Feeds

Video vigilante site emerges from legal battles

Internet Eyes spies on Costcutter

Top three mobile application threats

Internet Eyes, a controversial service that invites web users to provide low-cost monitoring of CCTV cameras in exchange for prizes, will finally launch next week.

Following claims last year that its plans were illegal, the start-up firm now says it has satisfied privacy regulators that it will comply with the Data Protection Act.

At launch 12 premises in towns including Reading, Wokingham and Newton Abbott will provide Internet Eyes with live feeds of their CCTV cameras over the internet, in the hope of catching shoplifters. Costcutter and Spar franchises are part of the three-month beta trial.

At £75 per month, the service is cheaper for retailers than paying a security guard to watch screens at their premises. The firm claims 90 per cent of retail CCTV is not monitored at all.

Logged-in Internet Eyes members will then be able to alert shop owners via an SMS relay when they notice suspicious activity. They can issue only five such alerts per month.

The firm, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, aims to have two pairs of eyes on each camera throughout the working day, and says it is limiting membership numbers accordingly.

Potential members are being asked to pay £1.99 per month, or £12.99 per year, to monitor cameras. Max Patey, Internet Eyes' commercial director, said the charges would help ensure people would "take it seriously" and discourage casual voyeurs, a concern raised by the Information Commissioner's Office.

The regulator has been in contact with Internet Eyes since it first emerged to a barrage of criticism last October. Their discussions have resulted in changes including checks to ensure that all the cameras cover only private rather than any public space, and a requirement that every members' age and identity will be verified, although they will remain anonymous on the site.

The ICO told The Register: "Organisations operating CCTV systems need to make sure that they comply with the Data Protection Act and only use and disclose the images of individuals for limited and proper purposes."

The member age and identity checks will be carried out by 192.com, using credit reference data. Similar checks are performed by gambling sites.

Internet Eyes hopes that the gaming element of its service will offer enough incentive to members to keep watching, and keep paying. They will compete in a crime-busting league, based on whether business owners found the alerts they sent valuable. At the end of each month a prize fund of £1,000 will be shared among the top amateur sentries.

Keen sleuths will also be able to earn back most of their membership fees by racking up their hours on stakeout. More than 60 hours spent watching CCTV feeds each month will recoup £1.50.

Internet Eyes is hosting a launch event next week and is expecting another round of intense scrutiny. Perhaps under-prepared for the reaction last year, this time it has lined up a police endorsement for its service.

Bob Bunney, crime reduction advisor to Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, said: "What I like most about is that potentially there will be more eyes watching existing systems for events that are anti-social or contrary to public safety, which can be brought to the attention of those responsible to respond, which may or may not be the police."

Whether the ICO will be as satisfied by version 2.0 is an open question, however.

"We have provided advice to Internet Eyes on its own data protection compliance. We will be checking to ensure it has followed this and investigate any complaints we receive," it said. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?
Wait 'til this one hits your pension fund where it hurts
Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age
Massive outage could last four weeks, sources claim
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.