Arlo|Smart Home Security|Wireless HD Security Cameras

Police able to erase/block Arlo Recordings?

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Instegone
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Tonight there was a car chase that ended up with a crash on the street in front of our house. We have an Arlo Pro 3 that points down the driveway and catches every car that goes by. Yet looking at the recordings there is a 1 hour gap missing of footage from whenever the crash was till they had already sanded the street area. Are the police able to mess with the recording somehow?
Model: VMC4040P | Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free Camera
TomMac
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No

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oNeRf
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Recently it looks like law enforcement spied on the home camera of the Aiden Fucci home and the charged his mom with evidence tampering after reviewing either the recordings or live feeds.

 

I'm not sure how to feel about this but if I have my recordings on a USB drive, can this still happen? Further, can they still spy on us using live feeds? Arlo terms and conditions are very broad and the answer looks like yes. Regarding the original question, I also assume the police can erase recordings or do anything they want.

Model: VMC4040P | Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free Camera
dcfox1
Master
Master

@oNeRf wrote:

 Regarding the original question, I also assume the police can erase recordings or do anything they want.


No police can not do what they want especially erase recordings. Even to seize something it requires a judge to sign off on a search warrant. 

StephenB
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@oNeRf wrote:

Recently it looks like law enforcement spied on the home camera of the Aiden Fucci home and the charged his mom with evidence tampering after reviewing either the recordings or live feeds.

 


Not sure what you mean by "spied on the home camera".  Getting that evidence undoubtly required a search warrant. 

 

Arlo (like other companies in the US) needs to comply with a legal search warrant - no matter what is in their privacy policy. Likewise, police with a warrant could enter your home and seize the USB drive (or whatever device) on which the recordings are saved.

 


@oNeRf wrote:

Regarding the original question, I also assume the police can erase recordings or do anything they want.


That's a very different question, and it would be illegal for US police to erase your recordings (whether on your phone or a camera). 

 

Also, in the US the use of a jammer by the public (including state and local law enforcement) is illegal.  However, authorized federal agencies can use one.

 

Instegone
Guide
Guide

Well I'd love to know what happened for that 45 minutes though.  Its very suspicious.  At  7:52 I see my neighbor outside watering some plants.  with 6 seconds left in the video the video feed starts freaking out.   After that the next video is at 8:36 and you see a bunch of cops, a tow truck across the street as well as stand already spread over the crash site.

StephenB
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@Instegone wrote:

Well I'd love to know what happened for that 45 minutes though.  


It's certainly unexplained.  

 

How often do you see dropouts or artifacts in your recordings?

Do you see timeouts in livestreaming very often?

 

Instegone
Guide
Guide

Not often, I do occasionally have an issue where the camera stops recording, but it never comes back unless the base is rebooted.  In this case it was only missing stuff for a short time period. (obviously when I we wanted to see what happened).

oNeRf
Guide
Guide

@dcfox1 wrote:


No police can not do what they want especially erase recordings. Even to seize something it requires a judge to sign off on a search warrant. 


Yes of course it requires a warrant but we've seen how getting a warrant can be abused and obtained. Devil's advocate but how do you know Instegone isn't a target? Maybe he/she doesn't know it? Or imagine pointing a camera in the street and recording every moving object every few seconds or minutes. Imagine the storage space.

 

Further Arlo never lets us know what really happens with the data or who owns it. If we save it locally, I think they still have access to it because if you can use your app or online to view the local recording, it means anyone with the warrant also can. Plus if there's a warrant, the police can physically take the local recording. But why do that when they can get it online? Like I said, their terms and conditions is so broad, it legally means big brother can do anything they want with a warrant.

 

There have also been cases of employees spying on homeowners.

 

The more I think about the terms and conditions, I'm going to get rid of my cameras soon. It's like at work, you're supposed to cover the camera on your laptop or even the phone. It seems more intrusive than its worth.

Model: VMC4040P | Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free Camera
StephenB
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@oNeRf wrote:

The more I think about the terms and conditions, I'm going to get rid of my cameras soon. It's like at work, you're supposed to cover the camera on your laptop or even the phone. It seems more intrusive than its worth.


At the end of the day, you need to trust any cloud service that you choose to use.  If you can't do that, you should stop using the service.  That applies across the board - Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, whoever.

 

As far as Arlo goes, their "privacy pledge" looks reasonable and quite clear to me:

https://www.arlo.com/en-us/privacy-pledge.html wrote:

 

We won’t share your videos or account info with law enforcement, unless you consent or there’s a legally enforceable search warrant or court order, and we never share your videos for private litigation matters without your consent.

Similar text is in their privacy policy

 

https://www.arlo.com/en-us/privacy-policy.html wrote:

 

  • e. We may share information for legal reasons. We will share Personal Information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Arlo if we have a good faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of the information is reasonably necessary to:
    1. meet any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request
    2. enforce applicable Terms of Use, including investigation of potential violations
    3. detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues or
    4. protect against harm to the rights, property or safety of Arlo, our users or the public as required or permitted by law.
  • f. Others. If we otherwise notify you and you consent to the sharing.


Personally I do trust them, though I am also careful about where I put my cameras.  I think there's a much higher privacy risk from my phone than the Arlo cloud.  Arlo is a closed system, my phone isn't.  Plus my phone is always with me, knows my location, (and of course also has a microphone and camera).

 

Overall, I think the highest privacy risk is from the "big data" folks who consolidate personal info from many sources. 

TomMac
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As a side note... I always get a laugh at people that have Alexa in their home ( a device / mic that is always listening )

but they are worried about privacy.

 

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oNeRf
Guide
Guide

@StephenB wrote:

@oNeRf wrote:

The more I think about the terms and conditions, I'm going to get rid of my cameras soon. It's like at work, you're supposed to cover the camera on your laptop or even the phone. It seems more intrusive than its worth.


At the end of the day, you need to trust any cloud service that you choose to use.  If you can't do that, you should stop using the service.  That applies across the board - Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, whoever.

 

As far as Arlo goes, their "privacy pledge" looks reasonable and quite clear to me:

https://www.arlo.com/en-us/privacy-pledge.html wrote:

 

We won’t share your videos or account info with law enforcement, unless you consent or there’s a legally enforceable search warrant or court order, and we never share your videos for private litigation matters without your consent.

Similar text is in their privacy policy

 

https://www.arlo.com/en-us/privacy-policy.html wrote:

 

  • e. We may share information for legal reasons. We will share Personal Information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Arlo if we have a good faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of the information is reasonably necessary to:
    1. meet any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request
    2. enforce applicable Terms of Use, including investigation of potential violations
    3. detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues or
    4. protect against harm to the rights, property or safety of Arlo, our users or the public as required or permitted by law.
  • f. Others. If we otherwise notify you and you consent to the sharing.


Personally I do trust them, though I am also careful about where I put my cameras.  I think there's a much higher privacy risk from my phone than the Arlo cloud.  Arlo is a closed system, my phone isn't.  Plus my phone is always with me, knows my location, (and of course also has a microphone and camera).

 

Overall, I think the highest privacy risk is from the "big data" folks who consolidate personal info from many sources. 


There are cloud services or app permissions you have no choice but to use. App developers also should allow users to download install files instead of through the OS store. If I could use Ubuntu Touch or LinageOS on my phone I would.

 

Also regarding consent, I think using the product and creating an account is "consent". The part that concerns me is sharing my info outside of Arlo without a warrant, and good faith is an opinion like getting censored in a biased way online for something like a China comment. Nowadays, politicians around the world are pointing fingers at China.

 

I agree big data is worse but consent expands beyond Arlo or what you could possibly know because it's a shared system and you're sharing Arlo data to Google and Samsung. For example, Samsung Smartthings requires consent to use and then it can take all your Arlo data including videos.

 

StephenB
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@oNeRf wrote:
Also regarding consent, I think using the product and creating an account is "consent".

No, it's not.  You agreed to the general terms of service when you created the account, but that isn't the same as giving blanket consent to have your videos shared w/o your knowledge. The language I quoted says "if we otherwise notifiy you and you consent to the sharing".

 


@oNeRf wrote:
For example, Samsung Smartthings requires consent to use and then it can take all your Arlo data including videos.

That's opt-in, not opt-out.  If you give consent to share your Arlo data with Samsung without understanding Samsung's privacy statement, then that's on you - not Arlo.  Similarly if you use the integration with IFFFT, Homekit, Alexa or Google Nest.

 

This conversation isn't going to go anywhere useful. So I suggest that we put this to bed.

oNeRf
Guide
Guide

@StephenB wrote:

@oNeRf wrote:
Also regarding consent, I think using the product and creating an account is "consent".

No, it's not.  You agreed to the general terms of service when you created the account, but that isn't the same as giving blanket consent to have your videos shared w/o your knowledge. The language I quoted says "if we otherwise notifiy you and you consent to the sharing".

 


@oNeRf wrote:
For example, Samsung Smartthings requires consent to use and then it can take all your Arlo data including videos.

That's opt-in, not opt-out.  If you give consent to share your Arlo data with Samsung without understanding Samsung's privacy statement, then that's on you - not Arlo.  Similarly if you use the integration with IFFFT, Homekit, Alexa or Google Nest.

 

This conversation isn't going to go anywhere useful. So I suggest that we put this to bed.


You can't create an Arlo account without agreeing to the Terms and Service and privacy policy. That's the same for Samsung SmartThings. Samsung has options to opt-out after the account is created or after you reinstall their apps.

 

According to the privacy policy: "if we otherwise notifiy you and you consent to the sharing" falls under 4f Others... whatever 'others' broadly means. 4e implies my info can be shared outside Arlo for civil or criminal reasons.  It sounds like employers, any companies, or individuals can obtain information without consent for a lawsuit.  Nowhere in the policy does it state consent is required except in Switzerland. Only the privacy "pledge" states "... we never share your videos for private litigation matters without your consent." But that's a pledge, not policy.

 

This reminds me of the 2FA issues which they've closed the topic for discussion. I was forced to activate 2FA to use Arlo. The privacy "pledge" states "... giving you the option to enable two-factor authentication." No there are no options. You have to first agree to it and provide your device information - call it fingerprint - to use Arlo. After you provide your device info / fingerprint, you can disable it, but you still already provided your fingerprint to be obtained for future legal reasons. So even though my account is anonymous, it doesn't really seem to be anonymous. Also, even if 2FA is "disabled", I'm still required to authenticate myself every so often, so it's not really disabled.

 

Arlo has 3 opt-out options, really only 1 (marketing). The other 2 requires you don't use their product.

 

The topic of consent goes back to your videos and it's relevant discussion. It still looks to me consent is basically agreeing to use the product. Honestly I still think the Arlo privacy policy is not really private and they have broad controls. Instegone felt something suspicious is happening and so far it seems like data specific to an investigation is missing without his/her knowledge.

Model: VMC4040P | Arlo Pro 3 Wire-Free Camera
StephenB
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@oNeRf wrote:

The topic of consent goes back to your videos and it's relevant discussion. It still looks to me consent is basically agreeing to use the product. 

It doesn't say that.  But if you think it does (or otherwise don't trust Arlo) then you ought to stop using their services.  

 

Notifications are done in real time, so erasing videos after the fact would be too late.  If the police did that - or instructed Arlo to do it,  it would actually be criminal - theft / destruction of property - plus it could result in evidence tampering charges.  Warrants authorize search and seizure of evidence, they don't authorize destruction of evidence.  And they are required to be turned over to the defense in discovery when a case goes to trial.

 

Jamming of the cameras in the US by local or state law enforcement is illegal under all circumstances (a court order can't authorize it), and it would also have jammed @Instegone's wifi.

 

All @Instegone has reported is that he isn't seeing some recordings that he expected to see.  Given that the cameras often miss motion recordings, that is hardly a smoking gun.  Leaping from missing recordings to "the police must have erased them" is just speculation w/o any evidence at all.  

 


@oNeRf wrote: So even though my account is anonymous, it doesn't really seem to be anonymous.

The policy doesn't claim that your account is anonymous.  It would be rather silly for them try to make that claim. They certainly know who you are and they have your data. 

 

I think it is pretty clear on

  • what they collect (including stuff not linked to the service itself - including this forum)
  • how they use it
  • who else has access to it

As far as opt-outs on data collection, I don't think there can be many.  They need access to the unencrypted motion video in order to provide cloud activity zones and smart notifications.  They need credit card and address information for billing, phone numbers for SMS notification, location information for geofencing, E-911, etc, email addresses for several purposes.  2FA does require that they collect details about each device so they can tell if it is trusted.  It should be pretty obvious why they need the data they say they are collecting.

 

There is nothing in the policy that suggests that they will give your videos w/o your knowledge to anyone unless there is a legal court order.  And doing that would certainly come out, and totally destroy their business.

 

That said, I do think they could add more text on what they won't do with audio and video.

Instegone
Guide
Guide

@StephenB    FYI, I never said they erased anything.  My initial question was could they do anything.  I've been using Arlo Camera's since the original Arlo's came out and I've never had a random 45 minute gap in the recordings like this.  (1-2 minutes maybe) or complete loss of recordings on a camera until I reboot the hub.    So in 6 years this is the firs time I'm missing an actual video I want to see and it just happens to be after a police chase in front of my house.  Go figure....

StephenB
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@Instegone wrote:

@StephenB    FYI, I never said they erased anything.  


I didn't mean to say you'd made that leap, 

 

Your question was about jamming, and I think was answered many posts back.  It would be illegal for your local police to do that.

 


@Instegone wrote:

 So in 6 years this is the firs time I'm missing an actual video I want to see and it just happens to be after a police chase in front of my house.  Go figure....


I do agree that is unexplained.  A coincidental lapse in service is one possible explanation (either Arlo's or wifi interference).  Another is that someone (perhaps not police) was using a jammer.  

 

silverado44
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

What most likely happened was radio interference from the police cars communications as they broadcast on a digital frequency and it interfered with the cameras wireless frequency as there would be a lot of broadcast from them in that situation. 

StephenB
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@silverado44 wrote:

What most likely happened was radio interference from the police cars communications as they broadcast on a digital frequency and it interfered with the cameras wireless frequency as there would be a lot of broadcast from them in that situation. 


That can happen, however US public safety spectrum is well separated from the 2.4 gHz wifi used by the Pro 3.  Police and Fire in our area generally use UHF (450-470 Mhz), though some use VHF (150-174 mHz).  I don't see how any use of those bands would interfere with WiFi.  https://www.radioreference.com/ has info on spectrum use that should give you info for your geography.

 

More info on how far the incident was from the camera, and what happened there might be useful in sorting this out.  For instance, if there was a damaged powerline that was sparking, that could easily create a lot of interference.

 

FWIW, my own cameras will frequently capture emergency response vehicles at night.  Activity zones and camera positions are set up to not capture vehicles in the street, but the lights on the emergency vehicles create moving glare/reflections inside the zones, so they are captured anyway. 

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