OWNERS of the biggest smart doorbell brands have been warned that footage could be taken from their devices without asking first.
A recent report claimed that Ring has shared homeowners’ footage with law enforcement without their knowledge at least 11 times this year.
And now it’s emerged Google could be doing the same.
The firm’s terms of service state that it may hand over video from Nest doorbells to police in extreme life threatening situations.
“If we reasonably believe that we can prevent someone from dying or from suffering serious physical harm, we may provide information to a government agency,” the company says.
“For example, in the case of bomb threats, school shootings, kidnappings, suicide prevention and missing persons cases.
“We still consider these requests in light of applicable laws and our policies.”
A spokesperson told CNET that Google “may disclose information to law enforcement without a subpoena or a warrant” – at least in the US, under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
The piece of law in question states content may be provided “if the provider, in good faith, believes that an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person requires disclosure without delay of communications relating to the emergency”.
But the spokesman said Google tries to give users notice when such rare cases occur.
Ring – which is owned by Amazon – has previously said it’s “simply untrue that Ring gives anyone unfettered access to customer data or video, as we have repeatedly made clear to our customers and others”.
And it has denied some requests that have come through.
But others that make video doorbells, such as Arlo, Eufy and Wyze, have said they would never give video out without a warrant first.
Some devices, including Ring, offers end-to-end encryption which would prevent anyone from taking video – though in Ring’s case it’s not on by default, you’d need to switch it on yourself.
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