A class action alleges eufy’s privacy claims are misleading in that the brand’s security cameras upload biometric facial data and live footage to the cloud in a format that’s unencrypted and viewable by third parties.
A proposed class action alleges eufy’s privacy claims are misleading in that the smart home electronics brand’s security cameras upload consumers’ biometric facial data and live footage to the cloud in a format that’s unencrypted and viewable by third parties.
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The 28-page lawsuit says that the companies behind eufy—Anker Technology Corporation, Fantasia Trading LLC and Power Mobile Life LLC—advertise that the home security cameras would keep users’ information private, encrypted and stored locally off the cloud.
However, the suit charges that these privacy claims are “patently false” since the products not only capture and upload identifiable images and footage to the cloud but do so without encrypting the data, allowing third parties to stream and view the footage freely.
Despite eufy’s uniform representations of privacy, the security devices—which are sold on Amazon.com and in retail stores such as Walmart and Best Buy—indeed upload users’ thumbnail images to the cloud, even when a consumer has declined to use the eufy cloud storage option, the case contends.
Further, the products also allegedly use facial recognition technology on those thumbnail images to “tie them” to individuals, regardless of whether a person is a eufy camera owner or “simply happens to pass, unwittingly, in front of a eufy device.” By “taking snapshots” of “unsuspecting individuals” who pass a eufy camera and uploading the images to the cloud, the devices are able to track a person’s unique facial ID across the entire camera platform, the filing says.
In other words, “once recorded on one eufy Security Camera, those same individuals are recognized via their biometrics on other eufy Security Cameras,” the lawsuit shares.
The suit stresses that the defendants’ “corporate voyeurism” and secret biometric data tracking are not only “deceptive trade practice[s]” but constitute a “gross invasion of privacy of each person who has ever happened to walk in front of a eufy product.”
What’s more, despite the companies’ marketing claims that user information is kept “private” and “encrypted,” independent testing has revealed that video and audio recorded by the security cameras could be freely streamed and viewed by third parties via VideoLAN Client (VLC) media player software, the case alleges.
As the complaint tells it, “literally anyone in the world could access and view unencrypted images and footage from the insides of eufy camera owners’ homes.”
Though the co-defendants—which together do business as Anker Innovations—admitted in November 2022 that users’ identifiable images were indeed uploaded to the cloud for “notification purposes,” the companies claimed the photos were then deleted, the filing relays.
Per the lawsuit, Anker Innovations directly denied the allegation that camera footage could be streamed anywhere using VLC software. However, the group announced in a December 2022 blog post that a modification to its systems has rendered “live streams” no longer viewable outside of “eufy’s secure Web portal,” the suit says.
The companies behind eufy have also purportedly revised the brand’s “privacy commitment,” removing any reference to “local storage” and instead simply promising “storage” in general, the case adds.
The plaintiff, a Florida resident, purchased numerous eufy devices from Amazon.com and eufy’s online store between February 2021 and November 2022, the complaint shares. According to the filing, the man’s purchases included the eufyCam 2 wireless camera, the Floodlight Cam, the Video Doorbell 2K (Wired), the Solo IndoorCam P24 (Wired), the Solo OutdoorCam C24, the SoloCam L20 Cam, the HomeBase 3, the Solar Panel Charger, the SoloCam S40 and the Entry Sensor.
As the suit tells it, the plaintiff chose not to use eufy’s cloud storage option, instead opting to keep his camera footage “local” and private only to him. The case claims that the man would not have bought the eufy devices had he known his and his family’s biometric data would be captured and stored on the cloud regardless of his privacy settings or that his live footage could be streamed by third parties.
The eufy products at issue in the lawsuit include the following:
eufyCam 2 Pro;
eufyCam 2C Pro;
SoloCams E20, E40, L20, L40 and S40;
Video Doorbell (Wired);
Video Doorbell (Battery);
Video Dual Doorbell (Wired);
Floodlight Cam 2K;
Floodlight Cam 2, 2K;
Floodlight Cam 2 Pro; and
4G Starlight Camera
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone who purchased any of the eufy security devices listed on this page within the applicable statute of limitations period.
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