Remote control internet cameras are raising privacy concerns, with experts warning they could expose families to strangers, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.
Also, homes equipped with these devices, which can be controlled by a mobile phone, could turn households into reality shows for voyeurs, the report said.
Users should create secure passwords and watch out for server malfunctions that could allow hackers to attack vulnerabilities in the system, the experts were quoted as saying.
The devices, called IP cameras because they broadcast images via the internet, are popular among Hongkongers who want to keep an eye on their homes, especially if they have small children in the care of a helper.
But these devices are far from fool-proof.
Last month, a woman complained that her IP camera had been hacked and the serial number stolen after noticing that the image on her screen was that of another home.
She said she had bought the camera to help her look after her children when not at home but was not told that she had to set up a password.
The vendor is investigating the incident, the report said.
Meanwhile, a lawyer said unauthorized viewing of people and private premises such as those in the IP camera system are in breach of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.
Offenders face imprisonment of up to five years.
An IP camera costs between HK$300 (US$38.70) and HK$700, with built-in functions that may include night vision, rotatable lens and sound.
It takes only minutes to complete the set-up but some stores don’t mention setting up passwords, the report said.
Alan Chan, chief executive of Alris Technology, which sells more than 1,000 IP cameras a month, said buyers should create secure passwords and save data in memory cards rather than in servers in order to protect privacy.
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