Thousands of web cams across the globe are open and accessible to anyone via a simple Google search.
The proliferation of cheap, wireless IP security cameras has created an unparalleled level of surveillance of homes, businesses and public areas, but what users might not know is that without proper security measures enacted, many of these cameras can be accessed with a simple Google search. Even just by typing the brand names of IP cameras in Google and you’ll find lists of URLs for live open camera monitors. This is old hat in the programming world and there are now websites devoted to cataloging open camera feeds reveal glimpse across the globe: a living room in Milwaukee, a frozen, empty beach in the Carolinas, a busy assembly line at a Kentucky distillery, sundown on a hilltop in Spain, an empty street in South Korea, a marina in St Lucia, a parking lot in Russia, bartenders counting the till at the end of the night in Osaka. While some users seem to have left the camera feeds open on purpose, whether to show off their aquarium or deck view, it seems unlikely that nanny-cam trained on a child’s room or home kitchen would have been installed if the owner knew live feed (along with IP address location) was being broadcast to passing strangers on the internet.