iSpy Cameras for iPhone review
iSpy Cameras is a novel, some might say suspect, iPhone app that lets users check locations around the world via CCTV style cameras. The novelty extends further as the cameras are billed as being live and in many cases can be controlled by the viewer.
Displayed as a gallery of moving images, you simply tap the screen to view any camera in more detail. Those cameras vary from sharp and detailed to fuzzy and jerky, while some simply don't work at all. The views contrast from scenic shots of picturesque locations, beaches for instance, to bustling cityscapes, speeding traffic and manufacturing sites.
Those concerned about privacy should note cameras in stores, bars, hotels, colleges, parks and general public places are among the most popular as rated by users. Such is the detail and clarity it’s possible at times to view, for instance, if someone is wearing a wedding ring, or what type of beer they are drinking.
More worryingly, one camera we viewed on a college campus quickly zoomed in on the cleavage of one unsuspecting young woman. It wasn't clear to us if this intrusion was being controlled by the iPhone user, or security company responsible for that particular camera location. Whichever, it begs the question – who watches the watchers?
While picture quality is dependent on camera location, results appear to take longer to focus using a 3G connection. Even on Wi-Fi you need sometimes to be patient for the picture to become clear and wait your turn to control cameras.
Sadly, despite the Big Brother like nature of living in the UK, cameras are severely limited to the odd one or two at any one time. The search function, which promises to explore the database of cameras by category, country, state, city or keyword, is somewhat lacking, producing zero local results each time we tried.
iSpy Cameras is an addictive iPhone app and occasionally compulsive viewing, despite or because of the ability to effectively spy on the lives of others. At the very least it’s a reminder that we are rarely alone, our everyday, often mundane lives, open to scrutiny from unseen eyes.