If they would spend more time shipping features I might not care as much but they have done nothing and instead they ship this stupid “feature”. They don’t allow us to train the cameras to ignore moving trees or shadows, repetitive noise like birds cawing, or fix their “familiar face” functionality. I’ve had complete strangers identified as being a familiar face, and I’ve also had cars identified as a familiar face.
Google is a terrible consumer product company.
It seems like I'm not the only one annoyed at nest lately though. I actually backed a indiegogo last week called Camect that hopefully will fix a lot of these issues and you don't even need to replace the nest cameras, though you can if you want to. I recommend checking it out!
Given Google has access to my and my partner's calendars, why not link them and use that instead, and cut the AI shit?
My house has two floors but a single Hvac zone. The ecobee is set to consider temp from both upstairs and downstairs during the day but only cares about upstairs at night. It also circulates the air in the house every hour for a bit.
The end result has been far and away better than before in terms of efficiency and comfort.
There are companies like Keen selling net-connected vent baffles, but the price is still really prohibitive. Like $1500 to do a house prohibitive. And then it's still not integrated with the thermostat.
An Ecobee-compatible vent baffle for $30-$50? That would be a no-brainer.
Most thermostats are in the neighborhood of $25-$50, so $250 for a thermostat that offers marginal utility is a hard sell.
At this point in time you see some utilities offering setback thermostats (smart and non-smart) as a way to help smooth demand during peak usage periods.
Some of the better ones run promotions and offer rebates on Nests and Ecobees, but these units still are completely dumb when it comes to talking to the utilities. My electricity provider has real-time pricing and smart meters (with Zigbee interfaces) that are connected to HQ, but there is still no way to move that information to the wall unit. They offer a 3G-connected modulation unit for A/C compressors, but that's directly connected to HQ and the consumer has no other way to interact with it other than overriding it.
If things really start getting bad out there (e.g. Texas this week^), that will be the motivation to improve this ecosystem.
Nest isn't popular because of its functionality, it's popular because it's associated with Google and trendy to own. It's going to be hard for another company to break into that market.
I actually just moved a few weeks ago and have nests, and aside from looking a bit prettier on the wall, they are far inferior. I kind of want to replace them, but am hesitant since people coo over them.
The fact that no one talks about Honeywell reminds me of Zune back in the day. It was (ok arguably) a better product, everyone that had one loved it, but it just didn't seem "cool" since it was made from an old-school company and died on the vine.
At the very least, it looks like the lack of exposed onvif / rtsp on Nest cameras is an issue that will mean I can't avoid the high subscription price and bandwidth use (and it's the bandwidth that bugs me, I'd rather store HQ to disk locally whilst transcode to a lower def for the cloud, and then have it be my cloud accounts).
I just cancelled the ~$11/mo, 10-day playback subscription for all but one of my nest cams.
Disclaimer: I work for Amazon, in a job unrelated to Ring
I have concerns with how Amazon love to collect data, mine data, use it to find new profit areas.
Applying this logic to Ring produces not-nice outcomes.
It's like being an airplane engineer for a living, making great money, and then promising your neighbor that you'll fix the brakes on their car for 20 bucks. Maybe...one day, when you're bored, you'll get around to it, but it's definitely not your priority.
Exactly my point. Even your user experience, privacy, security, developer experience is secondary. There are many examples of these being ignored on the internet. I gave up on Android because of the broken UX. I cannot just keep turning off spellcheck on my phone/tablet after every Android update when it resets back to the defaults. iOS has much better UX from this point of view, I "waste" significantly less time on fighting with the OS.
Bad actors will just disable the light in a myriad of ways. People will still mistrust cameras because the light can be disabled. Drawing over the light with permanent marker (or doing something temporary like putting tape over it) doesn't even create a small barrier of entry for people secretly recording. If they want to secretly record, it's not significantly harder now than it was yesterday.
The only thing this is supposed to accomplish is appeasing people that don't understand technology yet make a ruckus over Google disrespecting privacy. Now Google can say "no look, we do!" and those people will complain about something else.
Also, microphones and cameras need physical switches to enable them, not software switches. Preferably with an LED indicator too.
