Sunday, September 11, 2005

It's not just Big Brother watching...

At the risk of appearing very seedy, I thought I'd share a little something that I was linked to a short time ago (hopefully most of you haven't seen it before). The page is at and basically shows live footage from hundreds of different cameras around the world.

The description the page gives of itself reads:

"These webcams were found automatically through Google with a variety of clever search techniques. Their owners might or might not have intended for them to be public. But they obviously are. Many of them are security cameras in companies or semi-public places. If you hover over the picture you'll see what location information is available. If you click on it, a window will open and you can see a live video feed, plus comments and ratings and other information."

Now, I'm sure this will seem pretty dodgy to alot of you, and it probably is. Alot of these cameras aren't meant to be broadcasting over the internet, but the site's disclaimer reads that the "snapshots you see here appear as fair use according to copywrite law."

The site shows footage from cameras around the world that have IP addresses. The cameras may be in public places such as parks, or in an office building, school gymnasium, or even aimed at something like a fish tank. All of these cameras are fundamentally webcams, and the people captured in the images most likely don't even know that they are being filmed, let alone having their actions broadcast over the internet.

It's strange to think that you could be walking through a park, and at the same time a foreign person on the other side of the world could be watching you on their computer. All they have to have is the internet, curiosity, and perhaps a slight lack of ethics.

When I first saw the site, I began to wonder who would think of such an idea, and why it was so popular. I guess it really does reflect the times we live in, and the vast reaches of technology.

Incidentally, as far as I can tell, there are no cameras broadcasting from New Zealand...yet.


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