back to article CCTV website recruits video vigilantes

A new web service aims to recruit tens of thousands of unpaid watchmen to monitor neglected CCTV cameras nationwide. Internet Eyes, a start up based in Stratford-upon-Avon, plans to charge businesses £20 per month for members of its website to watch live camera feeds and report incidents via text message. In return, the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    £1000 to be scarred for life

    I feel sorry for the person who ends up watching, helplessly, as someone is kicked to death on CCTV...

  2. Hermes Conran

    Three incients per month?

    So if you report two graffiti artists and a dog fouling the stabbing you see next will have to go unreported?

  3. Stef 4
    Thumb Up


    "users will be allowed three alert messages per month"

    Poor sod being knifed when the watcher is on No.4

  4. Eponymous Cowherd
    Big Brother

    Of course its a bloody game

    ***"It's not a game. We're fighting crime and terrorism," Tony Morgan, the businessman behind the idea told The Register*.***

    If the people doing the watching are paid, then they are employees.

    If they are unpaid then they are volunteers.

    If they do it to win prizes then they are competitors which means it *is* a frikking *GAME*.

    FFS, snooping for prizes, where could this end? "£100 if you spot a mugging, £1000 if you spot a rape. If you are lucky you may even see a murder and grab the £10,000 star prize and appear in our next TV commercial."**

    **Terms and conditions apply, winning entries must result in a conviction for which you may be required to appear in court. Internet Eyes accepts no responsibility for any death or injury that may occur at the hands of the defendant, and witness relocation costs may be deducted from your prize money.

  5. Michael 3

    How can we be sure this is for real?

    Where is the bricks and mortar address, registration number etc for this company/organisation on the web site?

  6. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: How can we be sure this is for real?

    All on Companies House.

  7. dannypoo

    @hermes & @stef 4

    would you imagine that they would be unable to log in and watch after reporting the 3rd incident?

  8. HFoster
    Big Brother

    Brown shirts or Black?

    (To go with the jackboots)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    grass on friends, family, random passers by, prizes to be won! Vote fascist for another twelve years of total law enforcement!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Twitchy Neighbours...

    Oh FFS - so now they want the public to do their spying fo them...

    I for one welcome our oppresive UK camera society and curtain twitchers.

  11. Hollerith 1
    Thumb Up

    Sign me up!

    I am keen. Of course, as a shocking bigot, I will turn a blind eye to any racial violence of white-on-black, but will report any non-white person who even looks like a wrong'un. No violence against women will be reported by me, because them slags deserve anything coming to them. And a child in danger? The little girls are all lolitas, aren't they, and the boys sweet fruit begging to be plucked. Speeding -- there's too much Government interference anyway, so I'd let those freeweheeling motorists have their fun. Photographers: reported, every single one of them. Same goes for those pinko commie protestors.

    And the public will feel safer because there are eyes they can trust behind the camera. Way-hay!

  12. Andus McCoatover

    I've applied!

    BUT, only 3xSMS per month. so, if I see 3 false alarms*, then see a kiddie being bundled into the boot of a car against his/her will, what then?

    OK, I can report it next month. Better late than never.

    Some business ideas won't work, because they're obviously thought out in the pub. Bit like this comment.

    I'll report progress and findings to El Reg. if required.

    * Anyone remember that advertisement for the Independent(?) Newspaper. on TV, (1993?) when a black mugger grabs a white businessman, and wrestles him to the ground in the gap between two parked cars?

    Camera to a different angle, and we see the 'mugger' was pushing the honkey out of the way of falling scaffolding.

  13. Pete 2 Silver badge

    and still no-one will watch

    So you sign up, get assigned your video feeds - for which the suck^H^H^H^Hcustomer pays £20 per month for you to watch. Then what?

    Simple(s) you bugger off and play golf all day. Just leave the CCTV feeds to rot. Who will know? Who will care? Why would you care?

    I can't see any possible reason why any company would possibly want to pay any amount at all for the feed from their CCTVs to be sent off to a vacant monitor somewhere on the internet, when they can have it all fed to a monitor of their own - which no-one will watch, either.

    There's no oversight on this, no possibility of an audit and no way of verifying that anyone is implementing the service the customers are paying for.

    If there was any place where the question "who watches the watchers?" needs to be asked, this is it.

  14. Andrew Moore


    How do they award the £1000 when the max score anyone can have per month is 3???

  15. Tony Flaherty
    Thumb Down


    Just NO FFS.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Not a game?

    If it's not a game of skill that wins the £1000 prize isn't it considered gambling for the prize then? It's certainly a chance that you spot things, not skill.. so covered by the Gambling Act 2005 surely?

  17. Stef 4
    Thumb Up


    I eagerly look forward to this appearing on a member of the CSI family, where to win that magical £1000 by arranging several murders under their favourite camera.

  18. Raumkraut

    Points mean prizes!

    They say:

    "At the end of each month the top scorer will receive a £1,000 cash reward"


    "To discourage frivolous reports, users will be allowed three alert messages per month."

    So the top scorer will have, at a maximum, 3 points?

    That seems like it's going to make it rather difficult for them to pick out a single winner from amongst the inevitable curtain-twitching-2.0 horde.

  19. dunncha
    Big Brother

    Thank God, the only people that will be intrested will be Big Brother retards

    Because they will get bored after 5 mins without a swear word or some lovely jubilees and switch off

    but it does stink more than a little of Red Dwarf ' Back to Reality'.

    Step aside Voter!

    Could this be the Tories idea to get everyone off Incapacity Benefit.

    Here's a job you can do, just like watching Big Brother.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    @Chris Williams

    I think his point was, or at least my point is, that the company number, registered address etc should all be on their website for all to see, not just hidden on some Companies House website database. The Companies House website can be used to cross check their company claims.

    The Register has put a number of articles up over the years regarding the requirement for publicising company details on company websites, emails and literature - surprised they didn't pick up on this themselves.

  21. Andus McCoatover

    Gets worse...

    Now, a new form appears this afternoon - (hidden behind a previously inactive, but still unnoticeable) link under "Become a user for FREE), which requires ticking "I agree to the terms and conditions".

    There aint any, as far as I can see...

    Think we're in Muppet territory. Best log ou<SNAP>t

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pick a quiet crossing

    and report everyone jaywalking. Profit!

  23. Jason Croghan

    Wait a second...

    You get 3 texts per month and then the person with the most points each month wins a prize, won't the total always be 3?? Or are the crimes rated on depravity/savageness? 1 point for a doggy poop, 2 points for a mugging, 3 points for a stabbing and the jackpot of 4 points for a murder? Either way the prize system can't be realistic if you've got a total of 3 texts per month unless....

    a) Each valid text which was a crime is then added back as another text

    b) I missed something?

  24. Estariel
    Big Brother

    Just like the movies

    Which movie was it, which had banks and banks of people watching cameras of normal people going about their wasnt a nice movie....

  25. EdwardP


    ...potential for abuse here then...

  26. frank ly
    Thumb Up

    @Pete 2 re. and still no-one will watch

    " possibility of an audit and no way of verifying that anyone is implementing the service the customers are paying for..."

    I suggest that for £20 a month, you and I can go round the country staging fake muggings and break-ins at the premises of our clients and then check for adequate reporting of these events.

    If we get enough clients, we can hire staff to do the boring work such as writing up reports etc.

    It will be fun and we'll get lots of exercise. We can take it in turns to be mugger and muggee and will probably end up as You Tube stars. What do you say?

  27. A. Lewis

    Can't see it working.

    Watching CCTV footage is notoriously boring. I can see a lot of people signing up to do this and not bothering to go back after the first hour or so.

    The distant possiblity of a £1000 prize isn't enough to make me sit through hours of CCTV footage a month. If the idea is that people do this as a background activity, is that really going to bring any results?

    I think it'd be a better use of this company's money to hire some AI programmers and try and make software able to spot criminal behaviour on video feeds.

