Cameras meant to eliminate blind spots pick up other cameras' feeds - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Cameras meant to eliminate blind spots pick up other cameras' feeds

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE3) - It's technology meant to protect you and your family from a tragedy - a rear-view camera that can be installed in your vehicle - but we found out that it has a side effect that could give strangers an unintended view inside your business or even your house.

We've gotten used to cameras watching us almost everywhere we go.

Security expert Jonathan Clark says "a lot of people put them in, thinking they're securing the area."

But who is watching the cameras that are watching us?

We found out that, in some cases, the answer is: just about anyone.

We bought a back-up camera system at a local discount store. It's designed to give you a view of your blind spots behind your vehicle through a monitor mounted on your dash.

That same monitor also gave us an unintended peek at the security cameras inside several local businesses. By picking up their wireless signals, we were able to see inside a beauty supply store on Dixie Highway, a liquor store off Interstate 65 and the patio of a Frankfort Avenue bar.

Phillip Glodsborough, who owns the Longshot Tavern on Frankfort Avenue, recently installed a security camera because "bartenders had been asking me for security outside."

So far, he has been happy with the two wireless cameras he installed. "I picked them up at Sam's for less than $50, and a little monitoring system, and it's worked out rather well. They've been happy with it."

When we told Glodsborough that we looked in with a drive-by, he said he wasn't worried. "No actually, I think that's kind of nice. That way, it keeps everybody on the up and up."

But he changed his opinion when we told him about another Louisville business where we watched over and over as a worker opened the register and stuffed it full of cash - potentially valuable information to thieves that the camera was intended to protect the store against.

"Over the cash register, that's kind of personal," Goldsborough said, adding that he doesn't want those kinds of "personal" images broadcast to the public.

Backup cameras are able to pick up even more personal images - ours allowed us to access the wireless signal of the baby monitor of one of our photographers, giving us a direct view right inside his house.

"Anybody could stand outside their home and view that wireless signal," said Clark.

None of what we found is surprising to Clark or his boss, Eddie Pile. "You get what you pay for a lot of times," Pile said.

Both men say the wireless signals we picked up are from inexpensive, unsecured systems that send video over the airwaves.

Clark explained it this way: "Just like you would send out a radio transmission or even over air TV, it's become so cheap and mainstream now that for $200, you can jump online and buy a full range frequency scanner that will pick up all video that you can transmit."

What's more, Clark says it's become a hobby for some people to cruise neighborhoods and see what kind of video they can pick up and post it online.

So what's the answer for the small business owner or homeowner who wants the security of in-house video systems without the risk of someone else looking in?

Clark says it lies in technology - "using wireless over IP."

Cameras available at any electronics store that connect to a WiFi network that can be locked to would be video-voyeurs.

In fact, that technology is so inexpensive - about $200 - that Pile's security company doesn't install it. He says it's something that you can do yourself for around the same cost. He specializes more in commercial security.

Clark says an added benefit is that most IP cameras can be viewed from a PDA or cell phone, so you can check on your home or business wherever you are.

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