Smart home: home camera security

AI, automation, algorithms & datafication 

Smart home

In recent years, the Internet is not only used for communication but is dedicated to making people’s lives more convenient (DeNardis, 2020). The Internet is present even in every corner of our lives, and the development of the smart home is one that we cannot ignore. The Internet of Things (IoT) has emerged from the development of the Internet, for example, in the areas of clothing, food, housing, and transportation, which are closely related to our lives, especially smart homes, which allow people to have a better quality of life. At the same time, artificial intelligence can also analyze the needs of users through algorithms and provide better intelligent management (Sepasgozar et al., 2020). Today, the development of smart home technology is gaining more and more recognition in households, and more and more families are installing devices that can make their lives more convenient. Two thousand twenty-three latest data shows that more than 64% of households in the United States have installed and use smart homes (Lin, 2023), with home security cameras being undoubtedly one of the most popular The home security camera is certainly one of the most popular smart home devices due to their relatively low price compared to other smart devices. These smart cameras provide users with a great sense of security and safety, as they can monitor their homes from their mobile devices at any time and from anywhere and can detect if any danger is approaching their domain in time.

However, the increasing number of smart home users, especially the number of users of home smart security cameras, has also increased dramatically, and it also triggered more and more users to the importance of modern smart homes for privacy. As well as the frequent occurrence of cyber security breaches in recent years, especially like surveillance, artificial intelligence and algorithms, and personal data, cyber security is also becoming more and more critical. So in this article, we will discuss the concerns around AI, automation, and algorithmic governance in the context of home security camera security.

Privacy Concerns

The Internet is now as well arriving at a significant place, as the number of objects linked through digital links is now much larger than the number of humans (DeNardis, 2020). The use of home security cameras has raised serious concerns about privacy breaches by users, with security cameras recording and taping everything that happens within the camera’s available footage when the homeowner is not looking. This can undoubtedly lead to a range of privacy violations, such as recording sensitive content or listening to user conversations. This has caused some people to panic, and according to a Porch 2019 study, only 43% of survey respondents installed smart security cameras in their homes, and the rest were not willing to install smart security cameras in order to give up their privacy (Wang, 2022). In addition, these smart security cameras for data storage and data processing have caused fears of privacy leaks and hacking attacks.

Figure 1 :us households using smart home devices(Emarketer, 2023).

In 2019, more than 4,000 Ring doorbell cameras were reportedly hacked. Hacking was easier than we could have imagined, as they needed a username and password to see all relevant camera content under that username through the smart security camera, and the device would allow hackers with the password to view and listen to what was going on in the user’s home in real-time. Such incidents highlight the potential leakage crisis and surveillance dangers stored in the cloud, which raises questions about the potential and existing dangers of a smart and secure home. The number of accounts held hostage by hackers is beyond our imagination, and HaveIBeenPwned, a website that allows users to check if their data has been compromised, has shown over 9 billion that have been compromised in 2019 (Murdock, 2019). This is an unimaginable amount of data, which shows that almost every person on the planet has had their information leaked more than once. This has made us start thinking about how to protect our own privacy and security and whether the data we upload to the cloud is being treated reasonably.

Algorithm Governance

In users’ use of smart security cameras, some users believe that the artificial intelligence and algorithms in them do not really treat everyone equally, raising concerns about the possibility of biased or discriminatory decisions. For example, some home security cameras secure users’ territories through facial recognition, which has been shown to be less accurate for people with darker skin tones. This is not the first time such issues have arisen; in 2021, AI robots studied at the University of Washington and the Technical University of Munich, Germany, were more likely to identify black and Latino women than white men when receiving identification information for ‘housewife,’ and when AI robots received instructions to identify ‘criminal’ instructions, Black males were selected more frequently than White males (Verma, 2022). Because stereotypes have been with people for hundreds of years due to history, it is possible that as an AI, no matter how much the AI improves and develops itself at a later stage, it may bring in human stereotypes when the program is first written, perhaps intentionally or unintentionally (Ota-Liedtke & Raghunath, 2022).

