The public is now being courted to play a new “game” in which individual citizens in the UK will be watching CCTV cameras and be monetarily rewarded for reporting crime. Internet Eyes is the name of the game and it is hoped that British citizens will enjoy participating.
Viewers are anonymously monitoring random video feeds streamed from privately owned establishments. At no time can Viewers designate or control the video feeds they receive and the locations of the feeds are not disclosed.
The instant a Viewer monitors an event, an alert can be sent directly to the owner of that live camera feed. The alert is sent along with a screen grab, identifying the image you have observed. Only the first alert received by the camera owner is accepted.
The camera owner will then feedback (rate) the result of the alert. Their feedback is converted into points and entered into a Viewers monthly league table. At the end of each month the highest scoring Viewer will receive the reward money; this could be split in the event of a tie.
Viewers register for free with no recurring fees. Each Viewer has 3 x alerts per month allocated to their account for free. Viewers are able to ‘top up’ their alerts through PayPal if they so desire. The free allocations of alerts are limited to prevent system abuse.
There are many questions about this system. If you flag something as suspicious and you get a point, who gets notified? Does the business find out immediately or do they call the police? If they want you to watch numerous feeds, how quickly will your three false alarms trigger a banning?
This system is ripe for abuse and, I suspect, many pranks will be pulled via Internet Eyes.
…businessman Tony Morgan, a former restaurant owner, said it would give local businesses protection against petty criminals, and act as a deterrent once ‘Internet Eyes patrol here’ signs are prominently displayed.
He will charge those who use the service, which could eventually include local authorities and even police forces as well as shop owners, £20 a week per camera to have their CCTV included on the site – amounting to thousands each year.
Ah, so it’s a protection racket masquerading as a crime prevention tool. You pay money for a system that might work. You get people to watch, who might be the magical monthly winner. Then, you sit at home, collect all that cash and claim that you’re doing good for the community.
I know that, if I were a criminal, I would be interested in such a system as well. I can join as a player, watch the cameras, and plot my crimes. It doesn’t matter if the feeds are anonymously sent. If you know the area, you can still plot out crimes.
The other problem is that this appears more of a conditioning tool, getting people used to being watched all the time. As it stands, although there are millions of cameras in the UK, only one in a thousand is watched. Now, if they make a game out of it, more cameras are watched, but people don’t take it seriously. Eventually, the “gamers” will become regular employees and, by then, it will be too late to complain about your privacy.
I’m starting to have Fahrenheit 451 flashbacks now.