Got a computer? Scour CCTV footage to spot crime

Tue Oct 6, 2009 7:06am EDT
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By Georgina Cooper

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Computer owners are being invited to scour CCTV footage and spot crimes being committed from the comfort of their own homes in a move branded as "sick" by civil liberties campaigners.

A new British company called Internet Eyes is signing up viewers to watch live streams of CCTV cameras from shops and businesses and report anything they believe to be suspicious.

"People have voyeuristic tendencies," Managing Director of Internet Eyes Tony Morgan told Reuters, explaining why he believes people will sign up.

"How many people watch Big Brother after the lights go out and nothing is happening? Internet Eyes has got something to watch that is interesting.

"We are doing something that is needed, crime is going up, burglaries are going up. It will stop a lot of crime," he said.

A monthly reward of 1,000 pounds ($1,600) will be paid out to the person who reports the most crimes.

But at least one civil liberties group has condemned the idea.

"It is a distasteful and worrying development of surveillance society and where it is going," Charles Farrier, spokesman for the No CCTV campaign group said, likening it to the Big Brother society of George Orwell's "1984."   Continued...