Security cameras with end-to-end encryption not cheap

Originally published at: Security cameras with end-to-end encryption not cheap | Boing Boing

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Unless you are some drug lord or a paranoid Supreme Court Justice is end to end encryption for a home retail camera even really necessary? Seems like they’re crossing over into a different market space than say BestBuy.

I consider it table stakes for anything on the cloud.


Good point. The days of recording directly to a home hard drive are over for most consumers.

First thing that came to mind was Fring’s meth lab cams from Breaking Bad.


Do you want a flimsy ToS and privacy policy and (possibly, depending on implementation) an internal audit log you’ll never have access to to be the only thing between the cameras in and around your house and whoever Phillips decides to put in charge of operating the system(or whoever succeeds in putting themselves into the system when Phillips screws up and leaves a hole or has a privileged credential phished)?

E2E isn’t some super-esoteric-military-encryption-with-kung-fu-grip option; it’s the only option aside from “manage everything yourself” and “vendor says ‘trust me bro’”.


Any bets on whether Philips at least interprets “end to end encryption” as including encryption; unlike Anker did with their line of it’s-more-expensive-because-it’s-more-secure cameras?

Meanwhile, you can put together a Unifi system with $200 for the simplest recording option ($300 for a better one that supports redundant drives), cameras for $80-$200+, and no subscription fee at all. Of course, the average person knows the name Philips and has never heard of Ubiquiti or Unifi.


I have Wyze and eufy wifi cameras that supposedly have end to end encryption (Anker got busted for unencrypted streams but now says it’s “largely fixed”). Cost was less than a quarter of the Hue camera.

But the bandwidth reduction needed to send footage through the cloud makes these wifi cameras less attractive to me. The time I caught a crime in progress on the periphery, the compression artifacts were much more of a problem than camera quality.

I’m starting to think about moving to an old school wired, non-internet local storage system. Hopefully they have started incorporating decent AI person detection, which is the standout feature of some wifi cameras.

There are some good options still. You just won’t find them in most retail shops. And they are more difficult to set up for non techies.

I have migrated my network at home over to ubiquti equipment. One nice feature is that some of their router/firewalls support functioning as a nvr with their cameras. It also gives a really nice interface for remote viewing. It’s not the cheapest solution and advanced setup requires some learning. But it’s a great medium complexity option with very nice cameras including a doorbell camera. I’m going to start migrating all my nest devices over to ubiquiti cameras in the near future.

There are also cameras that can record to a local NAS (like a synology) but I’m less familiar with the current options.

For now with my Nest system I simply don’t have cameras pointing anywhere private (like inside). I don’t see any major security risk of someone hacking into my external video feed which is visible from the street anyway. My main motivation to switch to on site recording is to drop subscription fees and avoid the current chaos of the terrible “improved” google home camera interface.

(Check out ubiquiti/ unifi, their new cameras have some cool AI person detection systems, and you can run them on PoE so only one cable, or use a wifi model)

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I have one of the old-school DVR systems from back in 2011-2012; the cameras more or less suck on them (SD, fixed focus optics, and really crappy night vision capabilities) and the head unit has enough security flaws and holes that it never got connected to my home network after I moved. (Hell, I didn’t even bother putting it back up until 2014 or so due to some… chaos with a now-former roommate)

Not totally sold on the Alledged Intellegence part of the cameras, but if I were to replace what I have, it’d be a ubiquiti system- All I’d need is the cameras and a small PoE switch to drive them and uplink back to the rest of the place, as I already have a capable CloudKey unit that runs the rest of my home network stack.

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Oh yeah. Phillips Hue has a bunch of other sins that were mentioned in the article, so I won’t repeat them here, but that brand has been on my “don’t bother” list for a while because of those sins (and the other long list of hassles within the Hue product line as well. )


I’ll admit the hue ecosystem has some neat features with the color adjustments etc. It’s also really easy for the average person to set up and get some nice lighting controls.

But yeah like you I also avoided it for many reasons.

I went for Lutron Casetta Pro light controls and am very happy. It just works from local switches and remotes, and you can integrate into other automation systems if you so desire, response time is near instant as well. Plus there is only one bridge device to connect to your network (wired) and I stuck it into an iot vlan. (Note Lutron stuff is not necesarily DIY depending on local regulations and experience).

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That’s just a restatement of the failed “if you’ve got nothing to hide” argument.

I am truly tired of having to fight for every scrap of personal privacy in this modern world. I have ad blockers, DNS blockers, script blockers, VPNs, and more, just to be online.

And I refuse to buy certain “smart” things that connect to their cloud, even though they might do exactly what I want, because they silently hand over my data to unknown third parties. Or even the seller: what right does Phillips have to know when I turn on a light?

We’re promised the right “to be secure in [our] persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…” Which again elevates encryption to table stakes. We shouldn’t ever have to justify encryption, we should instead expect it, and be supremely disappointed by its absence.


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