Russian Website Secretly Streams Canadian Families In Their Living Rooms
Global News reports that a website based out of Moscow is live streaming over 500 security cameras that are watching Canadian workplaces, churches, and homes.
According to the FAQ on insecam.org the streams are of security cameras that still have their passwords set to the factory default. The FAQ also states that feeds will be removed upon request. However, it warns that removal will not solve the base problem of the feeds not being secured in the first place.
Several of the camera feeds are watching industrial workshops, parking lots, or front doors of Canadian homes. Three of the cameras are watching livestock in barns, and three show the interiors of churches.
However, some of the cameras show much more private spaces, such as two that showed daycare classrooms, one in Quebec, the other in Ontario. The Quebec camera was identified as being from a daycare in Montreal. Both feeds were removed on Friday. The feed of the daycare in Ontario was identified as being from Mississauga and showed around a dozen children being supervised by a few adults in a the daycare classroom.
These identifications might not be entirely precise, as a location in Montreal showed an Ontario flag on display, and one identified as Toronto actually appeared more likely to be British Columbia.
Former Ontario Privacy Commissioner, Ann Cavoukian, asked, “What is going through the minds of the administrators of these webcams?” and “Why wouldn’t they think that through? Do they think that there is zero risk – that nobody else is going to access that data?”
People in private homes may not bother to secure their cameras, and that’s their business, according to Cavoukian. However, people running schools, daycares, and medical clinics have an obligation to protect people’s privacy in their facilities, especially children. Cavoukian believes that in this day and age when technology can be used for unauthorized purposes, people cannot use the excuse of ignorance. It is not an acceptable answer to say “I wasn’t aware of that.”