Is it really safe to have a camera at home?

Reporter investigates confusion about home camera use

  ● More and more people choose to use home cameras to solve problems such as thieves' "patrons", car scratches, old and young safety, and pet safety.

But at the same time, these cameras have brought new "troubles" to people: the daily trips of neighbors are inevitably caught in the mirror, people with ulterior motives use personal safety to take pictures of others secretly, and the videos saved in the cloud have hidden dangers of being peddled

  ● The core of judging whether the use of home cameras and smart cat's eyes constitutes infringement is not the installation location, but whether the installation behavior constitutes an infringement of other people's privacy rights, personal information rights and other legitimate rights and interests

  ● 对于邻居安装摄像头以维护自己合法权益的合理诉求应予尊重,但摄像头的安装使用应以不侵害他人合法权益和社会公共利益为界限,对于自己隐私可能被邻居安装摄像头这一行为侵犯的,应当及时告知对方,要求对方采取合理措施避免侵权行为发生并保存相关证据;若对方仍然不予改正,应注意保存证据并及时通过法律途径解决,以充分保护自己合法权益不被侵犯

  □ Our reporter Han Dandong

  □ Yang Huijia, an intern of our newspaper

  For security reasons, Ms. Liu, who lives alone in Beijing, decided to install a video doorbell, which not only has monitoring and recording functions, but is also affordable.

But will self-installing such products be suspected of infringing on the privacy of neighbors, and how confidential is the video stored in the cloud?

Thinking of these problems, Ms. Liu was in trouble.

  Her worries were justifiable.

In recent years, a variety of home smart camera products with different price points and different functions have been pouring into the market. More and more people choose to use home cameras to solve the problems of "patrons" by thieves, scratched cars, safety of the elderly and children, and pet safety.

But at the same time, these cameras have brought new "troubles" to people: the daily trips of neighbors are inevitably caught in the mirror, those with ulterior motives take advantage of personal safety to take pictures of others secretly, and the cloud storage video has the hidden danger of being peddled...

  What are the solutions to these "troubles"?

Where is the boundary between protecting personal safety and violating the privacy of others?

Around these issues, the "Rules of Law Daily" reporter conducted an interview.

Small lenses are popular

Meet the needs of human and financial security

  Unlike Ms. Liu, Ms. Zhu, a citizen of Tianjin, installed a home camera to ensure the safety of pets.

After she goes to work during the day, she can see the cat's status in real time through the camera. If she cannot go home in special circumstances, the camera's call function allows the cat to hear her voice, "This way it will sleep peacefully, and I don't need to Worrying about it getting lost."

  Ms. Chen, who works in Guangdong, installed an ultra-clear home night vision camera outside her home in rural Hebei. Through the camera, she can see her yard and a short section of the road.

"When you miss your parents, you can turn on your mobile phone to see their status, and you can talk to them at any time. It feels like you are at home." Ms. Chen believes that with the camera installed, the distance between her and her parents is no longer so far away. .

  The reporter interviewed a number of users who installed cameras and found that their purposes were different, some for personal safety and property safety, and some for real-time observation of children, elderly parents or pets.

In their opinion, installing a camera does not require too much money and effort to gain a sense of security, which is worthwhile.

  On an e-commerce platform, the reporter searched with the keywords of "video doorbell", "smart cat's eye" and "smart camera" and found that there are various products, the price ranges from a few yuan to several thousand yuan, and the quality is uneven. Customer service online communication or check the manual to complete the installation.

  Take the "unplugged wireless smart camera" on the shopping platform for only 3.9 yuan as an example. The device is only equipped with a charging cable and a camera. The details page indicates that the camera comes with a wireless network and can be connected to a mobile phone. , and can realize remote high-definition monitoring.

However, user feedback in the comment area shows that this camera has many problems, such as "poor picture quality" and "short battery life".

Privacy battles are prone to conflict

Information security is difficult to guarantee

  After installing the camera, can it really be done once and for all?

  Ms. Song, who lives alone in Shanghai, found that the answer to this question was no.

Earlier this year, she was sued by her neighbors for installing a video doorbell herself.

  Ms. Song said that neighbors repeatedly threw rubbish on her doorstep, used her mobile phone to take pictures of cat-eye devices, and even slandered her life style to the landlord on the grounds that she had installed a camera in front of her house and violated her right to privacy, and finally filed a lawsuit with the court. litigation.

In order to respond to the lawsuit, Ms. Song planned to use the video of the neighbor's behavior stored in the cloud as evidence, but she found that the automatically recorded video was only a few tens of seconds, and the integrity was poor, making it difficult to use as evidence.

  Regarding the behavior of Ms. Song's neighbors, Ms. Wang, a Tianjin citizen who was also "in the mirror", expressed her understanding.

She is also having a headache because the camera installed by her neighbor is aimed at her door.

  There are two households on the first floor of the community where Ms. Wang lives, which are door-to-door.

The neighbor installed a camera above the door, which can take pictures of Ms. Wang's house. As long as she opens the door, the camera can take pictures of the layout of the living room.

She didn't want others to know about the situation in her home, thinking that her privacy had been violated, so she went to negotiate with her neighbors on whether to change the location of the camera, but in the end it was to no avail.

