A couple of months ago, Rilana Hamer from the Netherlands bought a small internet-connected camera from a local convenience store. She wanted to use the device to keep an eye on her puppy while away from the house. But it wasn’t only the puppy that was being watched.
“I thought I was going crazy,” the spooked woman said in a Facebook post. “I suddenly heard sounds in the living room. I walked up there and saw my camera move.”
“You connect it to your Wi-Fi and plug it into your power outlet. With a password on it and a safe installation, I could keep an eye on my house (I hoped). You can operate it on your phone and listen to what’s happening in your home. This was perfect.”
While the woman initially ignored the tool’s faulty behavior, she was prompted to take a second look after it continued to make noises. This is when she went back to the living room only to find the camera addressing her directly: “Bonjour madame,” it whispered.
Startled by the mysterious voice, Rilana responded: “Hi, is anyone there?” She moved around left and right, and surely the camera followed suit.
“Bonjour madame, tout bien avec vous,” the camera murmered again. This is when the woman pulled the plug and shoved the device back in the box.
“I was full of fear and thought I was crazy,” Rilana said in a Facebook post.
Eventually, the woman decided to turn on the camera one more time, armed with her camera phone in hand this time around. This is when the camera hummed creepily, “Hola señorita.”
This is hardly the first time internet-connected cameras have been caught surreptitiously spying on their owners.Back in 2016, US-based manufacturer Genesis Toys was accused of distributing toys that secretly recorded every sound they can pick up and later sold it to third-party advertising and marketing firms.
Obviously, things get a bit more troubling when the device is watching and recording your every move. Scary stuff.