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse


    He added he had "taken legal advice and been assured Internet Eyes will comply with data protection and privacy laws."

    This advice will have been sourced from the same persons that advised BT over the ledgality of the Phorm trials no doubt?

    I'll give a prize to the first person who identifies which "Lord" has his snout in this trough... but you can only send 3 entries per month.

  30. Alex Connor


    Surely this can't be legal?? you know it's the office busy-bodies that will be signing up for this, as all they ever do is watch soaps and then talk incessently about them all day, every day. What would be better for them that a real life soap opera??

    This country keeps slipping further and further downhill, once i've thought we've gone as low as possible for a 1st world country, the ground collapses and we go further down towards hell*. yay!!

    *metophorically speaking, of course, what with hell not actually existing.

  31. jackharrer

    Re: and still no-one will watch

    But the chance is that somebody will. In normal case it is guaranteed nobody will. Still better that not having that option.

    I suggest we force all those scroungers on Incapacity Benefit and such to sit for the whole day and watch this. Let them earn their wage. They can even lay down with a laptop if they want. It's just a matter of controlling software that checks they're not cheating and buggering off to the pub in the meantime. All for the price of cheap-ass laptop and internet connection.

  32. Haku
    Black Helicopters

    Red Dwarf - Back To Reality

    [reading posters on the wall of the car park]

    Sebastian Doyle: "Vote Fascist for a Third Glorious Decade of Total Law Enforcement"?

    Jake Bullet: "Be a Government Informer. Betray Your Family & Friends. Fabulous Prizes to be Won"?

  33. Dan 10

    Dear me

    There are so many things wrong with this, and of course, to the unthinking, the old "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" argument will almost certainly apply.


  34. Anonymous Coward


    ..can i av like the estate in the next town. Wot wif all the good films on tv being like banned, I can watch like TWOC, fights and a beatch getting some off some hommies, and get paid for it. And I can putting it on utube.Banging. Whers is me pizza.

    Wicked innit !

    <or what ever the misguided youth of today say>

  35. Blitz
    Big Brother

    Suspicious activities

    If you see a crime occurring then report them

    If you see suspicious activity then report them

    If you see something you don't like then report them

    Be careful because the camera is also watching you.

    We're on our way.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Andus McCoatover

    I believe the ad was for the grauniad, director K. Loach?

  37. Anonymous Coward

    "As an inspiration he cites..."

    "...recent Metropolitan Police figures showing that fewer than one crime is solved for every 1,000 CCTV cameras deployed in London."

    So what SHOULD it be? Fewer than one crime per month? Per year? Is the presumption that there's a crime in front of every CCTV camera at some point during whatever time period, and thus that the ratio should be 1:1? What the hell does that even MEAN?

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Do you get to move the cameras?

    Which one is opposite Sarah Bee's house? I wanna stalk Sarah!

  39. Omar Marquez

    I have a wild idea

    What if, instead of spending lots of money on stupid non-sentient cameras that allegedly no one watches, we instead spend the money on more real flesh-and-blood cops (these "cops" come with their own built-in crime-detection software, binocular camera system, and can quickly move from place to place on things called "legs".)

    Fuck me, I should patent this and become rich!

  40. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Do you get to move the cameras?

    Try it. I'm sure my dog will be very happy. He could do with the savaging practice.

  41. Dayjo


    Spelling mistake on their sign up form... not that I was rushing to sign up or anything... >_>

    So technically right, I look at my local CCTV, run out, do some mild crime that gets me a free bed for the night, report it via text, repeat, and get myself a cool £1000 for 3 nights on the town?

    Sounds brilliant.

  42. Dayjo

    Bonus Points?

    ... also, do we receive bonus points if we send in an MMS with a screenshot of the crime? I mean, if I was watching and this scene (off of their site); happened... I would most definitely want some sort of photographic evidence to prove my text was worth the £1000.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ frank ly

    I've got a better idea, why not actually DO the muggings for real then we can keep the loot AND get the reward.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Does 'justice' get more random than this?

