The Internet of Things market, from smart homes to smart cars, promises a lot of conveniences but, like everything, also comes with hidden costs. For this segment of products, that cost is a reliance on the Internet or at least some form of connectivity. While some devices can continue working even after remote servers go dark, others are so intricately tied to the cloud that they immediately stop working once that plug is pulled, like the dozens of Guardzilla security cameras that have now become totally worthless without any warning.
With the proliferation of connected security cameras these days, it’s quite understandable if Guardzilla’s name doesn’t even ring a bell. That may be the reason why the now-defunct company presumed it could get away with slowly riding off into the sunset, at least until Consumer Reports got wind of the situation. Having been involved in a few security and privacy issues in the past years, its unannounced disappearance definitely puts a nail in the coffin of its reputation.
Owners of Guardzilla’s security cameras have been complaining not only about connectivity problems but also unresponsive customer support. It turns out that the reason for those is because Guardzilla shut down its business for good without informing users. It didn’t inform even retailers since some are still selling those cameras that will never work.
Of course, this adds insult to injury to users that may have been anxious about security flaws that will now never be fixed. Then again, they will never be able to use those cameras anyway. One problem, however, is that video clips that were stored on Guardzilla’s servers are no longer accessible now. The company’s terms of service do give it the right to sell personal information to a potential buyer to improve the service. It doesn’t mention anything about the company shutting down for good.
To be fair, Guardzilla isn’t alone in practically bricking perfectly working devices by pulling the cloud plug on users. Others before it, however, have at least given customers a month to prepare for the shutdown. Given the company’s already negative reputation, it won’t be surprising if customers band together to file a lawsuit. Presuming, of course, they can still find the people involved.