A Calgary man is coming forward with his concerns after discovering a website that features live security camera feeds from around the world.
“A couple months ago we got a parcel taken from our front door and I looked into getting a doorbell camera,” Bill Douros explained.
“It was real easy to set up but then I was curious if anyone else could see our feed because we have kids playing.”
Douros said he found some forums that listed popular webcams and then realized that there were more than a dozen in Calgary.
After searching the website, called Insecam, Douros said he realized something was wrong.
“I don’t know if people are aware that their signal is being broadcast out for anyone to find it, if they know how to find it,” he said.
“A lot of those people don’t know they’re broadcasting their personal moments at home, like peoples’ living rooms or basements.”
On the website, live feeds of people’s front steps, workspaces and private homes are open to the public.
“Some people might have intimate moments and they don’t know they’re being watched. It’s really creepy.”
Global News reached out to the website for comment but did not receive a response.
On the website, it states that a private or unethical camera will be removed immediately upon an e-mail complaint. The other option is for people to reset the default password on their camera.
“These IP cameras stream over their WiFi so it’s connected to their internet and they must make sure their internet is also password protected,” Calgary police Staff Sgt. Mark England said.
“There’s definitely an onus on the individuals to make sure they have taken appropriate steps to lock their security up when they’re using these types of devices.”
England said the website is not illegal and that sometimes people will knowingly upload their security camera for the public to see.
“Businesses will find creative uses so they can enhance their customer service,” England explained. “Or the public at large who have an interest in streaming parks or roadways.”
England also underlined the very real risks for people who don’t have their security camera protected.
Calgary cybersecurity expert Harry Diamantopoulos said the risk extends to any smart home technology and people need to look at their WiFi router first if they’re concerned about their security.
“The home router is the heart of the home network and that needs to be secured,” Diamantopoulos said. “The first thing that anybody should do is to change that password on that router.”
“People may not even be aware that there are security risks by not changing that password.”
That’s why Douros has been tracking down the owners of some of the cameras, one of them as far away as Taiwan.
“It was a café and it had a sign with their name on it so I found them on Facebook,” Douros said. “I was talking to the guy live as he was looking at the camera and he took it down as soon as I let him know.”
“Some people might have intimate moments and they don’t know they’re being watched.”