Anyone’s privacy in the technology field is data and is accessible when needed (Crawford, 2022). Therefore, users also raise the issue of transparency and accountability to whom through artificial intelligence and algorithms to manage user data. Who has access to view and record the data collected by home security cameras and how is this data used? For example, in the case of the hacking of Ring Doorbell that I mentioned in the privacy issues section, after these users received threats, snooping, and discrimination from hackers, Ring Doorbell did not take any concrete action and also assumed that it was the users’ failure to protect their passwords that allowed the hackers to take advantage of the situation, so when users encounter this similar problem exactly how to protect their legal rights.

With the efficient development of artificial intelligence, if there is no clear governance framework for AI, there is a high chance that personal data and privacy will be used for purposes other than home and personal security, such as surveillance by illegals or targeted advertising.

Automation and the Future of Work

Nowadays, artificial intelligence is increasingly present in our lives, such as facial recognition, web search, ad placement, etc. The emergence of artificial intelligence, which replaces some of the tasks and decisions performed by humans, will potentially change our habits and ways of working completely. Artificial intelligence makes our lives more convenient and reduces our cost of living to a certain extent, which is undoubtedly a beneficial development for us.

At the same time, there are also some doubts and concerns about the future impact of automation instead of manual work. Although AI will produce the most beneficial results for the workplace through algorithms, it will ignore human-centered values and fairness under some false biases (Chavez et al., 2022). This is especially true for the security industry, where jobs will be replaced by AI-enabled machines. For example, in recent years, facial recognition systems used by the U.S. police have led to the wrongful arrest of people of color, so does this mean that the safety of people of color cannot be guaranteed by AI in security? People are also questioning the decision-making process of home security cameras with facial recognition. For example, if a home security camera identifies the presence of a possible threat, should the AI automatically process this information, or should humans be involved in the decision-making process? If the AI automatically processes, for example, automatic alerts, will this result in some misjudgment, thus making law enforcement much more stressed and leaving some people who really need help without timely help? On the other hand, if humans are involved in the decision-making, it will waste some precious time to get help. Both of these are things we need to think about or parts of AI that need to be more refined.

Ethical considerations

There are ethical considerations involved in using home security cameras, how users weigh the trade-off between security and privacy, and the potential for unintended consequences when the trade-off is made. For example, if a user installs a security camera outside their house to protect their property, but due to unavoidable factors, the camera captures a picture of their neighbor, there are questions about the boundaries of personal privacy. Similar privacy issues have been discussed as to whether the person being filmed was aware and whether they consented to their presence in the picture. When people use smart devices to protect their rights, can they avoid violating the privacy and security of others? The same considerations apply to whether one is exposed to someone else’s smart device.

In addition, the use of artificial intelligence and algorithms in home security cameras raises ethical issues, and third-party companies and governments have a responsibility to use this data in a fair and equitable manner. Since the advent of smart cameras, third parties have been entitled to use users’ data directly for analysis, including crime reduction, but studies have shown that there is no direct correlation between the number of cameras and high crime rates (Wise, 2023). This argument is clearly not convincing when some companies and governments use it as a cover for their own surveillance of people’s lives. People should also be aware of the hidden dangers that lie behind smart surveillance devices.

In 2021, Illinois enforced the Protecting Home Privacy Act in the United States, which requires law enforcement and other third-party companies to have legal access to records of data from users’ devices in their homes (Vittorio, 2021). The passage of this law is a step forward in regulating legal access to smart device data, which not only protects people’s privacy but also respects people’s morality in society. People place a high value on their family’s privacy, and this should not be exploited or violated under any circumstances.


Overall, based on current developments in cybersecurity and smart homes, home security cameras do raise a number of concerns about privacy, surveillance, and artificial intelligence and algorithms in the management and access of personal data. So as we develop and improve the smart home for the future maturity of home security cameras, the ethical and social impact of the technology will be the first and foremost factor to be considered. The development of the smart home must ensure that each individual will be treated fairly and equitably, that artificial intelligence must be human-centered, and that the data behind the AI will be used in a reasonable and responsible manner. This is the only way to ensure the privacy and security of smart home users and the sustainability of society. Finally, governments and technology companies should exercise their authority to ensure the safety of the public through improved policies and laws and to improve cyber security so that users’ interests are not violated while using smart technology. In today’s society, where we enjoy the rapid development of technology, technology should also be reasonable to protect our rights.


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