back to article Still safe as houses: More CCTV for the masses

Last week, I looked at two home camera systems: Arlo from Netgear and Welcome from Netatmo. To recap, Arlo is pretty much a straightforward cloud-based CCTV system, offering you cameras with motion sensors and notification, together with an app to view things on your phone. Netatmo's Welcome is a stand-alone camera – again …

  1. Mark Allen

    Phoneline Weakpoint

    So if the burglar starts by cutting the phone cable outside the property these systems become pretty useless. Do they have any method of notifying you of that outage?

    Would seem more logical to me that these have some kind of 3G fallback available.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Phoneline Weakpoint

      You can get routers that will fall-back to 3G dongles, etc, for business redundancy (e.g. several of the DrayTek models) so if you are really worries you should consider that. And also having images backed up to an external NAS/cloud in case the thief has the sense to nick the recorder as well. And proper alarms will also check the line is not dead for just that reason.

      1. David Black

        Re: Phoneline Weakpoint

        Yep, even the freebie router I was supplied by EE came with a 4G dongle that plugs into the USB port. Though you do need a SIM and obviously a data sub... I'm surprised that no operator has thought of doing an "emergency" sub that allows passive connection and only charges massively when used. Few PAYG deals enable more than the odd meg or so of data on use rather than as an upfront cost.

        The other issue for cameras is the "top of head" database from external cameras. Most captured footage is useless to the police to id against suspects in the database due to the view angle. You really need at most 15 degrees off straight to get a match... Typically this means fitting cameras at around 7ft height which is too tamper friendly. Also fish-eye lenses and wide angle lenses are no-nos for the same reason :(

        Then there's the spiders... all cameras with IR sources will attract spiders and you'll end up watching a lot of nature footage on your motion detection recordings. Actually that would be a great feature for the software that is mostly missing today -- in the playback window jump to the frame and highlight the trigger object rather than making me watch a few seconds only to see the neighbours cat heading in for its daily crap in my garden.

        But loved the article and agree that all solutions have a ways to go.

        1. David Black

          Re: Phoneline Weakpoint

          Oh, and internal cameras are creepy and only for weirdos. I'd also suspect there's a risk of ending up on the sex offenders register if your kids are anything like mine and regularly run around naked and you then pushed that footage to anywhere...

        2. Andy Tunnah

          Re: Phoneline Weakpoint

          Spray peppermint around or near the devices, spiders hate it

          1. gerdesj Silver badge

            Re: Phoneline Weakpoint

            Spiders:

            * Silicone grease is an enviro unfriendly last resort - cover the lense then spray around the cam and about 1 foot of nearby wall. Repeat say 2 monthly.

            * Fill all nearby holes in wood/brickwork.

            * Get one of those "ticklestick" style dusters and mount on the end of a suitably long stick and use it to clear the webs and insects.

            Spiders are a fact of life and I personally quite like them. If all else fails then sprayable silicone grease (Maplin do one in the UK - a WD40 branded one I think - not the usual WD40 BTW, its in a green and gold on white can) should be an absolute last resort. You may find that changing the cam location might help as well.

    2. gerdesj Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Phoneline Weakpoint

      "So if the burglar starts by cutting the phone cable"

      In my case it is underground from BT's green box but I have a PAYG mobile, a UPS wired up to my hand crafted alarm and camera system and a really bad attitude (*) towards people who might want to invade my home.

      Cheers

      Jon

      (*) My attitude might include a fencing maul, which is like a really big sledgehammer with a wider head. Anything hit by it .... stays hit.

  2. Martin Summers Silver badge

    I'm thinking you should definitely be unplugging the one in the bedroom when you are 'entertaining' I can't imagine your guest being too pleased when he discovers that you've got a camera watching proceedings! I'd explain before, switch it off and cover it over.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Perhaps some of them will find it a thrill :-)

      Now, if only there was a camera with built in support for Pay Per View...

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        Ha, now that thought crossed my mind too Nigel but better be safe than sorry. You could always present them with a consent form and see how it goes ;-)

      2. Dick Emery

        There are some sites that offer that facility already and for free! A certain site with 'hub' in the name for example (Not that I frequent those kinds of sites of course *cough*).

  3. gerdesj Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Start with this

    "Given a few hundred quid, it's probably better spent on good locks and door/window frames first, before splashing out on connected cameras."

    Now that is good advice. I'm a nerd of the first order and love a good technical toy errr solution but for home security, make your home difficult to get into in the first place. Then ensure that valuable stuff is hard to remove.

    Telly? Most wall mountings have holes all over the place so put a bolt through them with a castle nut or something to make it hard to remove without a toolkit. Other things with a case - put a bolt or two with a really wide washer (it's probably a plastic shell so spread the load) through it to the unit that it is in or on.

    Where possible, put IT related gear in the attic. Things like NASs and camera watchers can be homed up there nicely and you then have a relatively easy drop via the external walls and conduit (generally wife friendly when confronting her aesthetics mode). Get a UPS (forty odd quid off of say APC) and connect it to a nearby lighting circuit (nearly always available in the attic) if a ring isn't handy and you don't fancy putting in a dedicated circuit off your consumer unit. Do follow wiring regs though - be safe or get someone in ...

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "cloud-based CCTV"

    Isn't that a contradiction in terms ? The CC part is supposed to mean Closed-Circuit, right ? So plugging it into the cloud kills the "closed" part.

    That being said, I often would very much like to know, when the doorbell rings, if it is worth getting up from my office chair and going downstairs to answer. It's nice to know that technology is getting better and offering more options.

    Maybe one day I'll finally buy a cam to put in the bushes on the side and point it to my front door. Then my only problem will be how to thread the cable back into the house to my router. That done, I've got my doorcam and will finally be able to avoid traveling salesmen reliably.

  6. MacNews

    How to protect outside cameras?

    A little camera standing on a desk will get knocked over right quick in a robbery.

    Why not review outdoor cameras, and how to harden them from a fist or baseball bat. Plus cloud backup from NAS in case of arson.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Revised ICO advice -thanks for that

    Followed the link to the ICO and was surprised to see how much the wording for private users has changed. Pretty sure when I last looked it was fairly laid back on private use as long as you didn't film others about their daily business but seems now catch a glimpse of a neighbour or anything beyond your fence and you are a CCTV data controller. Got me thinking about the remit of the new guidelines.

    Does a shadow count? if my neighbour casts a reflection on my window does it mean I need to report in to the local ICO office with "my paperz"? Is Youtube going to be purged of those films where a member of the public walks past? is this the start of a clamp down generally on the private use of recording equipment and cloud upload?

    From https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/cctv/

    "We do not propose to take action during the coming year against an individual for failing to register their use of domestic CCTV cameras following this judgement, except in exceptional cases. If the position changes we will update this guidance."

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