If there’s an internet-connected security camera in your home, office, or at your children’s daycare—or hell, even if you’re just at the mall—you may be streaming live over the internet and not even know it.
On Thursday, that students at an elementary school in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, were being broadcast on a site that streams cameras that haven’t been properly secured. But it’s not just one school. Unsecured cameras are an old-as-time blight on the internet, so much so that art projects have been made using them. And right now, churches, daycares, and places of business across Canada are live and online.
One notorious site is called Insecam, which the CBC focused on, but there are others. A quick dive into the selection of Canadian cameras on these sites quickly turned unsettling.
In a few short hours on Thursday morning, I found two publicly viewable streams that appeared to be coming from daycares or kindergartens in Canada. In one, children were clearly visible eating and napping. (Many daycares offer a webcam service to parents who want to check in on their kids, usually available for a sign-up fee.)
Another stream showed a parish while mass was in progress, with people’s faces clearly visible. Another featured employees at an autobody shop drinking coffee. Another was stamped “UQAT MOCAP STUDIO”—likely for the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue—and showed a motion-capture experiment in progress. A stream on another site allowed me to watch people amble around a shopping mall. I’m not even going to talk about the many bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens streaming live.