Open Culture posted these two films of Berlin, one from shortly after the Nazis came to power (the caption notes that there is footage from 1936 through 1939) and shortly after the allies took control of the German capital at the end of the war in Europe.
Here’s the “before” view:
Here’s the “after”:
I suspect I’ve posted the second video before, but I think it’s worth repeating.
Rick Falkvinge looks at an interesting appropriate pairing: the former German Democratic Republic’s Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (Stasi) and the American NSA:
If you were to compare the evil, reprehensible Stasi to the NSA side by side in a visual comparison, who’s the worse surveillance hawk? The people over at OpenDataCity have put together a nice visual guide with astonishing results. We tend to think of Stasi-scale surveillance as the epitome of evil surveillance, and have completely lost track of what today’s governments are doing to their people.
When you go to this page (in German), you are presented with a nice map that compares the size of the Stasi archives — a large building in Berlin — with the corresponding NSA archives. It’s clear that the NSA’s archives — if used with Stasi technology, for an apples-to-apples comparison — would be quite a bit larger:
Comparison of the Stasi and NSA archives. The Stasi archives were a building in Berlin, the NSA archives seem to be more like a couple of entire blocks.
Keep reading … it’s like a “powers of ten” exercise.
TechEye looks at the “gamification” of resistance against CCTV surveillance in Berlin:
A group of German activists has come up with an intriguing campaign to counter state surveillance — turning the destruction of CCTV cameras into a game.
Dubbed ‘Camover’, the aim of the game is simple: destroy as many CCTV cameras as possible.
Once your target is destroyed, you can upload a video of the act to YouTube for internet points and kudos. The rules say players should come up with a name starting with ‘command’, ‘brigade’, or ‘cell’, followed by the name of a historical figure, then destroying as many CCTV cameras as possible.
“Video your trail of destruction and post it on the game’s website,” the activists suggest, but warn that the homepage is continuously being shut down. It’s recommended that players conceal their identities, but this is “not essential”.