CCTV cameras in British schools face further criticism after they were hacked and streamed online, sparking outrage by parents.
An American website which allows to viewers to watch video streams of insecure cameras has been found to have footage of at least four schools.
More than 200 schools across the UK use security cameras in toilets, according to a report by anti-surveillance advocacy group Big Brother Watch in 2012.
Pictured, a CCTV camera installed in a toilet at Summerhill School in Kingswinford, West Midlands, where parents expressed outrage after finding out they were installed last year
It is safe to assume that these numbers have increased, with the National Education Union releasing guidance on how CCTV should be deployed within schools.
The guidance discusses appropriate placement of cameras, clear notification of their placement and the retention of images, but barely mentions the security of the devices.
Vulnerability of these cameras appears to be widespread, after an investigation by The Daily Star on Sunday revealed live images from the playgrounds, entrances and corridors of at least four schools.
Szczepan Warhol, 40, had footage from his child’s school, St Mary’s Catholic Academy in Blackpool, pop up online.
St Mary’s Catholic Academy in Blackpool, pictured, is one of at least four schools that has had its CCTV footage broadcast online
Seven CCTV cameras were also live streamed from Highfield Leadership Academy in Blackpool, pictured, where they teach 1,130 pupils aged between 11 and 16
Speaking to The Daily Star on Sunday, he said: ‘It’s completely shocking. I think they should have CCTV at the school to make it secure, but they need to improve this situation now.’
Privacy concerns have long been raised by parents who believe the use of CCTV cameras in school can increase levels of paranoia.
According to The Star, seven CCTV cameras were also live streamed from Highfield Leadership Academy, also in Blackpool, which teaches 1,130 pupils aged between 11 and 16.
Pictured, a CCTV camera installed in a toilet at Summerhill School in Kingswingford, West Midlands
One Highfield parent, who preferred not to be identified, told the Sunday paper: ‘Oh, my god. It’s disgusting looking at children. How can they be allowed to run so many cameras if they can’t protect them?’
Christ the King, a primary school adjoined to St Mary’s, also had its cameras streamed, according The Daily Star on Sunday.
The US website streaming the footage has defended showing the video from the schools, saying that the cameras should have better protection and that no hack took place.
There are many sites like it.
Insecam streams thousands of CCTV cameras from around the world in order to show the importance of security but also to create a sort of community of online voyeurs.
But the recent revelations have caused the Information Commissioner’s Office – in charge of data protection and right to privacy in the UK – to launch an investigation.
Data collectors, to which schools deploying CCTV systems are considered, are typically held responsible when breaches occur.
School representatives have yet to make a comment.