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.