While many consumers are familiar with (and use) the Ring doorbell and security camera system to track who is at their front door, Ring now offers a drone designed to capture video inside your home. The Ring Always Home Cam is a self-contained flying device (i.e. a drone) with a built-in camera to record movement. As of today, this Always Home camera is available for invitation-only purchase. You can visit the Ring website and “Request an Invitation”. This home drone security system costs $ 250.
The idea behind the Always Home Camera is to reduce the need for multiple fixed cameras all around your home. Instead, you can just press a button and send the Always Home Cam drone flying to monitor the interior of your home. If you don’t want it flying all day, you can schedule it to identify certain activities during a specific time period. For example, you can schedule it to only monitor at night while everyone else is asleep or while you are on vacation. The drone can stream videos directly to your smartphone or tablet and the video clips are stored in the cloud for 60 days (with a paid subscription).
What does this drone look like? Well, it’s lightweight with plastic-tipped propellers and sits on a docking station that’s designed to block the camera when the drone isn’t in use. It also has an on-board neural processing unit that allows it to identify different scenarios as well as objects throughout the house. This drone technology can identify windows and determine how light passing through the window affects video input (and how the drone decrypts it), mirrors, chandeliers, children, animals, and other objects in a home. ; there is no one-size-fits-all house plan. The question here is: how can we take advantage of this technology to help integrate drones into our airspace? Or on the public highway for autonomous vehicles? There is no doubt that Ring will continue to address some of these technology navigation challenges by collecting data from “guest” customers, but what are the privacy implications?
This new Always Home camera along with Ring’s traditional doorbell security system uses end-to-end encryption for video capture, and those captured videos will not be part of Ring’s law enforcement partnership. However, could this constant home surveillance actually make our homes less secure? This has been a debate among civil liberties and digital rights advocates, their concern being that there is potential for abuse of this data collection or the possibility that devices like this capture videos of individuals who have not consented to such a video capture. One thing is clear: as we have entered a world in which digital surveillance – and now even home surveillance – becomes more and more common (and now, home drone surveillance), we must preserve the pioneering privacy and data security as a key element in the development and use of this technology.
Copyright © 2021 Robinson & Cole LLP. All rights reserved.Revue nationale de droit, volume XI, number 273