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Smart Home

Google Nest cameras won't let you turn off light that shows you're recording

Some owners say the prohibition could tip off thieves or disturb slumbering babes.

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Smile, you're on candid camera.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Some users of Nest security cameras are unhappy about an update that's rolling out to their smart devices. Google sent emails this week notifying people that the LED light on their cameras can no longer be turned off when the camera is on and recording. Google cites privacy concerns in explaining the change, which was first announced in May and affects the Nest Cam, Dropcam and Nest Hello.  

Previously, owners had the option to turn the light on or off when capturing or watching video. Now the light will blink.

On a Google Nest support forum, folks are complaining that having the light on and blinking while it's recording could potentially signal to thieves when they're being watched -- and when they're not.

Commenters also note that they use Nest security camera in other ways, like as baby monitors.

"Having a flashing light in the sleeping baby's room is INSANE!" one person wrote. 

Google says the change will offer greater transparency and privacy in Nest owners' homes.

"As part of our commitment to privacy, we explained that you would always see a clear visual indicator when your Nest cameras are on and sending video and audio to Google," a Google spokesperson said via email. 

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