“Stasi-style” CCTV alert website reignites civil rights row in UK

October 9th, 2010 - 2:47 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Oct 9(ANI): A new website that allows anyone in the United Kingdom to monitor commercial CCTV footage live online as a “Stasi-style citizen spy game” has reignited the row over whether it is more important to protect the public or defend civil liberties.

Internet Eyes will pay up to 1,000 pounds to subscribers who regularly report suspicious activity such as shoplifting.

However, civil rights campaigners claim that the website, which was launched on Monday, “marks another dubious chapter in Britain’s surveillance society” history.

James Welch, legal director at the civil rights group Liberty said: “What we don’t want is vigilante bounty hunters.”

“We’re all responsible citizens - if we see a crime we should report it to the police. We shouldn’t be paying people to watch out for crimes. It should be done by proper professionals,” Sky News quoted Welch, as saying.

The website, which evoked images of Stasi-style surveillance seen in the 2006 film ‘The Lives of Others’, is designed to tackle shoplifting by enabling viewers to spot the crimes live as they happen online and then click an alert button to notify the business owner within moments.

Every viewer is allowed five alerts each month to prevent abuse of the system.

Internet Eyes’ boss Tony Morgan said: “All we’re doing is trying to reduce shoplifting. There are no voyeuristic opportunities to be had.”

The UK is the world’s most spied upon nation due to an abundance of surveillance cameras. (ANI)

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