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“There’s still a reasonable expectation of privacy if you’re crashing on someone’s couch,” said Ohm.“Even if it’s his house, you would expect privacy when he’s away if you’re not informed about a camera.” Ohm said the most relevant law is the Wiretap Act, because Dropcams—the top-selling camera on Amazon—capture not just video but audio.

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Unbeknownst to her, Riley had stumbled into one of the thornier privacy issues raised by the growth of Airbnb, Couchsurfing, and other home-sharing services, which have us sleeping in other people’s houses more often than ever before.(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.Chahal ultimately pled guilty to misdemeanor battery, and was sentenced to three years probation and community service.Surprisingly, Dropcam’s privacy policy doesn’t warn customers that the government could seize the cloud-based video from their cameras or tap into their live-streams, and doesn’t state under which circumstances the company would comply with such a request.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.

But when others share your space, the legal issues get murkier.

“I would be shocked to learn that there’s a bright line where you can spy on anyone you want in your own home,” says Paul Ohm, a privacy scholar at the University of Colorado-Boulder Law School.

In Google’s 2014 annual report, it said that it plans to “innovate upon devices in the home, making them more useful, intuitive, and thoughtful,” and that Dropcam parent company Nest “expects to continue to reinvent products that will help shape the future of the connected home.” Hopefully, the future of Google’s connected home will, at least, involve being included in the company’s transparency report, which reveals how often law enforcement seeks information about users of its products.

Riley, who remained in Conor’s apartment for another (awkward) month after discovering the hidden bookshelf camera, says she feels psychologically scarred by the episode, and that she worries about being surreptitiously taped in private spaces now.

(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.