  The reporter found that in addition to allegedly infringing on the privacy of neighbors, home cameras also have the risk of leaking cloud-stored videos.

  In April 2021, the Beijing Third Intermediate People's Court disclosed a case: the defendant Wu controlled 180,000 cameras around the world through an app developed by himself, involving many countries and regions.

Wu Mou took advantage of the lack of security technical support of some cameras and the simple setting of passwords by users, etc., to crack the account password of the home camera, thereby implementing voyeurism.

  Not long ago, the police in Shehong City, Sichuan Province also reported a case: from October 2021, the suspect Zhang Moumou purchased more than 100 camera control rights twice, and often logged in at night to peep.

The police found more than 40 private videos of citizens that were illegally downloaded and stored in his mobile phone.

The cameras controlled by Zhang Moumou cover a wide range of places, including homes, companies, restaurants, mobile phone stores, beauty salons and other places.

The case is currently being further processed.

  What's more, turn cloud-storage videos into clearly priced "commodities" or traffic-draining tools.

  On some social platforms or post bars, reporters noticed that there are often posts or messages such as "XX video surveillance outflow, look at it quickly" with words such as "can be packaged for purchase" or "video surveillance for sale".

  So how exactly did these surveillance videos come out?

A salesman who sells cameras told reporters that most low-cost and low-quality cameras are not safe. The technology of these cameras is relatively primitive and can be easily cracked.

  Mr. Xu, who is engaged in the electronics industry in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, also told reporters that the reason why home cameras are easy to be cracked is that some manufacturers lack security technical support. Cheap and off-brand cameras do not have data transmission encryption, and they are easily attacked when uploading to the cloud. "In order to save trouble, some manufacturers do not equip home cameras with user identification systems, and the cameras cannot identify users, giving criminals an opportunity."

Legally and reasonably grasp the boundaries

Take multiple measures to seek a win-win situation

  For home camera users, the camera can bring them a sense of convenience and security; but for the neighbors who are "into the mirror", the camera violates their privacy to a certain extent.

How to grasp the boundaries behind this?

  According to Meng Qiang, a professor at the School of Law of Beijing Institute of Technology, the "home door" does not belong to a complete public space, but also has a certain degree of privacy.

Under this broad definition of privacy, each person's behavior, frequency, dress, activities, and visitor information at the door of their home are all private activities and information.

The infringement limit of smart cat eyes and home cameras is whether the pictures and videos collected by the installer through the device infringe on the personal information and privacy of others during the processing, storage and use.

  Zhu Xiaofeng, a professor at the Law School of Central University of Finance and Economics, believes that the core of judging whether the use of home cameras and smart cat eyes constitutes infringement is not the installation location, but whether the installation behavior constitutes an infringement of other people's privacy rights, personal information rights and other legitimate rights and interests.

The definition of privacy in the Civil Code includes the tranquility of the private life of natural persons and the private space, private activities, and private information that others do not want to know.

  Zhu Xiaofeng analyzed that it is necessary to further judge between the purpose of installing the camera and the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of individuals who may be affected by the personal information collected by the camera. Who should be protected first?

According to the provisions of the Civil Code, an actor who reasonably handles the personal information of others in order to safeguard the public interest or his own legitimate rights and interests shall not bear civil liability.

  "Therefore, if an actor installs a camera in a private space in order to prevent theft, protect the safety of the elderly and children, etc., even if the act may be photographed in the public domain and lead to the collection of personal information of other people who enter the domain, it is usually not considered to be an infringement. behavior does not require community approval." Zhu Xiaofeng said.

  Homeowner affairs expert Shu Kexin pointed out that at present, residential residents in our country do not need property approval to install smart cat eyes and cameras on their own.

In theory, homeowners' organizations such as homeowners' conferences can impose restrictions on whether homeowners can set up private surveillance in public areas of the community.

  "Judging from the current domestic situation, no owner organization of any community has been so refined in managing the community. At the same time, the property management company has no right to formulate rules for the community before making a decision on the community management statute." Shu Kexin said.

  In Zhu Xiaofeng's view, the reasonable demands of neighbors to install cameras to protect their legitimate rights and interests should be respected, but the installation and use of cameras should be limited to not infringing on the legitimate rights and interests of others and social public interests. In case of infringement, the other party should be informed in a timely manner, and the other party should be required to take reasonable measures to avoid the infringement and preserve relevant evidence; if the other party still does not make corrections, it should pay attention to preserving the evidence and solve it through legal channels in a timely manner, so as to fully protect its legitimate rights and interests from being infringed. .

  Regarding the privacy leakage risk of installing cameras, Zhu Xiaofeng suggested: first, camera manufacturers should continue to improve relevant software and hardware technologies to overcome technical defects; second, users should consciously set strong passwords and verification, and now some manufacturers enable mobile phones The function of verification code further ensures the security of camera monitoring; thirdly, due to the lack of unified technical standards for cloud sharing, users are advised to purchase products recognized by the market when purchasing cameras, and make multi-dimensional choices; finally, the storage of user information In other words, cloud storage service providers should take effective measures to ensure the security of the cloud and data, so as to ensure that user information is not leaked.