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Home Security Cameras and Privacy Concerns

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drdm:
Hello guys,
I recently decided that I need to install a security camera at a certain place at my house and I started looking trough the options.
As far as I understood there are 2 main ones - a smart IP camera that connects to LAN/Wi-Fi and is controlled by an app or an analog solution with a DVR.
The DVR solution is not really an option for me, because it is too expensive and too complex and I need just one camera. That leaves me with the smart option.
After some research I put my finger on a TP-Link Tapo C320WS: https://www.tp-link.com/en/home-networking/cloud-camera/tapo-c320ws/
It looks cool, it has a lot of features and overall I think it will do the job.
There is however one concern, that I have: This camera records everything and streams it trough the web so it can be viewed from anywhere. But
I have no idea trough what king of server does this signal go. Does the camera act as a server itself? How secure is the whole thing overall?
It has an option for an SD card, but I not sure if it can operate on it alone. Every time I see the word cloud I tend to get suspicious.
I may sound paranoid, but in my mind, every time I click "I accept the terms and conditions." on some app, I accept the fact the my data is not private anymore.
Are there any simpler (not smart) alternatives with a comparable price? Has anyone had experience
with such cameras?
I hope my questions aren't too vague.
Cheers!

Berni:
In 99% of cases the server is in the cloud.

Forwarding ports trough the LAN is too complicated for users. So instead these cameras connect out to the cloud servers where they wait for the application to connect. It does vary if the videos get stored on the cameras SD card or on the servers, but in either case the manufacturer can see everything the camera captured.

If you are concerned with privacy having your own DVR is the way to go. This means that you store the video on there locally and you have full control in what software you run on it. There are also cameras that will only record to a SD card with no internet connectivity. You can fit a lot of video on a SD card and the camera just keep recording in an endless loop, when something happens you pull the card out and check.

drdm:
Great answer!
Now I only need to find such a "dumb" camera, because it seems they are a bit hard to find. The market is flooded with "smart" ones!
Any recommendations on that front? 

tom66:
ANNKE make some good DVRs, I have one of their 4 channel ones.  When I bought it, it was about £50 GBP which included 2x 720p bullet cameras.  HDD was an extra £40 if you want storage.  Still working OK, but the bullet cameras died somehow...possibly my fault as I added a battery to it for backup power.  Replacement camera (960x1080 "1080p-Lite") was not too much though.

These cameras use analog signalling for the video, it is essentially a modified non-interlaced PAL-type composite signal with a chrominance burst of 12MHz at the start of each line and up to 1080 lines.   I believe it's called HD-CVI.  Anyway, the benefit is all the video goes down a coax, no need for Cat5 etc.   Commands can also be sent to the cameras to adjust image over the same connection.  They do need a separate 12V power supply though, but most cable kits include these into a single run of cable with a Y-breakout at either end.

onesixright:
I was in the same boat. I basically trust no-one when it comes to camea's. There are obviously privacy concern, but camera's can also be an "attack vector" to get in your network.

I solved it as follows:

- Window 10 (Lenovo M720Q) box with Blue Iris (=CCTV server) 
- All TCP/IP camera's (wired) (could be wifi if they would do WPA2)
- All camera's are on its on (CCTV) VLAN (which can not connect to the internet). Since its on it own VLAN, even my normal LAN can not access the camera's directly.
- (on demand) VPN connection to my WAN, which can connect to the BI server. So outside my LAN I can access the camera's on my phone.

Hope this can help you.

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