Google has been moving towards making its Home and Nest more privacy-oriented, and now it has taken one step towards that for Nest cams.
Google made the announcement this morning on its forums:
As part of our commitment to privacy, we explained that you would always see a clear visual indicator when your Nest cameras are on and sending video and audio to Google. Starting today, we’re rolling out the following changes that no longer allow you to turn off the visual indicators on Nest Cam, Dropcam and Nest Hello:
- In Settings for all Nest Cameras and Nest Hello, now you can dim the light status. When the camera is on, the status light will glow green, the light’s low enough to still be used in any room, even for Nest Cam IQs used in a nursery.
- For Dropcam, when the camera is on, the status light will glow blue.
- On Nest Cam, Dropcam, and Nest Hello, the status light will blink when the camera is live video is streamed from the Nest app.
Users will still be able to obscure the LED by low-tech methods like using a black tape over it or painting over the LED, but some have expressed annoyance at having the option to disable it in software removed completely.
Paranoia has risen over the ability for cameras and mics embedded in our devices to record audio and video surreptitiously and without our consent.
Google’s enforced LED light system is an imperfect solution to this as it strips control away from the users entirely. Some may have legitimate reasons for wanting to hide the LED from prying eyes. On the other hand, one person’s security device is another person’s spycam. There’s a balance to be struck somewhere, but Nest’s users are arguing that this isn’t it.