Commenters on the discussion site Reddit pored over compromised security camera feeds linked from the Russian website Insecam, screenshotting and sharing pictures of naked or half-dressed women.
The website, which has been live since September, is just the latest of a string of sites which exploit knowledge of default passwords to access supposedly private security camera feeds.
When a link to Insecam was first posted on the social news site, alongside links to similar sites, Redditors initially responded that the concept was “just creepy”. One asked whether the site was even legal (it is not, according to the information commissioner’s office), and another said that on browsing through, they saw a lot of sleeping children, and “got creeped out”.
But soon enough, other Redditors started posting screenshots and links to security cameras which were pointing at women unaware they were broadcasting themselves on the internet.
“I found very nice apartment in Italy”, says one user, linking to a woman vacuuming in a revealing outfit. A few minutes later, another comments “she’s making the bed right now”.
Other users post links to screenshots and feeds of women masturbating and getting undressed, as well as footage of trans sex workers in Thailand.
“Is it more or less creepy that I prefer the old lady who just knits,” a user asks.
The information commissioner, Christopher Graham, has condemned Insecam , and said that he wants “the Russians to take this down straight away … We now want to take very prompt action working with the Federal Trade Commission in the States to get this thing closed down.”
But the FTC might have more pressing matters domestically, before it goes after Insecam: At least one similar website, discovered by the Guardian, is hosted in Phoenix, Arizona.
Graham emphasised that, in the short term, it’s the camera operators who can help most. “The more important thing is to get the message out to consumers to take those security measures. If you don’t need remote access to a webcam then switch off that function altogether,” he said.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2014