Unsecured Cameras Create Privacy Threat Across U.S.
June 23, 2016
Protection 1 analyzed approximately 6,000 open security cameras across the U.S. and found a disconcerting number of unsecured cameras, creating a significant privacy threat.
The cameras the company analyzed broadcast from homes, businesses, educational institutions, parking lots, churches, and more. Protection 1 defined these open cameras as “cameras placed in public spaces, homes, offices and businesses [that are] operating without password protection (or are still using the default password set by the manufacturer).”
The report produced by Protection 1 went on to say, “These open security cameras are unprotected from malicious individuals and vulnerable to prying eyes. The result? As we go about our daily business, we may, in effect, be broadcasting our lives to the public.”
The problem is not limited to any particular region of the U.S., although big cities seem to have a large concentration of unsecured cameras. “Many of the regions with high concentrations of open security cameras are located near major U.S. cities. In the Northeast, Southeast and parts of the Midwest and western United States, major cities often play host to important international airports, trade ports, and industry hubs.”
The report lists popular cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, New York and Miami as having some of the highest concentrations of unsecured cameras, explaining that population density and security needs factor in to the need for security cameras. “What’s surprising,” the report states, “is that more people in these heavily populated cities haven’t taken the extra step to introduce password protection to their security camera feeds.”
Surprisingly, besides the District of Columbia and Massachusetts, the top 10 worst offending states aren’t home to major U.S. cities or even cities with high population density. “North Dakota ranks first, with 7.8 unsecured camera feeds recorded in operation per 100,000 residents,” Protection 1 reported. “D.C., Montana and Alaska all fall between five and six unsecured cameras. The remaining states (Wyoming, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine and Oregon) all have between 2.7 and three open security cameras.”
When it comes to U.S. cities with the most open security cameras, the top 15 with the highest number per capita are dominated by smaller cities and town names not widely recognizable. “Walnut Creek, Calif., for example, tops the list with nearly 90 unsecured cameras per 100,000 residents. Richardson, Texas, and Torrance, Calif., are neck-and-neck for second place with nearly 73 open security cameras each,” Protection 1 reported, indicating these results may indicate a lower priority among smaller cities with regard to tech privacy and security.
The report also breaks down the types of locations the open cameras are broadcasting from, stating:
- almost 27 percent of unsecured cameras broadcast from businesses or places where transactions occur, such as offices, restaurants and stores;
- more than 42 percent of open security cameras are broadcasting from public spaces or shared facilities such as parks, outdoor areas and parking lots; and
- about 15 percent of the nation’s unsecured cameras are located in homes.
The report concluded that “open security cameras are a widespread problem and should be a top concern for Americans concerned with their own privacy.”
The report can be seen in its entirety at www.Protection 1.com/open-security-cameras.