    This is so wrong in every way. Eight year olds can send the plods after you for no reason other than that they are bored. Anonymously and without penalty.

  45. MonkeyBot

    @ First AC

    "I feel sorry for the person who ends up watching, helplessly, as someone is kicked to death on CCTV..."

    What about the poor sod who gets kicked to death on CCTV when nobody's watching? At least this might get an ambulance to him a little sooner.

  46. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    We're fighting crime and terrorism...

    ... ORLY?

    So exactly *how many* CCTV cameras are in "terrorism hotspots"? And if they are, why aren't they being monitored in the first place...?

    And how long before someone gets a couple of mates to stage a violent crime in front of a camera (making sure, of course, that the "attacker" can't be identified) and then reports it to scoop the jackpot...?

    If you want a picture of the future, imagine watching a CCTV image of a boot stamping on a human face - forever...

  47. Nigel Whitfield.

    Guardian ad

    It was a skinhead, saving a businessman - you can see it at amongst other places.

    Just as interesting as the rest of this item was "Metropolitan Police figures showing that fewer than one crime is solved for every 1,000 CCTV cameras deployed in London."

    Rather makes a mockery of things like their attempt to insist on CCTV as a licensing requirement.

    And some of crimes solved by CCTV will probably be the police beating people up at G20. Do you suppose they included those in the figures? :)

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Re: Do you get to move the cameras?

    He does have a point though, after thinking "dear lord what is up with the world" quickly followed by "If you see a pair of teenagers shagging are you now a sex offender?" I came to "Gee I bet this would be handy if you wanted to stalk people"

    I mean one thing the new order brings is a great opportunity for voyeurs and stalkers. That kink is almost encouraged.

    Anyway I say ban high bridges, if it saves just one child it's worth it!

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So I am assuming everyone who joins this website has a full SIA CCTV license?

    Of course they must have, its the only way you can monitor members of the public or any public areas via CCTV.

    Oh dear, time for some massive fines for this website and court action!

  50. Mathew White
    Thumb Down

    Saturday night back street cameras

    Saturday night back street cameras are gona be popular.

    Also, i see a problem with the prize:

    "In return, the members will be entered into a crime-fighting league, receiving points for each genuine incident reported. At the end of each month the top scorer will receive a £1,000 cash reward"

    "To discourage frivolous reports, users will be allowed three alert messages per month."

    So in effect that makes this a lottery, unless for the fact that "fewer than one crime is solved for every 1,000 CCTV cameras deployed" means that they dont expect many people above 0 on the league table...?

  51. Quatroux


    The movie was Cube. There was a later sequel and prequel released as well.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very web 2.0

    Long distance curtain twitching for the 21st century.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Sarah Bee

    We have vans you know.

  54. Anonymous Coward

    Re: "As an inspiration he cites..."

    People cite these seemingly very low statistics as meaning that CCTV is failing, that CCTV is going to waste, etc. But isn't one of the main points of CCTV to actually deter crime?

    If CCTV is successfully deterring crime, then yes, there'll be low levels of crime to be seen on CCTV. (Not that CCTV necessarily is deterring crime. It could just be moving it elsewhere, away from the CCTV cameras.)

    Reminds me of the millennium bug campaign. Once the year 2000 had arrived, and everything was carrying on the same as normal, some people voiced criticism of the campaign. Weren't all sorts of things supposed to go wrong? If that meant the millennium bug campaign was a waste of time and money, one wonders what a successful, worth while campaign would have resulted in - the collapse of civilisation?

    Do we really live in a society where people would be genuinely pleased if, instead of deterring crime, CCTV was demonstrably doing nothing to reduce it?

  55. EvilJason
    Thumb Down


    Whats to stop someone from using a screen capture program and record the cctv of the site?

    If you see a murder or high profile crime whats to stop the footage been recorded and sold to the media before the case can be investigated there by making the crime unpunished as a jury is influenced before the court case.

