Amid privacy concerns, Google nixes the ability turn off the status light on active Nest cameras

You’ll be able to dim the lights on your Nest Cam, Dropcam, and Hello devices, but you won't be allowed to turn them off while they're recording.

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Wondering why you can’t switch off the indicator light on your Nest security camera? Nope, it’s not a bug.

Google began notifying Nest users this week (as reported by 9to5Google) that following an impending update, Nest Cam, Dropcam, and Hello devices will no longer be able to turn off their status lights while they’re recording, although users will be able to dim them.

The news comes in the wake of a lengthy new privacy statement from Google that, among other things, promises: “When your camera is turned on and sending video footage to Google, we will provide a clear visual indicator (such as a green light on your device).”

In a message posted to the Google Nest Help forum, a Google staffer wrote that removing the ability to turn off Nest camera status lights “reflect[s] our commitment to respecting the privacy of you and the people in your home.”

Losing the ability to switch off the status light on Nest cameras may frustrate users who want to monitor their homes secretly, but it also comes at a time of renewed focus on privacy.

Those privacy concerns were sparked by recent revelations of used Nest cameras that let their former owners peek at the people to whom they’d sold their devices (a privacy breach that’s since been fixed), as well as the news that third parties were reviewing voice recordings from the likes of Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant.

In the same message posted on the Google Nest Help forum, the Google staffer detailed how the status light will now function on various Nest camera devices:

In Settings for all Nest Cameras and Nest Hello, now you can dim the light status. When the camera is on, the status light will glow green, the light’s low enough to still be used in any room, even for Nest Cam IQs used in a nursery.

For Dropcam, when the camera is on, the status light will glow blue.

On Nest Cam, Dropcam, and Nest Hello, the status light will blink when the camera is live video is streamed from the Nest app.

 
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