A currently live website features streaming footage from internet-connected webcams located around the globe.
There are more than 73,000 cameras featured on the site, all are accessible because the owner of the webcam has not changed their default password.
While some of the footage may appear harmless, like of a parking lot or office, other streams are of people’s private homes, featuring their bedrooms and living rooms in some cases.
Some of the cameras are being used as baby cams, a possible concern for parents.
More than 11,000 cameras are in the United States, and 2,400 in the United Kingdom. Other countries with featured cameras in the thousands include China, South Korea, Mexico, Italy, Colombia, Netherlands, India, and France.
The website, Insecam.com, states on its home page the following explanation as to why the camera feeds are being presented.
“Sometimes administrator (possible you too) forgets to change default password like 'admin:admin' or 'admin:12345' on security surveillance system, online camera or DVR. Such online cameras are available for all internet users. Here you can see thousands of such cameras located in a cafes, shops, malls, industrial objects and bedrooms of all countries of the world. To browse cameras just select the country or camera type.”
Insecam claims it is providing a service to show the importance of security settings.
“This site has been designed in order to show the importance of the security settings. To remove your public camera from this site and make it private the only thing you need to do is to change your camera password.”
A lawyer told The Daily Mail that “looking at someones camera would be a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in the United States as it involves hacking into someone’s password-protected account - even if that password is the default setting.”
Professor James Der Derian, the Director of the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney, called the feeds an invasion of privacy, but also a good lesson for people to learn from.
"The fact is right now we are the most transparent society that has ever existed, and people would still like to believe that they are exercising privacy with bad passwords or not having passwords at all," Professor Der Derian told The Sydney Morning Herald.
"Everybody should treat anything thats being taken – a picture, an image, a video – in the default that this is public access, not private access."
According to Insecam’s IP address, the site originates from Moscow.
If you want to know how to disable your webcam, LifeHacker published a guide a few months ago.