    Interesting to see how they get around that one.

  56. JBrown
    Thumb Up

    @Sarah Bee

    You're being stalked by internet camera. The dog in the corner of your screen says "It appears you are being stalked. Would you like some help with that?"

  57. SDF1586

    Prison Island Britain

    So now we get the inmates to police themselves. Do you get an armband and a big stick to make you look important, like the kapos in a Nazi death camp? Am I right in thinking those guys didn't fare too well when liberation came?

  58. Eden

    An interesting idea but....

    That's a hell of a lot cheaper than the normall "CCTV" monitoring companies will charge but then you don't get any of the garuntees or service so maybe it could appeal to people who figure £20 a month for something is better than nothing for nothing.

    BUT....most people who want this sort of monitoring when they factor in the cost of getting a CCTV rig that can broadcast and the cost of the Internet connection and data costs for constant broadcast will quickly realise for the same cost you can get a decent CCTV kit that has sensors and programable "zones" so you can get it to trigger on certain events and notify you directly with live feed or clips to your mobile or laptop and record everything to Local Storage or online storage, much better!

  59. Toastan Buttar
    Big Brother

    Movie ?

    "Which movie was it, which had banks and banks of people watching cameras of normal people going about their lives"

    The early George Lucas film "THX1138", perhaps ?

  60. Anonymous Coward


    "On successful registration, we shall issue you with three text credits, allowing you to send a total of three alerts to our customers by means of the Service. [After use of these credits, you may buy further credits using a debit or credit card number [or PayPal]. "

  61. Bernie 2
    Thumb Down

    dumbest idea ever

    So a company has installed an expensive IP CCTV system, now they're expected to cheap out and pay £20 a month for "someone" to watch the cameras and (maybe) report any crimes?

    And why must it be via txt message? These live streams are fed over the internet to a web browser, no? Why not have a "report" button under the feed, that way the time stamp can automatically be captured and uploaded along with a picture from the camera. It wouldn't even cost the user any money to report a crime. When you realise that of course, you realise why they are so desperate to use txt messages. Nice.

    And what sane person would volunteer to do this anyway? You'll get a lot of voyeurs signing up to begin with, but sooner rather than later people are going to get bored and give up.

    They might as well rent some space in an empty warehouse, fill it with dirty ovens and say "FREE OVEN CLEANING, CLEAN THE MOST OVENS AND YOU GET £1000 (maximum of 3 ovens per person)"

    what a scam.

  62. Anonymous Coward

    November 5th

    So, what's happening this November 5th?

    I'm just asking out of curiosity.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and you thought phorm was bad

    Come on Reg. The noise you made regarding Phorm (be it right or wrong) helped kick the pesky company into touch. But this takes invasion of privacy to a new level.

    Forget the process and how it works. Who cares if it's 3 texts or 30 texts a month? The principle is completely wrong.

    This is not people spying on which websites you go to, just to give you some targeted ads.

    This is people, you don't know, who have not had any training or undergone any CRB checks, watching CCTV cameras. Privacy breaches, security breaches, they are just the start.

    Google had to blur faces to protect privacy. These people are punting live CCTV images on the internet for people to voyeur.

    We have a police force. How about they prevent and detect crime?

    This is 90% of the way to Orwell's 1984 and one step too far.

    Get on it boys - I am too small time to do anything.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Who Is Big Brother?

    Who is Big Brother?

    We all are.

    (Yes, do cringe.)

    My understanding of the TV show, Big Brother, originally based (loosely) on Orwell's 1984, is that the viewing audience collectively form Big Brother. The irony in most viewers not realising this is particularly delicious, since it fits so well with the reality of Orwellian societies. And that's before even mentioning the stuff about the viewers being manipulated by the show's makers.

    In a truly Orwellian society, society itself is Big Brother. But most individuals don't realise this. This ignorance is itself part of how such an Orwellian society works.

  65. Twiks

    Hoax !

    Come on folks, the whole thing is an obvious hoax !

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