Bolstered by advertisements with phrases such as “a sense of reassurance and safety,” an increasing number of password-protected Web cameras have been installed at places such as nursery schools and children’s playrooms in condominiums to let parents remotely monitor their children via personal computer or cell phone.
Yet due to such factors as misconfiguring the webcam during Internet access setup, some supposed “limited-access” sites were left accessible to anyone, even without passwords, potentially allowing “Peeping Toms” to view the otherwise private images for pleasure.
“Even if such images concerning people’s private lives are disseminated without their knowledge, it’s currently difficult to bring criminal charges against those whose negligence allowed the security breach,” an expert said. “It’ll be necessary to impose some privacy rules regarding the accessibility and use of such images.”
Tadaaki Muto, a lawyer knowledgeable about problems concerning monitoring cameras, said, “It’s possible that recorded images might unwittingly be released via webcams due to configuration errors or security problems. But do those who have installed webcams sufficiently make their clients aware of such potential risks? On the other hand, even if such images were released unwittingly, such mishaps currently aren’t be considered crimes. In the future, it’ll become necessary to establish privacy rules over how those images are used.”
Read more on Yomiuri Shimbun. The article provides a few detailed examples of how what was supposed to limited-access or password-protected access wasn’t. It’s interesting that they are talking about rules about access to and use of such webcam images and have already seemingly abandoned any thought of holding people accountable if they misconfigure the settings or expose what they shouldn’t be exposing.