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Firm to pay Aussies for spying on UK shoplifters

This article initially appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

Australians keen on a bit of armchair surveillance can now join Britain's fight against crime by monitoring CCTV footage live from the UK and earn up to £250 ($386.87) a month by doing so.

English-based website Internet Eyes has in 2013 started streaming Down Under 10-minute clips from businesses including supermarkets. It first spoke of an Australian launch in 2009.

Subscribers who see an act of shoplifting or anti-social behaviour in the aisles can send an online alert to the business.

"We've had dozens of requests from people in Australia to be able to access the site ... people are fascinated by the fact that they can make a difference from their own home," Internet Eyes founder Tony Morgan told AAP.

Business owners pay to have the cameras installed and managed, and monitors need to buy a STG1.99 ($A3.10) per month subscription enabling them to view.

"We have to charge viewers so that we have a little bit of control, so if they abuse the system we can lock them out," Mr Morgan said.

Australia is the first southern hemisphere country where access to the site has been made available, and Mr Morgan said he hopes to make use of the time difference, providing 'coverage' when his European viewers are sleeping.

"Hopefully we can also roll out a network of cameras in Australia, which can be monitored by people here [in the UK]," he said.

"We've had an Australian lawyer look at it and he's come back with a positive, there don't seem to be any legal problems with it being used down there."

Mr Morgan denies Internet Eyes is capitalising on free labour and points out that viewers are eligible for payment.

"We reward ... for each successful spotting and those build up over the month and the people that see the most get paid the most," he said.

"It's very important that Internet Eyes is seen not as prize money, but as reward money. Just as if someone witnesses a crime in the street and reports it to police, they will often be eligible for a reward."

Payment is based on a user's rank on a leaderboard and users can earn up to a month. "There's a new opportunity for cash rewards for over 80 people every month of up to £250 ($386.87)," Internet Eye's website states.

On average, Mr Morgan said there are about 35 'hits' per day, of which up to 40 per cent end up as proven incidents.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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