(Update: And law enforcement has come calling with warrants.) An oblique reference in the Dropcam privacy policy says, “We may release Personal Information when we believe in good faith that release is necessary to comply with that law.” A slightly more explicit nod to this possibility can be found on Dropcam’s security page, where it states that “a very select number of employees (senior engineering leadership) have the ability to access video data only when legally required.” Ohm was surprised by this.“They could encrypt people’s video feeds so that the company could never look at them. ” said Ohm, who called the nature of the disclosure “bad lawyering.” He added: “From a legal point of view, this should be in the privacy policy, not buried in the security policy.” Ohm speculated that Dropcam may have left access available to its employees so they could troubleshoot customers’ technical problems, or worse, that the company plans to monetize the video streams in some way.Take tech executive Gurbaksh Chahal, who had cameras throughout his home in San Francisco—including two in his bedroom.

“If the camera isn’t visible and visitors are not warned, there’s potential criminal and civil liability.” It’s not just a problem for guests; the cams can also invade their owners’ privacy.

What’s captured by an in-home camera’s all-seeing eye could be simply blush-inducing, as when a Dropcam e-mailed Metafilter founder Matt Haughey a nude photo of himself.

The anti-eavesdropping law poses a problem for anyone with a Dropcam or audio monitoring system in their home if they are taping guests or nannies without giving them a heads-up.

“You can’t bug a room if someone should have an expectation of privacy,” said Ohm.

“Eventually these cameras are going to get smaller and then it’ll be really concerning,” said Ohm.

“I don’t think it’s a net benefit for society that cameras are getting smaller and easier to use.

(Literally.) Last month, Dropcam was involved in another surreptitious spying episode when Airbnb guests discovered three Dropcams hidden in the apartment they had rented from a Canadian host.

You’re allowed to record yourself in your own home, of course.

But she discovered a receipt that revealed it had been purchased just three weeks earlier.

She called the police, but they told her they couldn’t do anything.

While Conor hasn’t suffered any legal consequences, Riley wrote a blog post about what happened, which includes Conor’s full name and is steadily making its way to the front page of his Google results.