August 15, 2019

Google Forcing Nest Cameras Visual Indicator Light To Be On

Nest email earlier this week:

You will be able to dim the light on your camera, but it will always be on when the camera is on. We’re doing this to make sure you, and those around your camera, are aware when the camera is on and recording.

Not happy with this. I use a Nest Cam on each of my kids bedroom — rest of the house is covered with Wyze cams.

The upgrade” applied automatically today and it’s bothersome. A green light on a very conspicuous place, as any (non creepy) camera should be. Since a clear line of sight to the whole room is the obvious place for it.

I always know that my camera is on. That’s the point. Just like if I see a camera, I assume it’s recording, why wouldn’t it be? I get the AirBnB angle, but those are sensational headline grabbers compared to the regular use case.

How’s this different from MacBook’s green light? Because it’s a single use device. It’s a camera. At least on the Mac Apple argues the camera can’t be used without the light being on because hardware. Here’s the other way around… we know the light can be off while recording, how long before someone sharpies over it and now there’s uncertainty?

It’s great that privacy is taking a front seat again. But this sounds like a dumb move to cover up for other real privacy concerns. At least in my case, it’ll mean I won’t be buying any more Nest cameras.

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