Should we trust Google with our smart homes?

“When Nest announced its acquisition of Dropcam, it reiterated that its privacy policy ensured that Dropcam data ‘won’t be shared with anyone (including Google) without a customer’s permission.’ But when we spoke with Gilad Meiri — the CEO of a Neura, a startup that seeks to connect you to all sorts of internet devices – in the wake of the $550 million deal, he predicted it was only a matter of time before Google started encouraging users to provide such data—something many people don’t think twice about,” Cade Metz reports for Wired. “And, indeed, in announcing its API program, Nest said that Google soon will offer tools that interact with Nest devices and ask users to share data. In August, for instance, the Google Now service will dovetail with the Nest thermostat to automatically change the temperature of your home when it knows you’re about to arrive.”

“Adi Kamdar, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, warns against this kind of thing,” Metz reports. “‘This poses some clear privacy issues,’ he says. ‘When we start seeing a pressure to share information with Google, that it pressure to give them a lot more information about you than they already have and it’s a lot more information than you necessarily need to give them. Ultimately, what you’re buying as a security solution or an energy solution that could become a source of information for things like advertising.'”

“The threat is two-fold. First, because it controls such an enormous amount of data about the world’s people, Google becomes a ‘honey pot’ for the NSA and other entities that can go beyond retrieving information via subpoena and National Security Letter and actually hack into Google’s systems, as recent revelations from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have shown,” Metz reports. “And second, you can never be sure how Google will use your personal data. As Meiri points out, Google has already said, in a letter to SEC, that it plans on delivering ads to thermostats and other connected devices.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: For those who hold their privacy dear, Apple will be the clear choice.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related article:
Why Apple really values your privacy – unlike Google, Facebook, or Amazon – June 25, 2014

30 Comments

  1. HomeKit really shows how much effort Apple put into privacy. Nothing about your home is shared with them it stays only within your own devices and with the latest crypto too.

    If you want to share it with some service you can do so using an app, but that must come from your own actions (and with your permission).

    The Nest developer API on the other hand relies entirely on connecting via their – now Google’s – “cloud”, so they see everything, can analyse and share with whoever they want – all without your knowledge.

    1. The thermostat is only there to watch over you.. the ads will be on the web as usual.

      Soon your thermostat will be setting itself a little warmer and you’ll start seeing more ads for ice cream on the web…

      Nest users will become guinea pigs for Google and their very profitable psycho-marketing experiments.

  2. No personal electronic device or “appliance” should be mandated to automatically connect to either a network or the Internet unless the user specifically allows it.

    I can guarantee that there are already break-in thieves who are looking at how to identify homes with no one in them. If electronic devices give away this info, it is going to be bad for the homeowner.

    Some of my computers go on the Internet, others, like My Win7 machine, NEVER go on the Internet once they are set up and running fine. I don’t trust Windows to be on the Internet routinely as too many bad things happen including updates that cause problems.

  3. I have a Nest and really liked it but the minute Google bought it I started looking for an alternative .
    Considering the battle that people have put up over Smart power meters and then go stick one of those things in their house
    Go figure

  4. No way.

    You might as well as get a paedophile to look after your kids.

    Put google in your home and you have a company that will spy on every aspect of your private life.

    They will know where you live, when you leave the house and come home, all about your family, where your kids go to school, who their friends are, what films and games they play, what food you ear. Absolutely everything.

    No way am I having big brother in my house recording every aspect of my personal life so they can farm information and sell it.

  5. The way a person(company) does one thing is the way they do everything. Google has already demonstrated quite admirably that it is untrustworthy. They will not live that reputation down for generations yet to come.

  6. Those coders need some type of eye candy excitement. I mean they are banging away at their keyboards all day and night and have to release some love every now and then, so owning a spy cam business will make it much more convenient to rub little Johny behind the ears.

    What?!? You are outraged?!? You actually thought they paid $500 million for a security cam company for it to be secure? They probably will add speakers to those suckers and say things like, “This is God, now Twerk naked or no Kik for you. And don’t forget to practice safe sex. Buy your condoms today, at Walmart.”

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