So, I suppose you might be wondering how I did this and is it really that easy? Well, yes it is, but first I want to make clear that this 'hacking' doesn't involve breaking code, finding out passwords or accessing secure data, but follows Wikipedia's definition as: "A modification of a program or device to give the user access to features that otherwise were unavailable to them."

The cameras are accessible because of lax security and all that's needed is a search term in Google as the cameras are easily recognisable by the numbers in the url.

There's a lot of information already on the web which can be found by searching for "Google Hacks" or "Google Hacks + CCTV". The most useful sites I found were David Merricks's Hacking CCTV Systems with Google and Hackers For Charity. Don't put yourself at the risk of viruses by downloading anything - there are plenty of cameras you can get to in a couple of clicks, so if they ask for information or to download anything, move on.

Here is a list of a selection of the search terms I used for this project:

You can refine your search further by using additional search terms, for example by adding a country or a specialised URL:

inurl:ViewerFrame?Mode=Refresh + site:uk restricts the results to pages from the UK 


inurl:viewerframe?mode= + site:edu restricts the results to educational organisations

Well, that's enough of the hacking class, I'm sure you want to start seeing what's out there...

Thanks to the Centre for Investigative Journalism, where I work and whose excellent courses taught me all I know.

And if that's whetted your appetite and you want to find out what else you can do with Google or share what you find, please get in contact!


Other Photographers Working in this Subject

Trevor Paglen
Paglen uses photography to explore the secret activities of the US military and intelligence agencies - the 'black world'. He works with amateur satellite watchers to track and photograph classified spacecraft in Earth's orbit - The Other Night Sky.

Jill Magid: Evidence Locker
In 2004, Jill spent 31 days in Liverpool, during which time she developed a close relationship with Citywatch (Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council), whose function is citywide video surveillance- the largest system of its kind in England.

Art Forum: Open Secret (log-in required but no charge)
Pamela M Lee looks at the practices of Jill Magid and Trevor Paglen, who, in very different ways, explore the workings of the open secret, and locates the roots of their strategies well beyond the pale of art.