Google to Grant Police Access to Smart Home Footage Without Warrant

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Image sourced from Google Store.

Google, one of the largest tech companies, will reportedly allow police officers to see footage from customers’ smart home cameras without a warrant, a move that opened a door to floods of criticism for Amazon when they said they would do the same a few months ago.

Other companies specialising in smart home products have, however, made it crystal clear that they won’t be handing over any footage to authorities without the presence of a warrant. These companies, according to The Verge, include Arlo, Apple, Wyze, and Anker, owner of Eufy.

In their defense, Amazon and Google want to give police access to security systems in case of “emergencies”. However, in most cases, they will still require a warrant. Amazon reportedly stated earlier that it has already received 11 requests for such cases (emergency cases).

“If we reasonably believe that we can prevent someone from dying or from suffering serious physical harm, we may provide information to a government agency — for example, in the case of bomb threats, school shootings, kidnappings, suicide prevention, and missing persons cases. We still consider these requests in light of applicable laws and our policies,” Google said.

According to CNET, a Google Nest spokesperson said that the company tries to give its users notice when it provides their data under such circumstances.

“If a situation is urgent enough for law enforcement to request a warrantless search of Arlo’s property then this situation also should be urgent enough for law enforcement or a prosecuting attorney to instead request an immediate hearing from a judge for issuance of a warrant to promptly serve on Arlo,” said Arlo, one of the companies against Google’s move.


By Zintle Nkohla 

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