In the surveillance camera market, Amazon (Ring) and Google (Nest) share terms of service that authorize the transfer of images to the police in the event of an emergency, without the intervention of a judge. What some competitors denounce.
As part of several court cases, Amazon has provided authorities with footage from Ring surveillance cameras. A sensitive issue, insofar as the delivery of these images did not necessarily follow the decision of a judge. Unsurprisingly, most of Amazon’s competitors took the opportunity to let it be known that they would respect the privacy of their users until the courts ordered them to provide private images, even within the framework of ” emergencies”.
A subject on which we had not heard much from Google, and for good reason, Cnet reveals that the general conditions of use of Nest products provide more or less the same provisions as those of Amazon. Therefore, once again, the companies Arlo, Apple, Wyze or Anker – which sell home video surveillance solutions – assure Cnet that they would require a judgment or a warrant before providing images from their cameras connected to the police.
To date, Google has never communicated on the number of times the authorities have asked it to access images captured by Nest products, nor how many times the group has potentially responded favorably to these requests. At Amazon, a recent transparency report confirmed the delivery of images to police in eleven separate cases in the United States.
“If we reasonably believe we can prevent someone from dying or suffering serious physical harm, we may provide information to a government agency – for example, in the event of a bomb threat, school shooting, kidnapping, suicide prevention, and missing persons claims. We always consider such requests in light of applicable laws and our policies.”, explains Google, which claims to notify users when images from their installations have been transmitted to the police. A point that Amazon, questioned by The Verge, did not want to explain.
At the competition, as at Arlo, it is specified that the goal is not to slow down the work of justice and that in the event of an emergency situation, the police officers have no difficulty in obtaining a decision from the judge quickly to retrieve the images. It is nevertheless, according to them, a safeguard necessary to guarantee the respect of the private life of their users. In the case of Apple or Eufy (the Anker brand), the data is also end-to-end encrypted. End-to-end encryption optional on Ring products, and which does not work on battery-powered solutions (which precisely represent the bulk of the brand’s sales). At Google, end-to-end encryption is simply not possible.