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    Newsweek: Watching the Watchers in the UK

    There’s an interesting story in Newsweek about the massive British CCTV surveillance system. Newsweek reports on how “a new class of guerrilla artists and hackers are commandeering the boring, grainy images of vacant parking lots and empty corridors for their own purposes.” Some of the artists simply ask for the CCTV footage under a provision in the country’s Data Protection Act.

    Others, however, are using illegal means to gather these images. The sad fact is that it’s quite easy to break into surveillance systems’ video feeds.

    For about $80 at any electronics supply store and some technical know-how, it is possible to tap into London‘s CCTV hotspots with a simple wireless receiver (sold with any home-security camera) and a battery to power it. Dubbed “video sniffing,” […] [t]hese excursions pick up obscure, random shots from the upper corners of restaurants and hotel lobbies, or of a young couple shopping in a housewares department nearby. Eerily, baby cribs are the most common images. Wireless child monitors work on the same frequency as other surveillance systems, and are almost never encrypted or secured.

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