Smart doorbells may be fun, but we don’t know who is using your face

This changes everything | Training facial recognition algorithms requires masses of data, and big tech companies can go to extreme lengths to get that, says Annalee Newitz


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11 December 2019

Nest Hello Smart Doorbell

Nest Hello Smart Doorbell

Ellie Reed/Alamy Stock Photo

I AM one of millions of people around the globe who have a smart doorbell with a hidden camera, controlled through an app. Now I can’t stop watching videos of my porch and the street beyond. I have a Google Nest smart home system, and it sends alerts to my phone that say things like: “Your doorbell camera thinks it has spotted a person.” Who wouldn’t be curious after receiving that? Is the person on my porch a suspicious lurker? Someone delivering a package? An old friend? In my case, the answer …