A couple of years ago the Telectroscope was the steampunk art conceit of a "tunnel under the atlantic", a webcam link from London to New York presented as two pseudo-Victorian telescopes connecting Tower Bridge to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was clever and funny but at the time I wondered whether it might be more useful and interesting to connect two other cities by webcam; say London and Kabul, or New York and Brazzaville. It's pleasant and whimsical for smiling New Yorkers to be able to wave at equally smiling Londoners but perhaps more socially useful for Londoners going about their carefree day to day to see in realtime the lives of people directly affected by their government spending billions of pounds of public money fighting an unwinnable war a couple of thousand miles away.
Of course, no-one would pay for such a thing and governments would never allow voters to see the horrors their money is being wasted on. Happily though, according to Adverlab, Russian hackers have managed to hijack a giant video billboard by the Kremlin and put porn on it (yes, porn, so this link to it is NSFW. It's also in Russian). Good work guys. Next stage - the giant video billboards in Picadilly Circus and Times Square linked up to webcams from cities suffering the fall-out from The War Against Terror? Let's see what day to day life outside the Emerald City is like and how much good we've done.