraMan, more popularly known as the Surveillance Camera Man or SCM, is an anonymous YouTube user who posts videos of himself filming people in public without their permission. He's also known for his catchphrases 'I'm just taking a video', 'You seem confused', and 'You calm down!'. There is much debate and criticism on if his activities are legal.
Surveillance Camera Man joined YouTube on May 22, 2013 and uploaded 2 videos of himself filming people without their permission, the first on the University of Washington's campus, the other on the streets of Seattle. He has since uploaded more videos since then, with very long intervals of time between each upload. Every description of SCM's videos include the statement Surveillance Camera Man does not have a Facebook, website, or other YouTube channels. Nevermind the imposters.' Because of this, his identity remains unclear.
In 2014, Surveillance Camera Man's videos were removed from his channel, due to YouTube threatening to delete the channel. All of his videos were uploaded to a Liveleak account run by him, which he uses as a backup in case his videos are removed. A video containing all SCM videos were uploaded to the channel on July 27, 2015. He clarified in the description of the video that the channel was now in "good standing" and he can continue to upload on the channel once more. He also said:
"To anyone asking when new videos are coming out: I don't know. Maybe soon. Maybe never. SCM has never planned. Enjoy what you have."
Surveillance Camera Man's videos contain him going up to strangers on the streets of Seattle, Washington and filming them without their consent. The people he films normally get very angry with him and normally call the police.
Most of his videos include him going into supposedly illegal Asian Mahjong gambling houses and filming the people inside, who normally immediately kick him out. He has also walked into fast food restaurant kitchens without permission and filmed the employees working there, who usually call the police or kick him out.
Some people in SCM's videos have actually been very nice to him, including two Mormon missionaries who tried to teach him about Jesus and a woman who enjoyed being filmed, but ended up asking him if he wanted to 'party' with her back at her house, which he kindly declined.
SCM has also filmed people showing some questionable behavior, including one man who appeared to be checking the locks on the window to a house, possibly to break in. Upon seeing SCM, he demanded he erase the footage while approaching him in a threatening manner, before reaching into his waistband to presumably pull out a knife or handgun, and began chasing SCM. He was able to escape by hiding behind a car. Another unusual person was a woman rambling on about random topics while walking down a dark and completely empty street at night. It is heavily speculated that she was under the influence of drugs, possibly methamphetamine or crack-cocaine.
SCM frequently entered Seattle's Church of Scientology Center. People working the door normally kick him out. In one instance, SCM continued to enter after being kicked out, asking if he could take pictures, record audio, draw pictures, or write something inside the center. When they refused to allow him to enter, he continued to irk the Scientologists, calling them mean and asking "Why would I wanna join your cult if you guy's aren't nice?" A man suddenly came and angrily forced SCM out.
As irate as people get in SCM's videos, he usually remains calm and kind to people, even when they threaten to assault him. SCM only speaks when spoken to. When people question his actions, he responds that he's "just taking a video." When asked why, he simply responds "Why not?" When people continue to question SCM further, he tells them that they "seem confused". Sometimes though, SCM remains silent when people ask him why he is filming them, most likely to irritate them or intentionally confuse them.
Criticism & Legality
There has been much criticism against Surveillance Camera Man for the contents of his videos. Most people criticize him for invading people's privacy or generally being rude to the public. Many people have speculated that SCM is trying to make a statement about CCTV and security cameras, and how people allow CCTV operators to film them without consent, but not a complete stranger. He frequently points this out to people in his videos, primarily ones exiting stores, stating that if they feel comfortable letting security cameras in the store record them, they should feel comfortable letting a complete stranger record them.
There has also been much debate on whether or not SCM's actions are legal. Most people say that what he is doing is invasion of privacy, stalking or disturbing the public. Despite the constant argument that what he is doing is illegal, it is not against the law to film people in public without consent in the United States. Because of this, SCM cannot legally be arrested for filming people. He even points this out a few times in his videos, telling people that he can film them in public when someone claims that what he's doing is illegal. The only thing SCM is doing in his videos that could be considered illegal is harassment, mainly when people ask SCM to leave/quit filming them, but he continues.
Future of Surveillance Camera Man
At some point in 2014, every video on SCM's channel was deleted. He soon uploaded a video explaining that YouTube had threatened to delete the channel (currently for unknown reasons). Many speculated that YouTube did not appreciate the content SCM was providing, or that it had something to do with Scientology. After SCM's videos were removed from YouTube, he uploaded every SCM video to Liveleak and Dailymotion, which he uses as backups. He uploaded a video to his channel containing every SCM video (except for the segment containing the song), revealing that the channel was in 'good standing' with YouTube. He also revealed that he may or may not continue uploading to the channel, stating "appreciate what you have". SCM has not uploaded a video since, and many have concluded that he has no intention of continuing.