Smart home technology solutions have dramatically grown in popularity including home security footage, alarms, etc., but can these also be used against you?
Smart home systems allow customers to control lighting, thermostat, recored home security footage and alarms directly from a computer, tablet or smartphone. Smart home users should be aware of the potential hidden consequences of this new technology.
James O’Toole, a tech reporter for CNN, reveals in his article “Cops Can Access your Connected Home Data,” the footage and data used to keep your house safe could be used against you in a legal or civil case.
Police can acquire this information through a warrant or a subpoena. Home security footage may also be used in civil cases. For instance, when video footage is related to issues outlined in a divorce petition it could be admissible in court.
Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, writes, “Any time there’s a data trail being generated, litigants in all varieties of litigation, civil or criminal, will want to get their hands on it.” O’Toole recommends reading the terms of service provided by your smart home service provider to find out what parameters they place on information requests from government and law enforcement officials.
Read more in an excerpt from the article.
“We’re seeing law enforcement across a variety of areas arguing that they should be able to access information with lower standards than before the electronic age,” said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union.
“If a lot of information is flowing out of your home, it provides a window into the things you’re doing in your private space,” he added.
Tech companies already get thousands of requests for customer data each year from government intelligence agencies as well as traditional law enforcement for things like email and phone records. Once home security footage begins being stored on companies’ servers, there’s no reason why cops wouldn’t seek that out as well.