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Video vigilantes in trouble again

CCTV leaks leads to ICO slap

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Video vigilante service Internet Eyes is in trouble with data protection regulators again.

Internet Eyes streams CCTV footage from shops to its network of users who watch the live feeds from their home computer. Keen-eyed noseyparkers can then hit an alert button if they spot a shoplifter. This information is then texted back to the shop owner.

But the company has been told by the Information Commissioner's Office to change its policies after it found CCTV footage of an identifiable person on YouTube.

David Smith, deputy commissioner, said: "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. 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 found CCTV footage was sent to users unencrypted and that the company kept no record of its users' activities so could not tell who had put the video clip on YouTube.

Internet Eyes has now promised to create an audit trial for all footage seen by viewers and by the end of the month will change its systems so no viewer can see footage from a shop within 30 miles of their registered location.

It is not the first time Internet Eyes has come under the gaze of the watchdog.

The service had to delay its launch while dealing with an early probe from the Information Commissioner's Office.

Businesses pay £75 a month to have up to four camera feeds monitored. The snoopers, who must pay to register, compete for a monthly £1,000 prize. More than 60 hours of viewing a month will also earn you £1.50.

We're waiting to hear back from the company on usage figures. It does have almost 2,500 Facebook friends, including one user who has asked for the camera feeds to change because she's monitoring nine pet shop cameras... ®

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