There is always that trepidation around smart home devices, particularly smart cameras. If you are one of those folks still unsure if you need one of these in your life, this potential incident reported by a Xiaomi smart security camera user, should seal the fate. A Redditor with the screenname /u/Dio-V has shared his rather scary experience where he called out to see the feed of his own Xiaomi Mi security camera on the Google Nest Hub smart display, but instead got to see feeds from the same family of cameras installed in the homes or business establishments of others.
In his post on Reddit, /u/Dio-V says that when he attempted to load the live feed from the Xiaomi camera he had installed somewhere in his home, instead he got to see stills of the video feeds from other users who may have installed the Xiaomi line of smart cameras in their homes. He writes, “When I load the Xiaomi camera in my Google home hub I get stills from other people's homes!!” and has shared a video elaborating on what he is pointing at. The stills show he had visuals from another home which showed a baby sleeping, somebody’s bedroom and another visual which gave /u/Dio-V a glimpse into the living room of another home where a man is believed to be sleeping. And all this can be extremely disturbing, considering a lot of folks are adopting smart home tech in general.
In the meantime, Google has responded to this possible scare, by snapping the Google Assistant access for Xiaomi Mi and Xiaomi Mijia line of smart security cameras. A Google spokesperson in an official statement to tech website Android Authority confirmed that they are “aware of the issue and are in contact with Xiaomi to work on a fix. In the meantime, we’re disabling Xiaomi integrations on our devices.”
At this point, it is hard to say who has messed up, if this really is proved to be a genuine privacy and security concern with Xiaomi smart security cameras, and not just an elaborate hoax with faked images. It does seem that the feeds and images which this user picked up when trying to access the feed of his own Xiaomi security camera, are from cameras that users would have linked with their Google Assistant—the Mi Home and the Google Assistant integration that would allow them to view their feeds on smart displays such as the Google Nest Hub.
This is not the first time smart cameras have been the reason for things going pear shaped. Last year, Google’s own Nest cameras were in the line of fire when a Milwaukee based couple Samantha and Lamont Westmoreland reported how a hacker took over their Nest Smart Home system and also spoke with them via the Nest smart camera installed in their home.