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Lifestyle & Human Interest

IKEA Restroom Nightmare: Cameras Found in Disturbing Area You Wouldn't Expect

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There’s a point when things done in the name of protecting safety and privacy start to violate safety and privacy — and it appears that an IKEA in England may have crossed that line.

Recently, when a light went out in a bathroom at the Peterborough IKEA Distribution Centre at Kingston Park, a member of staff noticed something they’d never seen before: Between the gaps in the ceiling panels, they spotted an infrared light.

Further investigation revealed that there was a CCTV camera installed inconspicuously, normally hidden by the panels and the brightness of the lights.

As the story traveled, more staff members discovered more cameras in both the men and women’s restrooms. According to the Peterborough Telegraph, though no concrete number has been shared, there were multiple cameras found.

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While CCTV cameras are allowed in “sensitive” areas such as bathrooms and changing rooms, data protection laws require that it only be under “exceptional circumstances,” according to the Telegraph.

When staff pressed management for an answer, they were told the cameras were installed in 2015 but have been non-operational for some time.

“We take the protection of our co-workers’ safety and privacy very seriously,” a spokesperson told the Telegraph. “In 2015, for the purpose of maintaining a safe workplace for all co-workers, surveillance cameras were installed in the void above the ceilings in the bathrooms and locker areas, and in the corridors outside of these rooms at the Peterborough Distribution Centre.

“Investigations into this issue are ongoing and we are working hard to remove the cameras as a matter of priority. We understand the discovery of these cameras may be concerning, and during this time we are offering support to co-workers on-site.”

Understandably, the workers haven’t been thrilled with that response.

“I have never heard anything like it before. I am struggling to take it in,” one employee said. “How on earth did anyone think that was ever acceptable? There must have been thousands of people that might have had their privacy breached in those toilets, there are so many workers that come and go from the place.”

Others have pointed out that if the cameras weren’t working, the staff shouldn’t have been able to see the infrared light, and yet another employee pointed out that “[t]hey were not wireless cameras, there is a whole network of cable.”

People identifying themselves as former employees of the business have commented on social media shares of the story to add their angle.

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“The cameras were reported in 2016 when I worked there they have had plenty of time to remove them if they wanted to,” one person wrote on the original Peterborough Telegraph post.

Some have voiced outrage, others shock, and a good few have taken the opportunity to make fun of the whole situation.

“Eye-kea,” wrote one. “Cheeky,” wrote another. “Classic Peterborough,” a third chimed in.

Some people pointed out that the cameras were probably intended to aid in loss prevention. One person commented that it would be a bit difficult to hide a dresser on your person, though, and another quipped that perhaps Ikea was trying to crack down on the employees who must be stealing that last baggie of screws that always seem to be missing from the kits.

Whatever the original reason for installing the cameras and the justification for keeping them in place, it certainly seems as though the staff will be a little more comfortable once the allegedly outdated cameras are removed.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking