Sometimes I just watch

They think, ‘If I put all these cameras up, I’ll be safe.’ Safe from what? … It’s only making them more afraid."

Sometimes I just watch
(Photo by Antonina Bukowska)

Full story: Ring and Nest helped normalize American surveillance and turned us into a nation of voyeurs

They analyzed their neighbors. They monitored their kids and house guests. And they judged the performance of housekeepers, babysitters and other domestic workers, often without letting them know they were being recorded. “I know maybe I should” tell them, one woman explained, “but they won’t be as candid.” ...

The cameras’ offering of secretive observation, some customers told The Post, often felt too enticing to ignore. Mari Gianati, whose Nest cameras watch over her waterfront home in Puerto Rico, said she uses the cameras to examine the housekeepers, the pool guy, the fumigator, the people who feed her birds and any strangers who pass by her private road, most of whom she said don’t know the cameras are there.

“I have to admit: Sometimes I just watch,” she said. Once she looked on for hours as her sister argued with workers over a delivery of damaged furniture. “Thank goodness I had WiFi!” she said. ...

But other camera owners said they would never dream of installing the systems inside. Catherine, a 58-year-old Florida snowbird who uses Blink cameras to watch her home in Minnesota and who requested to use only her first name, said the cameras have become so easy to turn on that many people don’t really think about what’s at stake. Parents who installed cameras in kids’ rooms, she said, might end up depriving them of the privacy they need to grow into independent adults.

“We’re all getting too paranoid. Everybody thinks they’re going to be the next victim. And it’s set into us this mentality that we have to watch everything and everybody,” she said. “They think, ‘If I put all these cameras up, I’ll be safe.’ Safe from what? … It’s only making them more afraid.”

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