Nest security cam owners have received an email from Google on Wednesday that left many disgruntled, to put it lightly. The company is introducing a new policy that forces Nest Cam, Dropcam, and Nest Hello status lights to remain on permanently while recording and blink when users are looking at live footage – all in the name of privacy.
Customers are in uproar against the changes. In the Google Nest community forum, multiple threads were opened that complain about the permanent lights and argue that, in fact, users' privacy is reduced by them. As it turns out, many people use these security cams to secure their homes and don't want thieves to know that they're being watched. Others use cams to check in on their babies and don't want to disturb their sleep with a flashing light. Google says it's possible to dim the brightness, but that's still not the same as turning it off completely.
Google misread the situation in the name of privacy. While it is an important right we should fight for much more and while it's possible that some people might use devices to spy on their household, it's reasonable that the majority of users have legitimate motivations in hiding their cams' activities. If Google doesn't change its stance, there's still a low-budget, simple solution: just put duct tape over the status light. Still, fixing an electronic device with tape to retrofit a feature removed via software seems dumb and unnecessary.