‎Massive Privacy concern | SimpliSafe Support Home
 
ejdalise's profile

Friday, May 27th, 2022 4:55 PM

Massive Privacy concern

It's not a request to help, so much as a MASSIVE concern.

My specific concern:
Both interior cameras make a recording when I am home and turn my system off. 

Let me spell that out in detail:


1) I am home, and the system is in HOME mode.
2) in HOME mode the privacy shutter is set to "CLOSED". 
3) I turn off the system.
4) when the system is off, the shutter is set to "CLOSED"
5) this is the important part:

When I turn the system off, the camera's shutter opens (all the cameras) and the camera records for 1-minute. 

6) I don't mind the exterior cameras recording but I have a MASSIVE PRIVACY CONCERN with the interior cameras recording me, the owner, every morning, or whenever I turn the alarm off. 

So, to summarize:

I'd like to know if this is normal behavior, in which case I'd like to lodge a complaint of invasion of privacy.

If this is not normal behavior, I'd like it addressed. 

Regardless, I don't want the system recording the premises when the system is off and the alarm has not been triggered. 

I assume this is just faulty programming, but could just as easily be convinced of nefarious intent on the part of SimpliSafe. 

Please respond to this with something more than "we'll look into it". 

Thank you, ejd. 

Advocate

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680 Messages

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10 Points

2 years ago

I'd like to know if this is normal behavior, in which case I'd like to lodge a complaint of invasion of privacy.

This is normal behavior that is working as SimpliSafe intends. In fact if you take a look at this support article you'll see that cameras record during quite a few events that aren't related to an alarm being triggered:

  • Alarms
  • Disarming your SimpliSafe system
  • Camera Detected Motion
  • User Triggered Recording
  • Secret Alerts (When Enabled)
  • User Initiated Test of the SimpliSafe system
  • Duress Alarm
  • Silent Panic button
  • Entry Delay (After entering your home while the system is alarmed)
  • Power Restored

Note: It also used to record when the system was armed but that was disabled at some point.

Regardless, I don't want the system recording the premises when the system is off and the alarm has not been triggered. 

You're not the only one who feels this way but unfortunately you cannot turn this behavior off. Your only option to prevent the cameras from recording during these events is to turn the cameras off entirely.  Yes, I am serious.

I assume this is just faulty programming, but could just as easily be convinced of nefarious intent on the part of SimpliSafe. 

It's neither. SimpliSafe is of the opinion that having footage of what is happening in the house during these events is overall a positive thing. I'll let @davey_d or someone else from SimpliSafe explain why so I don't misrepresent their reasoning.

Please respond to this with something more than "we'll look into it". 

You're not the only one who takes issue with this and would like the ability to toggle this sort of thing off and on and that request has been made quite a few times. To date we (the customers) have no indication that this is going to change so if this is a deal breaker for you (and I personally can understand why it might be) then you may want to consider returning / selling your system or at least the cameras. I know that's not the answer you want to hear but that's the way it is.

5 Messages

@worthing​ This is contrary to what I'm being told by support.

Obviously, I believe you because I'm experiencing it, and I'm trying to pressure SimpliSafe to change that behavior (in case I ever want to walk around in my underwear in the mornings). This is obviously a software issue and should be fixable.

Personally, I don't care what they believe; they should be responsive to customers and not be recording inside the house unless an alarm is triggered.

My current plan is to get an official answer, and, following that, I plan to make it my life goal to visit every place that sells their components and blast them for gross invasion of privacy. I like the system, but the performance of the cameras have been a huge disappointment, and this particular behavior is especially egregious.

I bet at least some new users might be put off by a system that records them when nothing's happening. At the very least, I can steer them away from video cameras.

Thanks for your response.

5 Messages

@worthing​ 

So, after a bit of me acting like a jerk (I don't like doing it unless I've exhausted all other options), I actually got a callback and had a fruitful conversation. To wit:

1) yes, as you mentioned, the camera initiates a recording when the alarm is turned off.

2) no, I cannot control that (I made a suggestion that it should).

3) I'm told no one but me can see those videos, and that they are for my benefit. (I reconfirmed That I would like the option to switch off that feature).

I can almost see a glimmer of benefit to the feature in the rare case when I'm gone and someone else is house-sitting, but even then, I don't want to spy on them.

I cannot think of a single scenario where the system is armed in HOME mode and I need to see who deactivates the alarm.

Now, maybe someone has use for that, and more power to them. I don't.

If I'm not home, the system is in AWAY Mode and, yes, sure, make a recording when it's switched off.

But I want the option to switch that feature off when disarming after the system was set to HOME.

Why would I want that if I'm told I'm the only one that can see the videos?

It's obvious . . . if there's one thing I've learned about Internet and Data Security is that when someone claims something is secure, what they mean is they HOPE it's secure.

Countless breeches attest otherwise.

Is it a deal-breaker? I don't know. Ultimately, I don't even have my phone listening to me (no helpful helpers for me, thank you), so I get uncomfortable thinking I'm being filmed.

It's more a matter of principle than paranoid concern, then again, lots of stories of abuse of private data.

I can entertain both the idea that SimpliSafe values privacy, AND that SimpliSafe is dreaming when they claim my data and videos are completely secure.

The point is, why not give the customer a choice?

I'm 100% sure it's a software issue, and any company claiming to value privacy should stand by the claim and go the extra length to provide customers with the tools to manage said privacy.

