This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of a SNAFU like this, where virtual wires got crossed inside a video surveillance company’s own back end, causing customers not only to lose track of their own video cameras but also to gain access to someone else’s.

In one case, three years ago, a user of a cloud video service offered by a UK company called Swann received a video notification that showed surveillance footage from the kitchen

…just not the kitchen in the user’s own house.

Amusingly, if that is the right word, the victim in this incident just happened to be a BBC staffer, relaxing at the weekend, who was gifted an ideal story to write up in the upcoming week.

In that incident, the camera vendor blamed human error, with two cameras accidentally set up with a “unique identifier” that wasn’t unique at all, leaving the system unable to decide which camera belonged to which account.

Alhough the vendor dismissed it as a “one off”, the BBC tracked down an even more amusing (though no less worrying) occurrence of the same problem in which a user received a surveillance video of a property that looked like a pub.

With a few days of search engine wrangling, that user managed to identify the pub online, only to find out that it was, by fluke, just 5 miles away.

So he went there and took a picture of himself in the beer garden, via the pub landlord’s webcam, but using his own online account:

Dark World – A Guide to the Global Surveillance Industry