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Calling all deviants down under!

iStock_000017522162SmallBored with playing the lottery? Like watching strangers on CCTV? We have found the perfect website for you. There is now a website that allows you to monitor CCTV footage.

The expansion of the website to the Australian ‘market’ means that internet users 12,000 miles away can access the footage from 200 cameras in the UK. The ‘service’, offered by Cornwall based company Internet Eyes,  has around 8,000 subscribers who pay £1.99 a month or £15.00 for a year, allowing them to watch 10 minutes of footage at a time and to make five alerts a month when they believe they have spotted a crime. One stipulation of the subscription is that users are unable to monitor footage from cameras within 30 miles of their own location.. Prizes are offered of up to £250 a month for people who successfully detect shoplifting or other crimes taking place.

The website is a sad indictment of how out of control the British obsession with CCTV has become. Also, given the fact that users don’t know where the camera they are watching is located, it’s also impossible for them to raise an alarm with the police.

Clearly, this is sort of website is a deviant’s dream, giving armchair snoopers the ability to sit and watch CCTV footage from across the country at their leisure. The people watching these cameras have no training, no legal oversight and have to pay to use the service. We should be asking ourselves what kind of person volunteers to spend their time watching CCTV cameras in shops they have no connection with in the vague hope of winning a prize? It’s a pointless and perverted system that puts privacy at risk and it is baffling as to whether it is even legal.

Posted on by Emma Carr Posted in CCTV, Data Protection, Technology

51 Responses to Calling all deviants down under!

  1. Gt4Pete
  2. Shodan71

    I remember reading the Judge Dredd strip in ’2000AD’ years ago. The Justice Department used paid snoopers to spy on their fellow citizens.

    And Judge Dredd was meant to be set after 2100…

  3. anon

    Surely this cannot be legal? CCTV is always promoted in shops and public places as something that is there for our security and safety (and if you believe that ….) but this use is nothing to do with the legal uses of CCTV. Only when this obsession of treating ordinary folks like criminals will other crazy stuff stop too.

  4. firebird

    Is there any way to find out which stores are using this *service* so we can boycott them?

    • Markus Fatbelly Jones

      Yes, they have a big sign at the door, saying this shop is watched by InternetEyes. If you see that sign, don’t go in but go somewhere else, where you can shop all in “private” and are watched only by the shop lifters, who might steel something out of your pocket without being caught…

    • martyn

      Stick with the national chains !! Asda, Sainsbury, Tesco, Morrisons , Boots etc etc Internet eyes will never get into those , unfortunately you may be followed by security staff on CCTV though !!

      • Enthiran

        Oh shame on u martyn

        • martyn

          Apologies but I believe that the Chain stores run by a Head office will not have IE’s in their stores .. Thats my opinion !!

          • ray

            You are correct Martyn ! The supermarket giants and large retail chains will not have Internet eyes in there stores . The Head offices will never approve it , neither will the insurance companies they use ! They have contracted security approved by The SIA in their stores. Fully trained and heavily vetted ! Firebird ! if you wish to avoid stores that use internet eyes then as martyn says ( Go to stores such as Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury or Morrison and Coop

  5. Mark

    Regarding whether it is legal, you have to ask: is the information being processed for the purpose for which it was collected? One can argue yes, both by the CCTV owners (the shops), and later by Internet Eyes. The viewers are simply being engaged as freelancers, I suppose. However, demonstrating appropriate safeguards might be harder. For example, are there technical limitations in place to prevent unauthorised retention of video footage?

    I’m also concerned it might be a con, or simply not work. When you read the last question of their FAQ on how their “rewards” are distributed – bearing in mind it depends on the CCTV owners “rating” the submitted alerts, I worry one might reach a point of diminishing returns, where the ‘early adopters’ are rewarded at first, but then later cannot find any new crimes, and the latecomers never being able to gain a big enough score to surpass the earlier ones. The CCTV holders also have to pay to submit their CCTV, as well as the viewers paying to watch it; I just wonder if it’s all an elaborate moneymaker. (Or is that just me be cynical?)

    I’d love to see a proper technical description of how their business operates and their justification in/compliance with law, rather than an aesthetically-pleasing website that doesn’t tell me a lot.


    Peter: surely they don’t need CRB checks, because they get vetted, just like the Army, Navy, etc. It draws on the same information sources as CRB checks, AND a lot more. If I were you, I wouldn’t send that petition; you might just get egg on your face! ;-)

    • martyn

      You raise some vey good points !! The only thing that worries me is the viewers keep referring to people who place an item in a bag as a shoplifter !! The untrained viewers need to realise that in 10 mins on 1 static camera , they do not have full continuity , they do not know if that person gets the item out of the bag and pays for it ! they may well get the positive reward from the store but nobody is told if that person paid or not !! It’s a good idea but it’s not quite there !! yes I was a viewer for a couple of years and I earned a bit of pocket money ! however being a full time CCTV operative it seems I know more about the law and data protection than the directors of Internet eyes do ! Ps with regard to vetting > I believe its just the email sent and click the link verification to confirm your email is correct it’s not in anyway full person vetting of any type.

      • ray

        Exactly !!! No continuity ! all those people that are alerted , how many are actually detained , convicted or even guilty of anything ? At least in stores with trained security staff there is an end result ! Not just a few points on the score board.

        • daniel

          Yes Ray ! the viewers are ill informed of who they alert and if there is an outcome ! they get paid less than £2 an hour if they work out the hours they spend on it compared to their reward and they have yet to realise that they are more of a bore than a help when they alert things that are only seen as a reward more than a help to reducing retail crime, hundreds of alerts in a few shops a month, really !!! those shops would be shut and out of business if they were all genuine theft alrts .. Retail theft is on the increase but not in the hundreds of alerts per shop that are alerted in internet eyes ..Who is actually caught ? 1 or 2 that they know of .

          • guest

            Daniel we are very careful what we alert as if it is a false alert we get penalized and points taken off us also that alert facility is taken off us and not given back until the following month.we are allowed 5 alerts a month so if we do 5 false alerts we have to wait until the following month before we can alert again

          • daniel

            Your post has no meaning to mine. I didnt ask if you were careful. I said that all these hundreds of alerts that are apparently sent every month … the shops dont have that much crime. Its purely alerts being sent in the hope that you actually get paid ….

          • guest

            Daniel we cannot send hundreds of alerts we only get allocated 5 alerts a month these only get replaced if you make a genuine alert.if you make foolish alerts the ability to make alerts is taken away for the whole of that month.

          • daniel

            You really are not getting my point GUEST !!! > I am saying that there must be hundreds of alerts sent every month ( are you with me ) ? > Out of those hundreds of alerts sent every month, How many are actual shoplifters that have been caught for theft ! .. I am not talking about you , i’m talking about all your viewers !!!! every month ! How many are caught , there must be hundreds of alerts ! you surely dont just send 20 a month between all of you , Do You ???? My point is you have limited amount of shops , you send hundreds of alerts a month ( between all of you ) There cannot be hundreds of thefts and convicted shoplifters in a few shops that you watch every month ! IMPOSSIBLE !

          • martyn

            Daniel you are quite correct ! There are hundreds of alerts sent every month, Internet eyes post the videos of so say caught shop lifters on you tube, although nobody knows if thats a fact, they usually post 1 or 2 a month out of the hundreds of alerts that are sent ! viewers of internet eyes don’t realise they are on a very minimum wage. they haven’t worked out the hours they view to the money they receive, they don’t actually know the law and they don’t realise that internet eyes are asked by stores to mark scores as the shops can’t handle all the alerts they receive ,,,,,, so in a sense internet eyes control the game they play. So glad I got out of it..!

          • martyn

            And the funny thing is !! internet eyes posted this link on there facebook page , saying > have your say as a viewer !! I did !!

          • martyn

            Ps > I bet Big Brother watch love this ! a fight from an ex viewer telling viewers how it is ! love to get a response from Internet eyes ! backing them up for years , telling them about new business , but suddenly realised that the money making machine was not about reducing crime , just increasing profit and expanding ! you will never get into head office controlled chain stores ! .

      • Barbara morrow

        Yes As Arul said shame on you martyn.You were very happy to be part of IE for years.What has changed .?

        • martyn

          Yes I was a viewer Barbara for 2 years and made a bit of money ! and what do you mean shame on me ? Firebird has asked how to avoid stores with IE’s in and I have told him ! What changed ? the new leaderboard is promoting word of mouth for the new viewers now at the top > probably all in Australia ! > The constant lack of anyone knowing if anyone is actually caught ( a positive does not tell you that ) IE’s have admitted to marking alerts constantly ! you can’t watch in your own postcode area ( so they say ) but if you live on the boundry of it ! the store across the road may have it installed but will be in a different postcode.. Plenty more but Barbara you should really not argue with me on a website that wants to see the end of IE’s esp as you said you would never comment on their open facebook page again after revealing that the refresh button was back ( your silence didn’t last long ) as for the open facebook page you and others seem to take great delight in admitting you have alerted someone ( who can see your comments ) and for all we know took the items out of their bag / pockets and paid for the item !! Barbara STOP thinking you work for IE’s and look at the other side of the story ! I am not a BB Watch supporter but i’m more than happy to state facts > you keep watching and pressing the button !

          • Barbara Morrow

            you are right martyn I should not give you more grist for your mill.Its funny though .Arul was praising you to the sky the other night .Saying you have always helped him enormously..

          • martyn

            I did clean up aruls store for him enormously , all those regular customers that he had that were ripping him off !! I have no gripe with arul and i’m sure he does not want to be talked about on here ! Internet eyes is a good idea but its not regulated , they do as they please and they sail close to the edge in the way of data protection , vetting etc etc .. even you have had numerous conversations with me complaining about them. I suggest you remain quiet now before I start to copy n paste some of your comments from the past that you seem to have forgotten sending to me , esp about fellow members that you now seem to be best friends with .. shall we leave it there : ) maybe you should message me and not air your problems with me on here .

  6. Pingback: Bizarre new chapter in CCTV | Freedomwatch

  7. Ann

    We don’t even know which stores we watch firebird so your chances of finding out are very slim.

  8. Ry..

    Internet eyes is a great service. I am viewer and would love to see people get the facts right. I view stores more than 30 miles away so we don’t know the people in the feed. We don’t see what goes on after as the feed is taken off us. Its my understanding that stores that use this have sings out side, the answer is simple go a store that don’t use it if you worry about it. I have seen the site grow over the 2 years. Why don’t you go and complain about crime watch?

  9. Australian Armchair Snooper

    Love the story, I found this interesting and had a look at the site, ive been working with young offenders as a youth worker for 13 years and police checked every year. ive decided to join Internet Eyes and hope to help your local shop owners from the people whom chose to believe its there right to enter a private business and steal and not pay for goods. if I was standing in a shop and saw a person stealing something or assaulting another person I would call the police or tell the shop owner.
    cheers for writing about this and informing the public about this service.

  10. Barbara Morrow

    I am an ex shop manager with 50 years experience of catching shoplifters as are many of out viewers.We also have ex and current security personnel .What training do you need to spot someone putting an item in their pocket. and pressing an alert button which goes directly to the shop managers phone who also gets a 30 second video of the suspected crime.we do not need to alert the police .we are helping to keep the prices in the shops down and also lower the crime rate..deviants ? LOL I do not think that many shoppers exhibit sexual behavior which titillates us..We are the GOOD guys catching the BAD guys..But of course the people on Big brother WITCH HUNT would rather see a plane blown out of the sky and hunreds of people killed than allow body scanners at airports.For goodness sake grow up and live in the real world

    • anon

      Speak for yourself – some of us don’t want to be treated like criminals going about our daily life.

      • Barbara Morrow

        everyone is innocent until proved guilty.

  11. ray

    cctv is everywhere although ie has plenty of slips and is a little strangely organised and run. BB Watch you are actually going about your dispute with them in a silly way by moaning about privacy etc etc . As stated we have cctv everywhere. You would be better looking into the laws on cctv licences regulated by The SIA and a.see if anyone within internet eyes holds one. After all they are employed full time and are contracted to the stores who pay them to do their security.

    • martyn

      You raise some very good points !! already thought about these ..I was a viewer up until this morning !! I have just woken up

  12. Mark Bishop

    We the suckers including you are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars more for our goods every year because the ‘low life’ steals it or try’s to from our retail providers. If you are doing nothing wrong or have no intention of doing anything wrong like ‘stealing’ then this shouldn’t bother you! You won’t even know the viewing is going on anyway. Bring it on baby.

    • Lisa

      Well said Mark it makes me wonder if all the negative comments are coming from shoplifters.

    • anon

      This argument is just not acceptable any more. Those who have done nothing wrong should not have to be under surveillance. Surveillance is not something that is conducive to a stress-free life. We do not all want to feel that we are being watched all the time. It is bad enough when it is employees of the store but when it is people sitting at home then it makes it even worse – what is their agenda? I disagree about one not even know the viewing (surveillance) is going on. Many people I speak to say, like me, that they do not like the surveillance culture that has been thrust upon us. Keeping people under surveillance makes people feel like they are under surveillance whether they are actually being watched or not – that is the whole point of it – to make people feel they are being watched all of the time.

      • Lisa

        Get real anon life is not stress free, it dosn’t matter where you go there are cameras airports, buses,trains, roads etc etc I suggest you lock yourself in your house if you don’t want to be watched and let us get on with catching criminals.

        • anon

          The CCTV culture has not stopped crime in the way they claimed when it was being introduced. If you are so good at catching criminals from your armchair then perhaps the police should join you if they want to get results.

      • Markus Fatbelly Jones

        ever thought about that not the people are under surveilance but the shops…!?

        • anon

          No it is definitely the people who are under surveillance – IE viewers don’t get paid for reporting a shop stealing. The IE viewers watch people to see if they can find any who are stealing (or believe them to be stealing).

  13. guest

    Internet Eyes is the best thing to happen to shops since i do not know when.It is a brilliant idea.keeps prices in the shops down and gives an interest to people who are housebound.they can also win money.

  14. snowy

    Internet Eyes was cautioned by ICO after CCTV footage appeared on on YouTube and the person on the footage made a privacy complaint. Apparently Internet Eyes failed to encrypt the images that were being streamed. This case highlights that we do still have rights about how our image is used and abused by companies and individuals.

  15. guest

    There is a fault on this page it freezes when i first open it

  16. martyn

    Finally Internet eyes seemed to have blocked me ( what I asked for all along ) I guess by logging in and alerting at the camera in a cash office and watching the shops cash up procedure was too much for them !!! as I say , business men with NO security common sense !! > my alert to them by the way > what a joke showing a cash room procedure on a web site that anyone can view for £1.99 a month ! JOKE … ( oh yeah I forgot the viewers don’t know where the shops are ) JOKE also

    • ray

      Did you get a refund on your monthly subscription ? > How many shoplifters do they get in private staff area’s or are those camera’s on internet eyes for staff theft !! Are the staff aware ! > Like you say bit dodgy letting the world see your cash counting and probably safe combination !

      • martyn

        Yearly subscription and doubt it ,,,,,, I actually thought it was a good alert to inform the shop with that information…. I talked to some nice people who are viewers and store owners ….. I even had some decent conversations with staff from Internet eyes , unfortunately the viewers don’t get that they are not winning huge amounts of money they are putting in loads of hours so they are being paid around £1 – £2 per hour if they win the top prize Yes they do get a few good hits but not many , the store owners write on the open facebook page and are easily traceable back to stores ( good job i’m one of the good guys ) and as previously stated the staff at Internet eyes have a great concept but it’s poorly run and they have little knowledge of the law ! As they said “voice your opinion as a viewer you have a right” ! I think i’ve done more than enough .. ahhh peace is restored .

        • martyn

          ps understand if you don’t want to say , but are you a viewer of internet eyes Ray ? No proz if you don’t want answer . cheerz for the back up

          • ray

            No just taking an interest in it . also backing the underdog that speaks sense.

  17. GUEST

    THIS PAGE FREEZES EVERY TIME I LOAD IT.

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