Google’s Nest Secure system contains a hidden microphone that Google kept secret from users

“If your IoT device secretly contained a microphone, which was previously undocumented, would you be happy when the device maker announced an over-the-air update that can enable the microphone for virtual assistant voice functionality?” Ms. Smith reports for CSO. “That’s what happened with the security alarm system Nest Secure.”

“I suppose it depends upon your outlook on if you are happy or creeped out that your security system secretly had an undocumented microphone capable of doing the listening all along,” Smith reports.

“Google didn’t really focus on the ‘surprise there was a microphone hidden in the Nest Guard brain of your Nest Secure’ angle, preferring a take on how Google Assistant and Nest Guard can help you out,” Smith reports. “The announcement concluded with: ‘We’ve built Nest Secure around you and the way you live, so you won’t be able to disarm the system using your voice. With the Google Assistant built in, your security system is now even more helpful.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, at least one of those who chose a Google product for “home security” isn’t so debilitatingly stupid or morbidly naive as to not be able to manage to contact a lawyer to begin a very necessary class action lawsuit over Google’s “oversight” (pun intended).

Unfortunately, these poor saps chose to buy a Google product for “home security” in the first place, so all bets are off. They’re much more likely smiling over their drool cups about getting a “free” microphone from Google.

“Nest Secure.” What a joke.

If Google cannot track users, their business model is not viable. — MacDailyNews, February 14, 2019

SEE ALSO:
Some 17,000 Android apps track users, even when told to stop – February 14, 2019
Is Google purposefully breaking Microsoft, Apple browsers on its websites? – December 19, 2018
Google exposed user data, did not disclose to public fearing repercussions – October 10, 2018
After trying and failing to hide the issue, Alphabet pulls plug on Google+ after bug exposes data from up to 500,000 users – October 8, 2018
Why I’m done with Google’s Chrome browser – September 24, 2018
Researchers find Google harvests more data from Android – and Apple iOS – users than most people think – August 21, 2018
Google hit with lawsuit accusing them of tracking phone users regardless of privacy settings – August 20, 2018
Google tracks users movements even when explicitly told not to – Associated Press – August 13, 2018
New Android malware records ambient audio, fires off premium-rate texts, and harvests files, photos, contacts, and more – March 2, 2018
How Google is secretly recording Android settlers, monitoring millions of conversations every day and storing the creepy audio files – August 22, 2017
Android apps secretly tracking users by listening to inaudible sound hidden in ads – May 8, 2017
Edward Snowden: No matter what, do not use Google’s new Allo messenger app – September 23, 2016
Apple’s iOS 11 will deliver even more privacy to users – June 8, 2017
Google to pay $5.5 million for sneaking around Apple’s privacy settings to collect user data – August 31, 2016
Apple takes a swing at privacy-tampling, personal data-guzzling rivals like Google – September 29, 2015
Apple reinvents the privacy policy – September 29, 2015
Apple: Hey Siri and Live Photos data stays only on your device to ensure privacy – September 12, 2015
Apple issues iPhone manifesto; blasts Android’s lack of updates, lack of privacy, rampant malware – August 10, 2015
Edward Snowden supports Apple’s stance on customer privacy – June 17, 2015
Mossberg: Apple’s latest product is privacy – June 12, 2015
Apple looks to be building an alternative to the Google-branded, hand-over-your-privacy ‘Internet Experience’ – June 11, 2015
Understanding Apple and privacy – June 8, 2015
Edward Snowden: Apple is a privacy pioneer – June 5, 2015
Edward Snowden’s privacy tips: ‘Get rid of Dropbox,” avoid Facebook and Google – October 13, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
Apple slams Google in Safari 7.1 release notes: ‘Adds DuckDuckGo, a search engine that doesn’t track users’ – September 18, 2014
A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants – September 18, 2014
Google to pay $17 million to settle U.S. states’ Safari user tracking probe – November 20, 2013
Judge dismisses case against Google over Safari user tracking – October 11, 2013
UK Apple Safari users sue Google for secretly tracking Web browsing – January 28, 2013
Google pays $22.5 million to settle charges of bypassing Apple Safari privacy settings – August 9, 2012
US FTC votes to fine Google $22.5 million for bypassing Safari privacy settings; Settlement allows Google to admit no liability – July 31, 2012
Google’s D.C. lobbyists have outspent Apple nearly 10 to 1 so far this year – July 23, 2012
Google to pay $22.5 million to settle charges over bypassing privacy settings of millions of Apple users – July 10, 2012
Apple’s anti-user tracking policy has mobile advertisers scrambling – May 9, 2012
Google said to be negotiating amount of U.S. FTC fine over Apple Safari breach – May 4, 2012
Cookies and privacy, Google and Safari – February 25, 2012
Obama’s privacy plan puts pinch on Google – February 24, 2012
Obama administration outlines online privacy guidelines – February 23, 2012
Google sued by Apple Safari-user for bypassing browser privacy – February 21, 2012
Google responds to Microsoft over privacy issues, calls IE’s cookie policy ‘widely non-operational’ – February 21, 2012
Google’s tracking of Safari users could prompt FTC investigation – February 18, 2012
WSJ: Google tracked iPhone, iPad users, bypassing Apple’s Safari browser privacy settings; Microsoft denounces – February 17, 2012

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

20 Comments

      1. Yes. It’s called any page you search from.

        You have to know Google is running your search, by default, in the first place. Nowhere are you presented a choice for a search provider.

        Then… where is your cut of the $12B?

          1. Apple cynic is well know to be a trollish phule. He was the XeroBumski and Phaike-Shean before we had either of those two ass-klowns.

            Just take his assery with a huge grain of salt.

          2. I had not need to change it, my mother in law IS clueless you presumptuous twit!

            But to change it, you first need to know it’s happening. A much better option would be to offer an explicit choice and to not get paid to lease your base.

  1. Thanks for your valuable insight, zeroloser.

    Still waiting to hear about your own awesome business experience that allows you to make your numerous brilliant pronouncements on Apple and Tim Cook.

    1. Well, if it has a speaker any audiophile will tell you that it could be used as a rudimentary microphone if you reverse the wires. I don’t think that would be too problematic doing via software these days. HW wise microphones and speakers are basically the same just with different added ‘extras’ to boost signals in one direction or the other.

  2. Apparently Google claims “they forgot” to tell users about it.
    If I were a Nest owner I don’t if I would prefer that to be true or not.
    If true, its implies utter incompetence, “one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing”.
    If its a lie, we all know what that implies, and its along the lines with how everyone already perceives them in the first place. Evil, corrupt etc. (insert applecynics Dr. Evil pic here)

  3. I don’t really follow products such as these, but whenever Apple launches something, pretty well the very next day we see reports of what’s inside by people who take them apart and work out what everything is.

    Does this only happen to Apple devices? How come nobody did a tear down on a Nest Secure device when it was launched and noticed that a microphone was in there?

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.