The British website Internet Eyes (IE) is an online, “instant event notification system” that allows registered viewers to monitor live CCTV feeds from IE’s business customers, and to immediately notify a business if a crime—such as shoplifting—or any other anti-social behavior is observed. Viewers who report a crime observed online are eligible for a monthly reward of £1,000 (pounds) determined by a point system.
The participating businesses provide IE with live feeds from CCTV cameras and the combined images are made available to the viewers. However, viewers are not provided with the location of the businesses, or receive images from businesses in their immediate vicinity (as determined by postal codes), and viewers do not have any control over the CCTV images streamed to them. Equally, the businesses are not provided with any personal details of viewers.
In addition, in order to reduce the chances of abuse of the system by viewers, the images provided to viewers are regulated by English law, specifically the Data Protection Act 1988, and are overseen by the Information Commissioners Office. In line with their rules and guidelines, the ages and identifications of all viewers are verified prior to being provided with images, and viewers pay a membership fee that ranges from monthly to annual.
IE has its critics, but it is trying to reduce theft, and other crimes, by making it possible for ordinary citizens to take part in protecting their community. For that reason, it is Government Video’s Website of Week.
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