Virtual Reality Tool Helps People Spot Surveillance Devices in Their Community

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) launched a virtual reality experience, ‘Spot the Surveillance’, on its website to teach people how to spot the surveillance technologies police are using to spy on their community.

“We are living in an age of surveillance, where hard-to-spot cameras capture our faces and our license plates, drones in the sky videotape our streets, and police carry mobile biometric devices to scan people’s fingerprints,” said EFF Senior Investigative Researcher Dave Maass. “We made our ‘Spot the Surveillance’ VR tool to help people recognize these spying technologies around them and understand what their capabilities are.”

The experience immerses you in a 360-degree street scene in San Francisco as a young resident is in an encounter with police. It challenges the user to identify surveillance tools around the scene.

Surveillance technologies featured in the scene are a body-worn camera, automated license plate readers, a drone, a mobile biometric device, and pan-tilt-zoom cameras. The project draws from years of research gathered by EFF for its Street-Level Surveillance project.

The ‘Spot the Surveillance’ VR experience can be found at

EFF seeks user feedback and bug reports that will be included in an updated version scheduled for release in Spring 2019.



Photo: “Caméra de surveillance” by Tristan Nitot is licensed under CC BY 2.0