Face Face Recognition with Eufy, and Is That Still Possible: a Reply to the User Concerning the Security of the Homebase 3 App
The camera is no longer recommended by us due to recent news that the video may be uploaded to the cloud and possibly accessed without encrypting it. We’ll update after we hear the company’s response.
The EufyCam 3 delivers crisp and detailed 4K footage, has onboard AI capable of accurately identifying subjects and even faces, and boasts built-in solar panels to keep it fully charged. Homebase 3 hub allows for local storage with 16 gigabytes inside and can add up to 16 Terabytes of storage by adding a hard drive. But all this comes at a hefty price. The two-camera kit costs $550 while the three-camera kit is $680.
The headline feature here is facw recognition, so let’s deal with that first. You can tag the faces in the app with the help of Eufy’s artificial intelligence. When it recognizes a face, the name pops up in the alert on your phone; when it doesn’t recognize a face, it says a stranger has been detected. You can also add familiar faces manually and help train the system using a photo from your phone’s gallery or by taking a new shot (these need to be passport-style).
You can quickly differentiate between someone you’ve never met and your child coming home. I only bothered to check videos when a stranger was flagged, which really cuts down on false positives and wasted time. But the system takes a while to learn what people look like, and it requires a clear look at their faces to identify them.
If someone is wearing a hat, has their hood up, or passes the camera quickly without looking directly at it, BionicMind often fails to recognize them. The EufyCAM 3 can’t be used quickly because it is not the quickest camera to start. I found recordings that started halfway through the frame. It has become more accurate after around a month of testing. Now that it has multiple images of my mug, its hit rate at correctly identifying me is improving (from 50 percent or less, to around 80 percent).
We reported two weeks ago that Eufy lied to us about the security of its cameras, and have been pushing for answers from the company ever since. But the company hasn’t answered a single one of our questions — in fact, I haven’t gotten a single reply since December 1st.
I thought I would look at Eufy’s website and see if I could find some answers. I found that all of its privacy promises have been scrubbed from the page. It got nerfed — hard.
If we are asked to provide video recordings for law enforcement reasons, we will not release them without the customer’s consent or if there is an emergency involving death or serious physical injury. We object to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course. Unless prohibited from doing so or eufy has clear indication of illegal conduct in connection with the use of eufy products or services, eufy notifies customers before disclosing content information.
Some deletions are not all deletions. It’s clarified that customers can access footage via a web portal and you can choose to store your video clips in the cloud. The video recordings will not be shared, used or viewed for any other purpose. Your video can’t be accessed or shared without access to your account according to the new statement from Anker.
I would like to have copies of the answers the customer support agents are giving to the questions they are trying to answer. (I’m at [email protected].)
Do Doorbells and Security Cameras Make Us Safe? Answers to Eufy and Related Concerns on Their Scandals, Failures, and Successes
Security cameras and video doorbells have grown popular as an easy and affordable way to keep an eye on your home. The survey shows that about 28 percent of Americans protect their property with security cameras. It is easy to install the systems and protect yourself from porch pirates. (Whether they actually make you safer is a question for another day.) To get a better sense of what security camera system you should invest in, how to deal with breaches, and how to find a company you can trust, we spoke to a few experts. We also took a closer look at how Eufy handled its security woes.
A spokesperson explained to WIRED in an email that Eufy only uploaded images (video thumbnails) to deliver push notifications to customers, and in one other case for its Video Doorbell Dual, where it uploaded a face image of the user (for face recognition) to make it easier to set up multiple doorbell devices without having to upload a new image. Eufy has brought the language of its cloud use into line with other cloud uses, and removed the requirement for uploading.
It’s worth pointing out that this isn’t Eufy’s first security scandal. A bug in May 2021 exposed the live and recorded video streams from 712 customers to other Eufy app users, which is arguably worse than the more recent security flaw. But does it matter if a flaw was unlikely to have been exploited? It’s more important to look at how the company responds to these events.