Xiaomi smart camera accidentally showed inside of strangers’ homes

3 Jan 2020

Image: © Africa Studio/Stock.adobe.com

Google responded to claims that Xiaomi smart cameras were streaming strangers’ home camera feeds by disabling integration with its Nest devices.

A user on Reddit has caused quite a storm after showing what appeared to be a clip of his Xiaomi Mijia 1080p Smart IP Security Camera showing images from inside strangers’ homes. The camera can be linked to a Google account and its various products – including the Nest brand – with Xiaomi’s Mi Home app service.

According to Android Police, when the person who brought the issue to Reddit tried to access a video feed from his connected camera, it actually projected a corrupted, black and white still image of someone else’s home. The user, who went by the name Dio-V, then showed a series of other clear images including a sleeping baby and a person asleep in a chair.

Dio-V claimed the images seen through his Nest Hub may be from other parts of the world as the timestamps on the Xiaomi branded products show different times.

When I load the Xiaomi camera in my Google home hub I get stills from other people’s homes!! from googlehome

Cause revealed

Google responded quickly to the claim and announced it was suspending Xiaomi integration with its products.

“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,” the company said.

Xiaomi has also responded to the incident, noting there was an issue with still images of strangers being seen when connecting the Mijia camera to the Google Home hub. Apologising for the error, the Chinese firm said that the issue has now been fixed.

“Upon investigation, we have found out the issue was caused by a cache update on 26 December 2019, which was designed to improve camera streaming quality,” it said.

“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.”

The company added that it found 1,044 users were affected, with only “a few” with extremely poor network connections also at risk.

“This issue will not happen if the camera is linked to the Xiaomi’s Mi Home app,” it said.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic