CCTV in public toilets

BathroomCCTV Big Brother Watch has previously covered the issue of CCTV cameras being placed in school bathrooms, but this blogpost from Cisco Security Expert Jamey Heary shocked even us.

Jamey is an American who, on a visit to Britain, paid the now obligatory 50p to enter a public toilet and was confronted by the scene you see on the right (click to enlarge).

As he writes:

You can imagine my surprise after I paid my 50 pence to use the public bathroom, walked in and found myself staring at not just one but three ceiling mounted video surveillance cameras. I had to get real close to their enclosures to convince myself that I wasn't seeing things. Not only was it really there, but it was a Pan-Tilt-Zoom model with a microphone to top it off.

Here is a shot I took in a London public bathroom (again the photo on the right). Notice the two cameras on the ceiling. Another one was behind me on the other wall facing towards these cameras. They had all of the angles covered that’s for sure. Don't want to miss any of the action.

I have so far been unable to contact Jamey and ascertain where the offending public toilets are located. I am slightly sceptical of the microphone being present (although who am I to question a 'security expert'?); but there is no doubt that this sort of thing is on the rise – and whoever is placing cameras in toilets is in serious breach of the Data Protection Act (not to mention common decency).

By Dylan Sharpe

Posted by on Mar 30, 2010 in CCTV | 24 Comments


  1. Jon Kipping
    30th March 2010

    They obviously think that taking a dump constitutes criminal damage….

  2. Andrew Ampers Taylor
    30th March 2010

    Rather than having someone watch me pee, I will have no option to find the cameras blind spot and pee on the floor.

  3. 1984
    30th March 2010

    My post is not exactly about CCTV in toilets, but relates to the similar issue of allowing perverts to see peopls’e genitals in airport body scans. Today the Government re-confirmed that children will still have to be viewed naked at airports. Our TRUTHFUL PM insists that there is not a privacy issue here – really?
    Not content with just viewing children naked, as well as the rest of us,the minimum wage, oh so highly trained and as sensitive as a block of granite security numpties, will also be allowed to fiddle with toddlers – because of their intellectual bypass they will ‘mistake’, in a Gary Glitter fashion, a nappy filled with liquid (poo) as a bomb and then spend half an hour doing a secondary search – fiddling with the naked youngster. Do not believe it will not happen. Security staff have already been caught oggling female staff in these scanners.
    Also on the subject of the rest of us being spied on naked those ‘understanding’ souls at the Home Affairs Select Committee and one of their aviation experts have dropped the following little ‘bomb-shell’ on page 12 of their ninth report of session 2009-10:Counter-Terrorism Measures in British Airports, which you can read at the Dft website:
    ‘GENERALLY the person who sees the screen cannot see the passenger as well’.
    GENERALLY – but not always, meaning if there is someone they fancy the tits off then they are allowed to go see who it is they have been looking at on the screen. Shocking, but true. All this is in complete contradiction to the Government’s public assertion that the person in the remote scanning room will NOT BE ABLE to see the person being scanned.
    What a shocking and inescapable lie.

  4. Jay Lampert
    30th March 2010

    For once, I would actually feel safer with cameras in public toilets. I have always feared being attacked or sexually assaulted by a homosexual whilst in this vulnerable situation and have to say that whilst vehemently against CCTV in general, I welcome what is for once the GENUINE protection offered by cameras in public loos.

  5. Neil Robinson
    30th March 2010

    Is there some evidence that homosexuals attack people in toilets then?

  6. NeverSurrender
    30th March 2010

    This is just insane! Why are we letting this happen? I simply cannot understand why people are not rioting in the streets about the vile surveillance imposed upon us by our worse-than-Stasi government. The time to tear these grotesque devices down is long overdue. We are now in the ridiculous situation where it is not the criminals from whom we need protecting but the state and the outrageous surveillance to which we are being subjected. If they get their way we shall soon be forced to have cameras in every room of our homes. We have to fight back and change things! The power lies with the people not the politicians or the police and they need reminded of this but if we meekly do nothing it will only get worse. I hate what has happened to this country. New Communist, sorry, Labour have ruined it. It isn’t possible to live like a normal human being any more because of the oppressive surveillance.

  7. Gareth
    30th March 2010

    Why is the State affording itself special dispensation to film people in toilets?
    They like to encourage suspicion of our fellow man so let us sling it back at them – *why* do they want to be able to watch children in toilets?
    A bit of googling suggest those are Genie CCTV CV53 or CV73 enclosures (the exact model denotes the camera inside). There is a small hole next to the clear oval that is too small to be visible on the photo provided.
    Whether it is a microphone hole or not I have no idea. The specifications I can find for them don’t mention audio recording. It is possible the enclosures are made for but do not come with microphones and if you want one you add it yourself.

  8. NeverSurrender
    31st March 2010

    This is an obscene, sick and, perverted act. It must be illegal or, if it isn’t, it must be made illegal right away! What a f*****g dreadful country this awful government has created. I hope that they all rot in hell for the abominable way in which they have violated our freedom and our privacy.

  9. Chris
    31st March 2010

    Typical behaviour of frightened people.
    Beaurocrats live in their own world where they live in fear and like to cultivate fear in others to justify their evil ways. They do everything to avoid bad things.Few of which happen and none of which they manage in the end to avoid.
    Heard today about the school that is in breach of human rights and forced school kids to give their finger prints. Head should be sacked with the governors.Parents should sue.
    Great quote from Claire Fox about those who do things like this, “the meddling middle classes.”

  10. Lee
    31st March 2010

    Here’s the thing.
    There must come a point where the state realises that there is a threshold that cannot be crossed, where even if there is a vanishingly small chance that they might chance upon some nascent terrorist plot they still cannot monitor that situation.
    I am not known for paranoia, but even I feel uncomfortable leaving my house these days, from the moment I step into the street I am monitored street by street, turn by turn, shop, bus, taxi*, library, school, cinema, park and now it seems there is not even the respite of having a fucking shit without knowing that there sits, somewhere, some officious state prick in a cheap uniform monitoring you, waiting for you to fail his idea of social normative behaviour.
    *I was very disappointed to see that black cabs now proudly boast that you are under surveillance while sat in the back of the cab, what on earth for ?
    As a social anthropologist might tell you – surveillance demolishes trust – has anyone done a study on the long term effects on society of blanket surveillance ?

  11. Purlieu
    31st March 2010

    How come it’s ok for an unseen faceless drone to take pictures of me having a slash, todger and the lot, yet taking a pic of a chip shop is terrorist behaviour.
    Is this the world we created ?
    Time for action.

  12. Purlieu
    31st March 2010

    November 9th 1989 – Berlin wall comes down
    November 9th 2010 – London cameras come down

  13. Lee
    31st March 2010

    They might catch some footage of your WMDs.

  14. Usukh Dikh
    31st March 2010

    Next time just wave your wanger at them and give em the finger.
    “How do you like this WMD, you Labour perverse pr#cks?!”
    Hopefully the camera operator will get caught w@n~~~g and end up front page of the Sun!

  15. Brian
    1st April 2010

    When normativity, ‘morality’ and security combine to such extremes – we can be sure of one thing.
    We are no longer human.

  16. Kevin Gethin
    2nd April 2010

    One must not be to harsh when one considers what the authorities are up against when they are trying to protect the integrity of our public lavatories.The tourist who took the pic of the CCTV in a public lavatory was lucky.He may have run into a police officer and got arrested for taking a pictures in a public place apicture of the facilities available ina public lavatory could be used by those who do not have the public interest at heart .The authorities know that all sorts of people use public lavatories and that there use needs to be monitored, that is why a special “Karzi” squad has been established in Central London. The squad was established last year as a result of a snap inspection of public lavatories in Central London. The inspection was an emergency audit and it was found that asubstantial amount of S**T was missing. I made some further enquiries and discovered that local councils public galleries and the rail operators have got together and set up “Central Region Authority for the Protection of Poop and Effluent Recovery known as CRAPPER or as the lads on the front line of lavatory integrity prefer it the “Karzi Squad” CRAPPER is lobbying for members of the public to be licenecd before they are allowed into a public lavatory. Lavatory testing centres will be established Nationwide the test will be in two parts written and practical. I managed to get hold of a spokesperson for CRAPPER Mr TOM TITT he told me that the scheme is working so well that it is soon to be expanded and that it will become self financing. The new models of CCTV will be able to zoom down into a lavatory bowl (after use) and if skid marks excessive paper or (very serious)a failure to flush is noted then the offender will be offered an on the spot fine of £50.00 or as an alternative he/she must attend a course on “The use of a Public Rest Facility” the course was designed and implemented by the former head of the Home Office
    Lady Di Rheea. If one opts for the course the fee will be £50.00. Tom Titt was confident that he has the backing of the public and the government

  17. Purlieu
    2nd April 2010

    well done that man, very funy
    though shouldn’t it be “Kazi”

  18. David Hay
    2nd April 2010

    In the restaurant of M & S in Hemel Hempstead
    you are monitored by CCTV whilst having your Earl Grey and biscuits.
    Obviously a well known hot bed for clandestine meetings of blue rinse dissidents and terrorists.

