Google like Amazon may let police see your video without a warrant

Arlo, Apple, Wyze, and Anker, owner of Eufy, all confirmed to CNET that they won’t give authorities access to your smart home camera’s footage unless they’re shown a warrant or court order. If you’re wondering why they’re specifying that, it’s because we’ve now learned Google and Amazon can do just the opposite: they’ll allow police to get this data without a warrant if police claim there’s been an emergency. And while Google says that it hasn’t used this power, Amazon’s admitted to doing it almost a dozen times this year.

Earlier this month my colleague Sean Hollister wrote about how Amazon, the company behind the smart doorbells and security systems, will indeed give police that warrantless access to customers’ footage in those “emergency” situations. And as CNET now points out, Google’s privacy policy has a similar carveout as Amazon’s, meaning law enforcement can access data from its Nest products — or theoretically any other data you store with Google — without a warrant.

Google and Amazon’s information request policies for the US say that in most cases, authorities will have to present a warrant, subpoena, or similar court order before they’ll hand over data. This much is true for Apple, Arlo, Anker, and Wyze too — they’d be breaking the law if they didn’t. Unlike those companies, though, Google and Amazon will make exceptions if a law enforcement submits an emergency request for data.

While their policies may be similar, it appears that the two companies comply with these kinds of requests at drastically different rates. Earlier this month, Amazon disclosed that it had already fulfilled 11 such requests this year. In an email, Google spokesperson Kimberly Taylor told The Verge that the company has never turned over Nest data during an ongoing emergency. Taylor says:

If there is an ongoing emergency where getting Nest data would be critical to addressing the problem, we are, per the TOS, allowed to send that data to authorities. To date, we have never done this, [emphasis theirs] but it’s important that we reserve the right to do so.

Here’s what Google’s information request policy has to say about “requests for information in emergencies:”

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

Taylor also says that Google takes emergency disclosure requests “very seriously, and have dedicated teams and strict policies in place that are designed to ensure that we provide information that can assist first responders in the event of an emergency while ensuring that we only disclose data that is reasonably necessary to avert an ongoing threat.”

Related Posts

Nomad crypto bridge loses $200 million in chaotic hack

After a few quiet months, it’s happened again: another blockchain bridge hack with losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Nomad, a cryptocurrency bridge that lets…

US federal courts were reportedly hit by another data breach

The federal courts’ document system was hit by a breach with a “startling breadth and scope” in early 2020, according to a report from Politico that cites…

Now Microsoft Office is blocking macros by default

There’s been a bit of back and forth since the change was originally announced, but this week Microsoft started rolling out an update to Microsoft Office that…

Romanian hacker faces US trial over virus for hire service

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today that it had extradited dual Romanian / Latvian national Mihai Ionut Paunescu — known as “Virus” — to the US…

China linked hackers are exploiting a new vulnerability in Microsoft Office

A newly discovered vulnerability in Microsoft Office is already being exploited by hackers linked to the Chinese government, according to threat analysis research from security firm Proofpoint….

Hacker accesses a Verizon employee database and tries to ransom the data for $250,000

Verizon is dealing with an incident where a hacker captured a database containing company employee data, including the full names of workers as well as their ID…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker

Refresh Page
x