12 News Defenders: Baby Monitor Dangers - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

12 News Defenders: Baby Monitor Dangers

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

You use baby monitors to keep a watchful eye on your child, but you're also providing a window for others to see inside your home. With a basic baby monitor, anyone can look inside a home from the street. It does not take much effort to get a clear view of a baby's bedroom. 

We found it in home after home. Not only could we see inside, we could hear, too.

When we showed Jeannette Pouncey we could see inside her granddaughters' room, she was terrified at the thought of who might be watching. "Worried about the kids now more than ever," she said.

Betty Battles uses a baby monitor to keep an eye on her disabled sister. She was shaken when we showed her how we could see and hear inside her home using our baby monitor. We could pick up her signal several hundred feet from her home. She said it was "shocking!"

It doesn't take any special knowledge, just a baby monitor. Analog monitors are not encrypted, meaning anyone can access them. Many families chose to shut off their monitors after we showed them how easy it is for anyone to hack into their cameras. They decided the safety measure wasn't worth the risk.

One idea - turn off the video and use the audio portion only. Better yet, get a digital monitor.  The baby monitor we used and the ones we accessed were all analog. Digital monitors are much more private. It should say "digital" on the box. We couldn't find any analog video monitors in any of the stores we visited.

[ON THE WEB: Consumer Reports baby monitor buying guide]

Digital monitors do carry some risk.  If you have an IP camera, one that you can access via your computer network, make sure it's password protected.

The Federal Trade Commission took action against the makers of one digital camera. The FTC said Trendnet's SecureView cameras had faulty software that left it open to online viewing. You can read more about that case here.

There was a lawsuit against the makers of the type of analog baby monitor we used. Summer Infant settled and the deadline to file a claim has passed.

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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