  19. Kevin Gethin
    2nd April 2010

    Dear Purlieu
    Many thanks for pointing out that the spelling could be “KAZI rather than my “KARZI” I got the spelling from the CRAPPER website CRAPPER have confirmed that the spelling should be “KARZI” they point out that they spend most of their time monitoring public lavatories, their monitoring includes keeping an eye on the proverbial “bloke who writes on s***house walls” said bloke (there is more than one) prefer the spelling “KARZI” mainly because it allows them that little while extra in the lavatory, it has after all cost them 50p.
    CRAPPER were pleased to hear about the blue rinse bandits inside M&S in Hemel Hempstead. The mention of “Earl Grey” (I assume that you mean the brand of tea) was immediate grounds for suspision. Earl Grey is produced in Sri Lanka by Tamil Tigers Commies every one of em, says CRAPPER the tea is probably being drunk by dangerous agents of an alien creed.I would guess from the reference to blue rinse that these are pensioners. The present day pensioners are very dangerous they were Mods or Rockers in their youth, they were responsible for the introduction of swearing on TV free love and see through knickers Gay Vicars -I could go on.They may even be chewing on Hash biscuits. They would also not be very respectful of the lavatory pan. CRAPPER has entered into emergency talks with M&S the Herts police have been informed. CRAPPER has asked the police to get over to M&S ASAP the trouble is that the police are busy 200 officers are on a special course “How to spot a pensioner posing as a a Photographer lining up a shot on a chip shop” other police officers are on a course for “fingerprinting toddlers” yet another lot of police have been sent to Millets to purchase Balaclavas and masking tape so that serial numbers and badges of rank can be covered. But please do not be alarmed the police are still protecting you, David Hay. Woe betide the burgalar mugger rapist or robber who is abroad on the streets of Hertfordshire. The new CCTV will capture all malefactors and victims on tape criminals may be arrested and bought to justice at a later date,conviction is guaranteed as there will not be a Jury trial. The Governments new policy of Prosecution Infallability will be used. This will consist of a Court presided over by one senior police officer of at least the rank of constable 2 PCSO’s and the police station cleaner (Blood may need to be mopped up) the accused will be brought before this new type of court and charges laid evidence of one police officer who can swear that he knows instinctively that the accused is a villain will suffice. The presiding officers will be allowed to acquit in exceptional circumstances. The court will not be allowed to pass sentence. Sentencing will be done by senior judges,a very important safeguard for the liberty of the subject they will be allowed to overturn guilty verdicts if they can prove that the the officers giving evidence or the station cleaner were drunk or under the influence of a substance.

  20. TommyBoy
    3rd April 2010

    I need to know exactly where this lavatory with 3 CCTV’s is a mass moon in is called for, I have hundreds of young people recruited via the web who are anxious to get out and moon at the CCTV in the lavatory. We will not stand for the authorities taking the P**S like this

  21. Denis Joe
    4th August 2010

    I noticed this in ther Toilets at the St John’s (no pun) Centre in Liverpool.
    I don’t think that the issue should be limited to potential perverts and that kind of thing.
    Toilets have always been the one public area in which privacy was a guarentee. This is not the case.
    The point is that we have to rescue our privacy as this issue suggests that nothing is sacred anymore.

  22. Denis Joe
    4th August 2010

    I noticed this in the Toilets at the St John’s (no pun) Centre in Liverpool.
    I don’t think that the issue should be limited to access from potential perverts and that kind of thing.
    Toilets have always been the one public area in which privacy was a guarentee. This,now, is not the case.
    The point is that we have to rescue our privacy as this issue suggests that nothing is sacred anymore.
    Sorry to repeat this but the first posting was very poorly written!

  23. A. Song
    27th December 2010

    I would like to know is it legal to have CCTV in disabled toilets such as those in restaurants e.g. Burger King etc?