Google kills Assistant support for creepy Mi Home Cam

Google kills Assistant support for creepy Mi Home Cam

Search engine giant Google, which is already reeling under pressure from privacy advocates for not doing enough to secure Play store from malware-laced apps, is now facing another similar, but more serious issue. But, to be fair, it cannot be blamed fully, as the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) partner Xiaomi is also guilty of failing to detect a creepy bug.

It has come to light that Xiaomi's Mijia 1080p Smart IP security camera has a glitch that shows owners, the images of people leaving in other homes. The news first came out on a social media platform Reddit.

Mi Home camera feed still image showing a baby sleeping in someone else's home (Reddit screen-shot)

Netherland-based Reddit user who goes by the moniker u/Dio-V said that while reviewing the security of his home, he asked Google Assistant to show images taken from Xiaomi's Mi security camera on his Google Home Hub and to his shock, it displayed images taken from strangers' homes.

Mi Home camera feed still image showing an old man sleeping on a recliner (Reddit screen-shot)

One of the images showed an old man sleeping on a recliner, while in another picture, it had a child sleeping in a crib. Another showed an empty living room space. The Redditor u/Dio-V is freaked out over the Mi Security camera's creepy bug, as he is worried the Xiaomi device might have leaked his home's images to someone else.

After the incident reached the news media, Google has killed the Mi Home app integration with the Google Assistant. With this move, consumers will not be able to ask Google Assistant to control  Xiaomi's smart devices such as bulbs, LED lamps, security cameras, Mi Body Composition Scale, Mi Smart Sensor Set, Mi Air Purifier and other gadgets.

Mi Home camera feed still image showing a living room of someone else's house (Reddit screen-shot)

DH reached out to both Google and Xiaomi for the official response and here is what they have to say:

Google spokesperson's response:

"We’re aware of the issue and are in contact with Xiaomi to work on a fix. In the meantime, we’re disabling Xiaomi integrations on our devices."

Here's what Xiaomi spokesperson said to DH

Xiaomi has always prioritized our users' privacy and information security. We are aware there was an issue of receiving stills while connecting Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p on Google Home hub. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused to our users.

Our team has since acted immediately to solve the issue and it is now fixed. Upon investigation, we have found out the issue was caused by a cache update on December 26, 2019, which was designed to improve camera streaming quality. This has only happened in extremely rare conditions. In this case, it happened during the integration between Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p and the Google Home Hub with a display screen under poor network conditions.

We have also found 1044 users were with such integrations and only a few with extremely poor network conditions might be affected. This issue will not happen if the camera is linked to the Xiaomi’s Mi Home app.

Xiaomi has communicated and fixed this issue with Google, and has also suspended this service until the root cause has been completely solved, to ensure that such issues will not happen again.

Get the latest news on new launches, gadget reviews, apps, cyber security and more on personal technology only on DH Tech.

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