This is what I did with the electric fuel pump on my car. A dash light connected to the power lead, and a physical switch. There's also a low oil pressure switch that'll interrupt the power to the fuel pump.
I have been holding back on deciding which home automation ecosystem I want to buy into. I was leaning towards Google and Nest was our first step into that direction. However I’m now increasingly of the opinion that I should just continue to build it out with devices where I have control over the firmware.
I guess that’s the kind of massively unlikely scenario that you never imagined could be possible ;)
An obvious explanation would be that the child is in care/education during the day while the parent works.
2. Duct tape/sharpie
(2) there's a nice product called LightDims that are removable. Little stickers that are about 95% opaque.
You can also use colored electrical tape as it is opaque (buy quality tape like the 3M brand). I've found that the best colors to use are white or yellow. Other colors work too but let less light through like red, magenta, and blue. Though those darker colors are beneficial for very bright LEDs.
I taped over all the annoying LED's on my router, switch, and low power server which live in my bedroom on my desk. It went from discotheque to barely noticeable.
The light could be designed to not be disruptive even to a baby, or you could build a physical switch into the device to turn the light off.
It just shouldn't be remotely configurable because that undermines some of the purpose of the indicator.
1: If the internet goes out, I can't even monitor locally. With IP cameras, it doesn't matter if the internet goes out.
2: Since the camera is always transmitting to the cloud, I don't want to use a very high-resolution option, which would eat up too much upstream bandwidth. What I really want is to have moderate-quality footage going to the cloud and high-def footage whenever I go to check it in real time. With an IP camera, it's only transmitting when I'm actually connected to the feed.
 On those early models it was relatively trivial to upload malicious firmware which was widely reported and verified.
Everything I’ve seen is the exact opposite. Care to share a source confirming your belief?
1) “Forcing Google to do so through a government court order that leads to a firmware update to that specific camera”
What other methods besides “issue Google-signed firmware to the device” are you implying exist (“a myriad of ways”), that are obvious enough to be taken for granted without further explanation?
I can’t see them, and so unfortunately I must request that explanation.
The light is software controlled, as this very change clearly demonstrates. The fact Google can turn and off the light at a whim suggests an attacker could. Your defense of this being possible is based on a vague theory of infallible security.
You even seem to use a fictional quote to that end:
> What other methods besides “issue Google-signed firmware to the device” are you implying exist
Who are you quoting? What are you quoting? And where can I read up on google's infallible firmware signing strategy that you're implying has the ability to block exploits and bugs?
Despite claims to the contrary you're less "requesting an explanation" and more making several unsupported security claims, then asking people to refute your claims as if they were factual in nature.
If this device was as secure as you imply that would be quite unique for smart home devices in general, and software in general for that matter.
In my words:
Nest devices had security issues in the past .
It’s very likely that they still have issues today (like most software). Once a hacker gains enough control of the device she can turn off the led because it’s software controlled.
"And where can I read up on google's infallible firmware signing strategy that you're implying has the ability to block exploits and bugs?"
I have no clue where on the scale of "state action" -> "bribed/coerced insider" -> "disgruntled ex google employee" -> "Elbonian strip kiddie" you need to be to "control that lamp", but I'm 100% certain that the reality is that the capability to revert this new lamp behaviour is not exclusively in the hands of authorised Google employees...
It's exactly the same as the current encryption bullshit. If there's a backdoor for law enforcement, there's a backdoor. If there's a remote way for Google to update the Nest software - there's an exploitable remote way to update the software.
This is (quite obviously?) wrong. One doesn't imply the other at all in any way shape or form. If this were true, there wouldn't be a single device on the planet, including phones, servers, etc. with remote update functionality that would be secure, ever.
>If there's a backdoor for law enforcement, there's a backdoor.
duh? But I think what you are trying to imply is that "there is a backdoor that criminals could use" - which is also wrong. As long as the implementation is correct and the key isn't leaked, this is completely secure. Of course it'd be insane to have one key being able to unlock essentially all communication within a huge system, because chances are it might be leaked eventually, but that has absolutely zero impact on the fundamental possibility of making this system secure.
You're so, so close to waking up from the matrix. Very excited to have you join us in the real world soon! Follow the white rabbit.
