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Periscope is an app that makes it almost too easy to broadcast live videos from Android and IOS phones. I often use it when covering protests, it’s come in very useful when ethically challenged activists try to make up stories I’m doing anything but quietly filming. I’ve also used it to ask hard questions of Jane Fonda, 350.org leader Bill McKibben, and former Ontario Federation of Labour leader Sid Ryan.
One of the more interesting features of the app is how it alerts users about people’s first attempt broadcasting a livestream. Sometimes all you get is a fish tank, I used three teddy bears for mine. But other times it offers an interesting peek into the lives and work environments of the people who are trying it out. Then, of course, there are the “oh shit” moments where people accidentally learn the power of social media.
The RCMP’s Surrey BC Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit had one of those moments today, testing out Periscope from what appears to be their office. The short video features a young woman lounging on an office chair looking disinterested browsing her own mobile phone, quickly followed by a man realizing people are watching. It’s a curious seeming environment, not what one would expect at such an important law enforcement office.
So, I wrote to the CFSEU-BC to ask them for comment on the curiously informal working environment shown in the video. They responded by trying to spin/deflect my question by making it about the employee’s identity- it wasn’t, I was trying to understand if this video is indicative of the agency’s office environment. I tried again but they also threw back the same answer.
Their response made for a bit of a chuckle, saying that the video “has been removed from Twitter,” not realizing that it was still published on Periscope. It’s an interesting example of why organizations should be careful who they give control of social media to (before handing them a fully-loaded Periscope account)- and a curious view into the office of the people whose job it is to protect BC from organized crime.