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ICO raps CCTV-monitoring site

Footage featuring innocent shopper ended up on YouTube

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has ordered a website to change the way it operates after CCTV footage from a shop was found on video-sharing site YouTube.

Internet Eyes, which launched last year, charges web users £1.99 per month to watch live CCTV footage from their home PC in a bid to spot crimes. Every month, £1,000 is awarded to the "most vigilant members who have made the best contribution to the prevention or detection of a crime". Meanwhile, businesses pay £75 per month for their CCTV camera footage to be included on the site - a cost that is marketed as being cheaper than hiring a security guard. If any crime is identified on their CCTV footage, they are informed by text message.

However, the ICO was alerted after CCTV footage featuring an innocent shopper was upload to YouTube. An investigation by the ICO revealed that the website did not protect the privacy of innocent shoppers on the footage. Furthermore, it was unable to identify which of its members had uploaded the footage to the Google-owned sharing site.

"CCTV footage should not end up on YouTube when it shows someone simply out doing their shopping," said David Smith, the deputy Information Commissioner.

"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."

Following the investigation, the ICO requested Internet Eyes encrypts its video-streams and keep records of its users and the footage they monitor.

"We are now satisfied that they have met our requirements. We will though continue to keep a close watch on them and do not rule out taking more formal enforcement action if further complaints are received."

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