Smile! You’re On Camera.

The average American is caught on tape some 200 times a day, but for many of us the notion that we're being watched—at all times—has yet to sink in. That's what makes Adam Rifkin's acclaimed new film, "Look," so shocking. Shot entirely through the point of view of security cameras (and co-produced by Barry Schuler, the former head of AOL), the film is a glimpse into just how public our private lives have become. Its characters run the gamut: a high-school English teacher who has an affair with an underage student, a gas-station clerk who dreams of a music career, a department-store manager who uses his warehouse as a secret sex refuge. Yet all are connected by surveillance footage that, in the end, determines their destinies. Producer Schuler spoke with NEWSWEEK'S Jessica Bennett:

What inspired this film?
We're being captured on camera nearly 200 times a day, and those images are being digitized and archived forever. [Yet] nobody's stopping to ask questions about its propriety.

What should we be asking?
Is it OK to have surveillance in bathrooms and dressing rooms? And if it is, shouldn't there be some kind of disclosure? What is slander and liability in this new world?

What was the most shocking thing you learned about this?
In most states, you can walk into a department store and be recorded on video while you're undressing. Many of the monitors of those recordings are kids … They're using joysticks to follow around the hottest girls, zooming in on privates.

If surveillance is a breach of privacy, why is there support?
People see the lens, and I think it creates a sense of security. But I don't believe there's any real understanding of the power of this technology: how it can be archived and searched, and how loose the rules are for who can access it.

Do people need to be more careful about what they do online?
I think young people are seduced by the [idea] that everyone can have their minutes of fame. But they're also putting themselves out there—forever.

Join the Discussion