IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

CCTV service Internet Eyes forced into privacy changes

The ICO clamps down on the controversial CCTV viewing website after a clip appears on YouTube.

CCTV

A website which lets individuals watch over companies' CCTV footage via the web has been forced to make privacy changes.

The Internet Eyes service sparked privacy concerns when it was first announced in 2009, leading the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to delay the launch of the website while the watchdog carried out an investigation.

Privacy groups were upset when the ICO decided to let the website go live in October 2010.

It appears the ICO has kept a close eye on Internet Eyes, however, and today ordered changes after video footage from the service was seen on YouTube.

"CCTV footage should not end up on YouTube when it shows someone simply out doing their shopping. A person's CCTV image is their personal data," said deputy commissioner David Smith.

"The law says that it should only be disclosed where necessary, such as for the purposes of crime detection, and not merely for entertainment."

The ICO said it had only received one complaint about Internet Eyes, which offers rewards of up to 1,000 for members who spot shoplifters when viewing the footage.

An ICO investigation discovered Internet Eyes did not ensure the transfer of CCTV images it was streaming to viewers was encrypted.

As Internet Eyes did not track its viewers' activities, it was not able to identify which viewer posted the clip on YouTube, the ICO said.

Internet Eyes has now agreed to encrypt the transfer of CCTV images, as well as establish an audit trail for viewer activity and ensure "proper checks" are carried out on registered viewers.

Furthermore, from 31 July, the service has been told to ensure no viewer can access footage from cameras located in their postcode, or in any postcode district within a 30 mile radius of their registered location.

"We will continue to keep a close watch on them [Internet Eyes] and do not rule out taking more formal enforcement action if further complaints are received," Smith added.

Not good enough?

Privacy groups may not be won over by the ICO's actions, however.

Daniel Hamilton, director of the Big Brother Watch, was not convinced the ICO had gone far enough.

"Today's ruling does little to address fundamental concerns many have about this system and its impact upon personal privacy," Hamilton told IT Pro.

"It's fundamentally wrong to hand untrained and unaccountable voyeurs the power to monitor CCTV images. This should be left to trained professionals."

Featured Resources

Four strategies for building a hybrid workplace that works

All indications are that the future of work is hybrid, if it's not here already

Free webinar

The digital marketer’s guide to contextual insights and trends

How to use contextual intelligence to uncover new insights and inform strategies

Free Download

Ransomware and Microsoft 365 for business

What you need to know about reducing ransomware risk

Free Download

Building a modern strategy for analytics and machine learning success

Turning into business value

Free Download

Recommended

MoJ faces £17.5m GDPR fine over subject access request backlog
data protection

MoJ faces £17.5m GDPR fine over subject access request backlog

20 Jan 2022
Cabinet Office fined £500,000 for New Year Honours data leak
data breaches

Cabinet Office fined £500,000 for New Year Honours data leak

3 Dec 2021
ICO publishes new data protection standards for the adtech industry
data protection

ICO publishes new data protection standards for the adtech industry

25 Nov 2021
Celebrity data leaked after ransomware attack on London's Graff jewellers
ransomware

Celebrity data leaked after ransomware attack on London's Graff jewellers

1 Nov 2021

Most Popular

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack
hacking

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack

16 May 2022
16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

13 May 2022
Windows Server admins say latest Patch Tuesday broke authentication policies
Server & storage

Windows Server admins say latest Patch Tuesday broke authentication policies

12 May 2022