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Do You Need a Security Drone in Your Home?

Amazon subsidiary Ring has been selling a slew of high-tech security products for years, but its upcoming Ring Always Home Cam might cross the Rubicon. It’s not just a security camera, but a $250 indoor drone that promises (threatens?) to monitor your entire home. There were already security and privacy concerns around Ring, such as Amazon letting law enforcement tap into camera data (see “Amazon Using Police Departments to Sell Ring Cameras,” 29 July 2019) and transmitting passwords in cleartext (see “Amazon’s Ring Doorbells Sent Wi-Fi Passwords in the Clear,” 21 November 2019), and that was before the company announced a flying spy cam.

Ring Always Home Cam

Creepiness factor aside, the Ring Always Home Cam is cool technology, but as Jared Newman asked at Fast Company, how many people actually need such a thing? Is Amazon using fear to sell products? Does the existence of products like this (and the marketing that accompanies them) itself fuel more fear? At least Amazon is adding support for end-to-end security in its Ring cameras and an option for Alexa to delete voice recordings immediately.

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Comments About Do You Need a Security Drone in Your Home?

Notable Replies

  1. Well, that’s a good question.

    I heard “indoor drone” and immediately pictured intrusive looks at everything I’m doing at home all day.

    I described the device to my spouse, whose first thought was “Wouldn’t it be fun to look in on our two dogs during the day? We could have a blast with this until the dogs catch the drone in an off-moment and destroy it.”

    So there you have it.

  2. I guess it pays to read the fine print. I’d seen something about this and couldn’t figure out why people were upset. I thought it was a great idea.

    But I thought it was an outdoor drone. I guess I saw “drone” and just assumed outdoor – I certainly never saw a headline that included the word indoor.

    Indoor strikes me as rather useless. It’s pretty easy to set up a few cameras to monitor the handful of places inside you want to check (i.e. I have one in my garage so I can confirm I remembered to close the door).

    It’s a lot harder to monitor the outside, especially if you have a large amount of land. It’d be great to have a drone fly around regularly and record footage of what’s going on outside. There’s less of a privacy concern outside and I could keep an eye on the deer that visit.

    But no way I’m putting a drone inside!

  3. It’s only fun until someone gets an eye poked out. :slight_smile:

  4. I guess if people aren’t concerned about Echo listening in on what they say, maybe they wouldn’t be concerned about a drone monitoring what they do. There are probably people out there who would like their homes to be like 1984.

  5. My cats are lobbying for me to buy them one. Or better yet, a subscription for frequent replacements.

  6. This is a problem inherent in the product. If you install monitors and someone else receives the data (whether a cloud provider, a camera manufacturer or a security monitoring company), then you have to trust that someone else to be responsible with the data.

    Some companies with a long history in the monitoring business (like major alarm companies) can probably be trusted because they have a long history of being trustworthy. Others are too new to know if they can be trusted. And some (like social media companies) have proven themselves untrustworthy in other areas and should therefore not be trusted here.

    Personally, I would never trust another company with this information. I like the idea of security cameras that record my home and can be accessed remotely, but if I ever decide to install such a system, it will be a home-grown system where the videos get recorded to my own equipment and where I access it using my own VPN LAN-access software. Because I think the only trustworthy companies charge too much money for their services and I would never trust the cheap ones.

  7. I can see some utility for it:

    • companies wanting to be able to check offices on the weekend without hiring a security guard
    • people who leave home for extended stays, particularly in areas subject to bad weather (Florida during hurricane season) would be able to check on the state of the house (if it’s still there) or just make sure it hasn’t had a branch come through, or been broken into
    • in server rooms, to verify a machines power status or check on various systems that aren’t necessarily online (or can benefit from a pair of eyes to corroborate)
    • a way to check on the elderly who are living at home (if you haven’t heard from Grandma like usual, call, but if there isn’t an answer did she fall out of the wheelchair?)
    • anyone with a second home might want to take a virtual walk to check something

    It’s not crazy, but it’s definitely a niche.

  8. At some point these will be the size of a bee.

    We will be afraid to leave a window open.

  9. But think of the opportunities to break out the old Nerf guns and shoot them down!

  10. Security Drone 2.0 shoots back.

  11. Will this be available outside the Paranoid States of America?

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