Perhaps malicious code will be produced which will only take single frame shots, never staying on cycle long enough to trigger the light.
Or it will go unnoticed because it flashes on and off so quickly.
I wasn't even considering remote attackers, but I'd imagine it's not a large step from [compromising a remote camera such that you can remotely record] to [compromising a remote camera such that you can control other software features while remotely recording].
I admit this update does make it a bit more difficult (for now?) for remote hackers to secretly record people; I'd be interested to see how prevalent that is compared to people actually just recording people with their own cameras.
Oh wait, that breaks Google's business model of spying on people, plus it does nothing to the microphones on this thing.
(Yes, a shutter that blocks microphones can be designed, but it's a hard problem.)
On the other hand, we know that the light is obviously software controlled, so now we're going to get people used to the idea that "light on == camera on/ light off == camera off", and then when the camera gets inevitably hacked, people will be a lot less cautious if the light is off, assuming the camera is off.
-- How To Keep Your Volkswagon Alive
But then in 2013 some researchers figured out that actually the camera unit is an entire system-on-a-chip, with a configuration register accessible on an i2c bus, so they could write some malware which first re-configures the camera to ignore the standby signal, and then turn it on...
The paper notes that many camera units have a separate power connection for the CMOS sensor itself, which would be more secure. And I hope later-model macbooks have fixed it. But I guess this shows that it possible to get even seemingly bullet-proof solutions wrong.
(As a more practical problem, I have also seen suggestions that it's possible to turn on the camera, take a photo, and turn it back off again too quick for the LED to be noticable, and if you do that several times per second you could capture low-frame-rate video without the green light, so even a hardware solution might not be perfectly secure.)
It's trivial to add a capacitor or hardware timer to illuminate indication light for some time after the camera loses power.
Wonder if malware could do reconfigure some chips (not necessarily macbook one) to go into parasitic power mode or something, that is when the power is supposedly off they keep running with power taken from some data connection.
Consider this sensor https://martybugs.net/electronics/tempsensor/hardware.cgi
If someone used such a sensor and overlooked the parasitic mode, then that could be used even when the power was physically shut off.
Even in the webcam case, powering the camera CCD would take significantly more power than is supplied by the data line. You can derive this for yourself without taking one apart by realizing that the power is supplied separately for a reason.
Further, it's not the case that this would work when the power is "physically shut off". If there's no power then there's no power.
You want to sell cameras in this country? The on indicator light must be hard wired.
With exception for some professional grade equipment, or the ability to physically cover the indicator light when the recording environment requires it, for whatever reason.
I understand what you're getting at: you want to protect average people from predatory device manufacturers who would make an Internet-connected camera and then spy on their customers.
But requiring non-disableable lights by law has unintended consequences.
> I understand what you're getting at: you want to protect average people from predatory device manufacturers who would make an Internet-connected camera and then spy on their customers.
> But requiring non-disableable lights by law has unintended consequences.
Just wanted to mention, it's illegal to sell a phone with camera in Japan that does not make an audible shutter sound. Japanese people don't seem to be too bothered by it.
Besides, in the best case we would get what we had with DVD-players almost twenty years ago. Each DVD-player sold could read only the DVD's released in its region. Until you entered some code with the remote control; then it could play every DVD you threw at it.
But seems to intentionally disregards that I did try to address your concerns in my previous comment.
I did write "With exceptions for some ... equipment, or the ability to physically cover the indicator light when ... recording ... for whatever reason."
Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith. - https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html
Then they added an all setting that let me toggle the always on capability and I realized it was just a software button and that in theory it could listen in whenever and I'd never know. The lack of reliable user controlled methods of limiting recording devices is disappointing. Is there some sort of sound dampening material that could be made into a cover for devices like this?
But we won't know for sure. As you say in the next line, it's software controlled, so it could be showing the light and recording nothing, or vice versa, or behaving as documented.
Like, maybe not tracking your every movement, search, interest, thought, fear, and desire to turn you into clicks for money?
Or hey, maybe give you total control of the information they collect on you?
Nah, let’s turn the LED on and tout our commitment to privacy!
What's wrong with "My Activity"? It gives you access to all data stored in your account and lets you delete all or pieces of it.
