We’ve all heard the Rockwell song, “Somebody’s Watching Me,” but the lyrics to this hit are truer now than they ever were in the eighties. From data and location sharing integrated into social networks and our personal devices, live cameras streaming in cities across the US, and smart-home speakers listening into our conversations, privacy can be hard to come by.
At first, it can be a bit unsettling to think about the fact that we’re being watched without our knowledge, but any concerns should fade when you consider that these live cameras are being used to keep us safe and encourage exploration. They also provide traffic and weather updates and allow us to see live videos of cities and landmarks across the world, even the construction process of Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium that hosted Super Bowl LIII last year was live streamed. With that thought in mind, Kastle Systems decided to look into the surveillance cameras found around the top 50 major US cities. They figured out which cities had the most (and least) live streaming cameras, which cameras are the most viewed, and the most common locations for these cameras.
If you’re camera shy, Seattle might not be the place for you. The city has a record 70 cameras across town, the bulk of which serve as traffic cams. That’s over two and a half times the number of cameras found in New York City, which was the runner up with 27 cameras. Most cameras here though serve to stream the infinite NYC skyline. San Diego and San Francisco made it into the top five as well with 16 and 14 cameras, respectively with most of them focused on animals and landmarks. Traffic cameras were also common among the 14 live feeds in Raleigh, NC. Aquariums were a popular theme for live cams in Baltimore and Atlanta.
However, in some cities across the nation, live cameras are few and far between. Both Ohio and Tennessee were popular states with only one camera in their major cities. Louisville and Cincinnati were some other major cities with only one live camera.
Having the most live cameras is one thing, but how many people are actually watching them? Turns out Seattle, which had the most cameras, didn’t even make the top ten for the number of views. However, New York City ranked number two again with 63 million views for those watching a live stream of Times Square. The most viewed place was Bourbon Street with 84 million views. Both are some of the largest tourist attractions and landmarks in the country so it makes sense why viewers all around the globe are tuning into those streams the most.
Other must-see streams include Miami Beach, Hollywood Boulevard, the skylines of Boston and Dallas, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign.
Overall, the most common locations of live cameras were used with the intent of keeping an eye on traffic. The study reveals 129 of the 300 cameras were for traffic, while 39 viewed skylines and 30 watched popular landmarks. The location of other popular live streams include beaches, zoos, animals, falcons, stadiums, and aquariums.
Chances are if you visit a popular tourist attraction or live in a big city, there’s bound to be a live camera somewhere in your vicinity. Whether the idea of being on camera sits well with you or not, these cameras are meant to be interesting to watch and provide a virtual window to the whole entire world through technology.