In 2014, Insecam listed over 73,000 unsecured security cameras worldwide, with 11,046 of those open security cameras in the U.S. That number is constantly fluctuating. Today, for example, there are 5,064 unsecured cameras in the U.S. In December 2015, over a span of two days, the unprotected cameras in the U.S. changed from 4,104 to 5,604. A fact that does not change is that the U.S. is still number one for unsecured security cameras – having more than any other nation in the world.
When the security firm Protection 1 analyzed “approximately 6,000 open security cameras across the U.S.”—those that had been listed on Insecam—the firm broke down the data by top states and top cities running cameras that are not locked down and can be viewed by anyone online.
The top 10 states with unsecured security cameras are:
- North Dakota has 7.79 per 100,000 residents.
- Washington, D.C. has 5.80 per 100,000 residents.
- Montana has 5.42 per 100,000 residents.
- Alaska has 5.01 per 100,000 residents.
- Wyoming has 2.90 per 100,000 residents.
- Vermont has 2.88 per 100,000 residents.
- Massachusetts has 2.87 per 100,000 residents.
- Maine has 2.78 per 100,000 residents.
- Oregon has 2.73 per 100,000 residents.
- Kansas has 2.71 per 100,000 residents.
Protection 1 took exception to the fact that there are so many unsecured security cameras in Washington, D.C.
“Regardless of its comparative size and population density, you might expect Washington, D.C., by its very nature, to prioritize security,” the firm said. “Considering the sensitive nature of life in our nation’s capital, one would hope that Washington’s security camera feeds were password protected.”
The top 15 cities with unsecured security cameras are:
- Walnut Creek, California – 89.69 per 100,000 residents
- Richardson, Texas – 72.74 per 100,000 residents
- Torrance, California – 72.55 per 100,000 residents
- Newark, New Jersey – 38.07 per 100,000 residents
- Corvallis, Oregon – 37.98 per 100,000 residents
- Rancho Cucamonga, California – 36.76 per 100,000 residents
- Ann Arbor, Michigan – 34.18 per 100,000 residents
- Orlando, Florida – 34.05 per 100,000 residents
- Eau Claire, Wisconsin – 22.21 per 100,000 residents
- Albany, New York – 20.32 per 100,000 residents
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – 19.95 per 100,000 residents
- Boston, Massachusetts – 19.04 per 100,000 residents
- Middletown, New Jersey – 18.09 per 100,000 residents
- Greenville, South Carolina – 17.92 per 100,000 residents
- Noblesville, Indiana – 17.69 per 100,000 residents
The biggest majority of those cameras are broadcasting from the great outdoors, such as parks, followed by parking lots, homes, restaurants, offices, businesses, streets, educational institutions and religious institutions.
The most troublesome finding, from a privacy perspective, is that 15 percent of those cameras are in Americans’ homes—and that is despite years after the list of cameras was widely reported. Since then, good Samaritans have devoted hours and hours of their time attempting to contact people in households to let them know anyone can watch them via their own cameras if they don’t change the default password and lock them down with a unique password.
As Protection 1 pointed out, “Open security cameras are a widespread problem and should be a top concern for Americans concerned with their own privacy. Even if you take particular care to remove the unsecured cameras from within your home, the grocery store you visit every week might be broadcasting your shopping habits to the online world.”