I've been discussing/arguing recently about whether being able to prove you've deleted the encryption keys for PII that you have on on long term backups/archives is something we'd want to explain to a judge or jury while the opposing counsel keeps saying "But they didn't delete the data! Show me when they deleted the data!"
> I've been discussing/arguing recently about whether being able to prove you've deleted the encryption keys for PII that you have on on long term backups/archives is something we'd want to explain to a judge or jury while the opposing counsel keeps saying "But they didn't delete the data! Show me when they deleted the data!"
What would an implementation of that look like? Would it rely on hardware keys or something? Because otherwise, even if you can prove you deleted a key (which seems very hard to prove a negative), how can you prove that no copy of the key exists? The same questions can be had for plain unencrypted data deletion as well.
While I may be more confident if I was under GDPR, I'm not and I fear the same safeguards will not be in place.
Similiar to how laws prevent your own country from spying on you but getting another country to spy on your own citizens is not.
This seems a rather complex thing to do when the cheaper solution would be to just not bother. I don’t trust google but I do expect companies to be lazy and avoid doing heaps of work for no financial benefit.
The benefit that google obtains from our data is in using it to train their ML tech. So after it has been milked for its statistical value as personised data it doesn’t have much worth.
It seems really wrong that I am "allowed" to add electrical tape, but not to click a checkbox.
As a consumer of 5 of these things I hate them glowing at me. Any sane person should simply assume that if a camera is aimed at you it is recording...
It also shows boot status..
Being able to disable the light was a feature, now it is not. I likely would have not bought these if the ability to disable the light was not a shipping feature.
And I would really not care if all new devices being activated did not have this feature. But I do care that my devices will stop working one way and start working another way.
My wife just freaked out and wanted to know why the lite was on, she says it makes her feel uncomfortable.
Result? I have started making designing my own cameras and will be replacing the nest ones with something I have more control over.
I feel like I should be able to get a refund on all these stupid devices now.
This is why FOSS matters.
If a car mfg forced driving lights remotely and killed your ability to run and operate the car without the driving lights I feel like this issue would get more clear resistance. The workarounds are cute but the alarming issue is that we paid for these things with XYZ capabilities and specifically someone thought this feature was good enough to build and ship and maintain for years. Now that feature is removed, I guess this invalidates the previous use case to have had it. It seems fair that new cameras would have this “feature” baked in, old cameras notta. Same use case for the car scenario.
This actually already happens: case in point, Tesla (https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/attachments/notifications-co...).
I find the lack of negative press over this disturbing, to say the least- this will kill someone someday.
>On Nest Cam, Dropcam, and Nest Hello, the status light will blink when the camera’s live video is streamed from the Nest app. The setting to turn this off will be removed.
So now someone trying to break into my house will know that no one is looking at them on the camera so it's all clear?
Edit for formatting, sorry, I don't post ever.
Watching a house-guest/renter getting naked
First of all if you have a camera indicator light that you can turn off in the software what you have is a very fundamental lack of understanding in the first place. There is no point in indicator lights at all if you are let them be controlled by software.
Second anyone who is using a cloud camera has automatically forfeit all right to his or her privacy, if you are this monumentally idiotic this insanely stupid to trust a random cloud provider with hundreds to thousands of hours of footage of your private home, you are so irresponsibly ignorant you should be arrested for it. Your children should sue you for the horrible privacy violation you committed on them and you should have to go to prison.
I do however have a little USB webcam with LEDs that cannot be disabled. I taped over them with black tape so as not to draw attention to the camera. The proper version of this would just be to like, desolder them or whatever.
Is there any reason this wouldn't work? Perhaps if the camera is forced to be displayed prominently like on a front door you'd see that it'd been obscured?
As long as you’ve got your iron hot, you could replace the LED with a D(iode):
Since the LED is now always on, this sounds like a euphemism for "you can't turn the camera off anymore"
It's a bit annoying that the byproduct of always being connected is that companies can control a product you own...
I suppose you don't really own it if it's connected to a cloud service and that service is 90 percent of the functionality
(That has potential as a product. Especially for things like Amazon's inside-your-house door camera.)