Shuttercam 2021, Netherlands, Amsterdam

Empowering citizens to block camera lenses; exploring digital rights in public space

What if, just like laptop shutters many people have placed over their webcam, camera shutters would be placed over cameras in the city? Would people like to live in a city where all city cameras clearly show or state when they are not recording?

The Shuttercam project explores how cameras in public space can contribute to a ‘responsible’ smart city by integrating social values such as autonomy, privacy and transparency in the design of cameras. It originated based on the notion that citizens do not know if and when cameras in public space are monitoring or not. It also questions the necessity for many non-security related cameras in the city to be switched on indefinitely. By placing shutters over cameras in public space the Shuttercam project experiment with ways for the public to engage with them. The ultimate goal is to design cameras that gather necessary data for the city to operate, without losing the right of citizens to walk around freely and unobserved. Shuttercam is a project by the Responsible Sensing Lab, a collaboration between AMS Institute and the City of Amsterdam. The Responsible Sensing Lab explores how to integrate social values in the design of sensing systems in public space. The goal is to find out how smart technologies placed in public space can be designed in a way that makes the digital city ‘responsible’. With the Shuttercam project, the Lab is researching video surveillance and how it is related to digital rights of the public.


Team members : Thijs, Coen, Anouk, Tom, Markus & Sjoerd

Project leader(s) : Thijs Turèl

Company : Responsible Sensing Lab - City of Amsterdam & AMS Institute

Partners : Tapp, Life Electronic



AMS Institute

AMS Institute

Tapp, Life Electronic

Tapp, Life Electronic