UK

Make money watching CCTV

Big Brother is gaining ground in the UK, where citizens are being invited to watch CCTV footage in a "stop thief" type of online game. And it's not only for fun - if they catch a criminal red-handed, they could earn 1,000 pounds.

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Big Brother is gaining ground in the UK, where citizens are being invited to watch CCTV footage in a "stop thief" type of online game. And it's not only for fun - if they catch a criminal red-handed, they could earn 1,000 pounds.

Internet Eyes invites Web users to help fight crime. Shopkeepers and businesses involved in the project are asked to send their CCTV recordings, live, to the site. The would-be-crime-busting observers then scrutinise the pictures for any suspicious behaviour. If they spot something they think looks dodgy, an alert is sent to the property owner by text message. The company advertises that one can earn up to 1,000 pounds a month, although how many criminals you have to catch to do that remains unexplained.

There are around 4.2 million surveillance cameras in the UK, one for every 14 residents. On average, each Brit is filmed 300 times a day. But this new initiative, planned to launch in November, will no doubt raise concerns over individuals' freedom.  

CCTV: the channel that everyone loves to watch

And we’re not talking about the Chinese state-run network. Here’s an example. Video posted by "kngo22086".

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And another. A hold-up in Manchester. Posted by "darren999666".

Using YouTube to catch criminals

This angry Brit didn’t wait for Internet Eyes to share his CCTV experience with the world. He posted this video on YouTube in the hope of finding the burglars.

“There are so many cameras in the UK, that they don’t have enough people to watch them!”

Jean-Marc Manach is one of the organisers of the French Big Brother Awards, which point out abuses of privacy.

Internet Eyes is utilising a current trend in the CCTV culture. Video surveillance is something that scares people, but by turning it into a game, it seems less threatening. You can even get teddies with cameras in them, so that children can say hello to mummy, and she herself can check up on the nanny.

The site will probably work well as it meets three generally well functioning criteria: it's a game, you can win money, and it serves businesses.

In the United States, people watch the Mexican border in order to "defend" their country, something which one would imagine is a personal interest. This Internet Eyes initiative, however, seems quite simply based on financial incentives.

In the end, all this demonstrates is a failing video surveillance system. There are so many cameras in the UK, that they don't have enough people to watch them!