So, as of now, I wait for a response to my suggestion.

43 Messages

2 years ago

How about someone confronts you in your driveway and forces you to turn off the system, would you want video of that scene.  Maybe your teenage children turn off the system go out for the night and return all while you sleep?  I just throwing a few things  out there but I fail to see what the big deal is really.

5 Messages

2 years ago

Hmm . . . did you read what I wrote? I'm not asking for the outside cameras to not record the teens (that I don't have) leaving the house. By the way, my system lets me know when it's armed and disarmed, so if I did have teens, I'd know when they are leaving or coming back (unless I'm an irresponsible parent or deaf).

I'm only asking for the indoor cameras to not record when I'm home, mostly because I don't trust the "only you can see the recordings" part.

As for being forced to disarm the system . . . I have a duress code, don't you? And, when the system is armed and motion is detected, a recording is made anyway, not just when I'm 'forced' to turn off the alarm. In addition, my outside cameras record every time someone walks around the property, whether the system is armed or not. And, that's fine.

But the point is, if some people don't find anything wrong with the system recording their private lives inside their homes, more power to them. I do.

All I'm asking is for the choice to turn that feature off. They already switched off the recording option whenever the system is armed (for privacy concerns). All I want is the same option for when I turn off the alarm when set to HOME mode. They can leave the option to record when disarming the system from AWAY mode.

1 Message

2 months ago

Finally, someone else feels the same way I do. Cannot turn on the closed or away feature when I am home and do not want to record. Did not know if can’t be done, after I spent an hour with simisafe tech agent. He did not tell me it cannot be done. 
Not happy!!  It is a software issue that should be resolved. I will be on social media about this issue. 
Very disappointed with the system. I was going to add to it but not now.   

856 Messages

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110 Points

2 months ago

Precisely why I have no cameras inside the living quarters, personally. Some people choose to use indoor cameras.

I have some pan and tilt cameras in the garage and basement that I have control of the privacy modes and that I can control,  see visually and hear, as well as indicators in the app. for my verification. I am also leary of indoor cameras, she is even more suspicious than me.

Therefore, while seeing someone in their underwear during disarm was unlikely, but possible I suppose with the old COPS monitoring and not entirely automatic with the older Interactive Monitoring, it's a possibility with the new Fast Protect tier using the Smart Alarm Indoor Camera. This highlights the importance of understanding your chosen monitoring plan's features and privacy implications.

Interactive monitoring also had an on or off toggle in the app. I do not have fast protect and cannot speak to available features.

Unfortunately, it's not realistic to assume every person or contractor at SimpliSafe monitoring, or any organization for that matter, is inherently ethical and above board. While Simplisafe likely has measures in place to promote ethical behavior, the potential for misuse of access to private camera footage still exists. Here are some factors to consider:

Human fallibility: Even with proper training and procedures, individuals can make mistakes or engage in unethical behavior.

Technical vulnerability: Systems might have vulnerabilities that could be exploited to gain unauthorized access to footage.

Malicious intent: Some individuals may intentionally misuse their access for personal gain or other harmful purposes.

This is why transparency and accountability are crucial in such situations. Here's what you would hope Simplisafe does to address these concerns:

Limited access: Only specific personnel with a legitimate reason access camera footage, and only during defined situations.

Audit logs: Simplisafe should maintain and may have audit logs to track who accessed footage and when, providing accountability and deterring misuse.

Training: Personnel should and probably do undergo training on data privacy, ethics, and the proper handling of sensitive information.

User control: Users presumably or should have control over their system settings and camera access, including who can view footage and when.

However, it's important to remember that these measures are not foolproof. As alleged in a 30 million dollar lawsuit, FTC vs Ring, highlights the potential for privacy violations and the importance of continued vigilance. Users should stay informed about their options and privacy settings, and hold companies accountable for ethical data practices.

Ultimately, choosing any system with camera monitoring involves trusting the company and its systems to handle your privacy responsibly. While Simplisafe may have implemented measures to prevent misuse, it's still important to be aware of the potential risks and take steps to protect your privacy.

If you have further concerns or questions about specific Simplisafe policies or practices, I recommend contacting them directly for clarification. They can provide detailed information about their security measures and data privacy concerns.

5 Messages

@dlpsr​ I've already contacted them . . . and suggested the ability to turn off filming unless an alarm is triggered.

They say no one looks at the videos unless an alarm is triggered, which begs the question why film it when there is no alarm?

The purpose of posting this here is to make others aware and perhaps alert people to the issue, and if more people complain, maybe Simplisafe will modify their software (because it is a software issue).

As for my indoor cameras, they have the privacy shield engaged (there's an audible click when it opens and closes), and there are no cameras on the back of the house so that when we switch off the alarm, all it's recording is the empty living room and kitchen. It's not an ideal situation, but it's doable for now.

Community Admin

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2.4K Messages

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10 Points

@ejdalise​ Having the indoor cameras film a short recording once the system is disarmed is an intentional feature so you have footage of who did the disarming. I completely hear you, and please know that at SimpliSafe, we believe that privacy and security goes hand-in-hand.

All of our recordings are encrypted both in transit and at rest, and no one can access them except for you. This is baked into our own internal processes. If I tried to look at an account's recordings, I would get a "No Video" error and the page would close out.

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