Google recently published a pretty clear declaration of how committed it is to privacy in the home. "Your home is a special place. It's where you get to decide who you invite in," the Google document states, adding that people want to trust the things they bring into their homes before insisting, "we're committed to earning that trust."
Wow, did the events of a few weeks ago ever blow that concept, when it emerged that owners of the popular Google Nest Cam Indoor home security camera could be spied upon in their own home.
Someone sold his Nest Cam to a friend, and discovered he was still able to access images from his old camera, despite having reset the device before selling it. As it turns out, while resetting the camera meant the new owner couldn't spy on the old one, it didn't work when the roles were reversed.
Most devices have a hard reset feature, but it seems the Nest products could allow a previous owner to access streamed images from a new installation. Now that's scary. Google has, in fairness, fixed the issue with the Nest Cam Indoor, it would appear. Once they were aware of the issue they have rolled out a fix that will update automatically, so if you own a Nest camera, there's no need to take any action… so they said.
They did however, say the trouble is, whenever you bring a "smart" device into your home, one with a microphone or camera for sure, then the opportunity is always there for your peace of mind to be far from peaceful when it comes to privacy issues, as this case demonstrates.
Since the merger of Nest with Google, the trust issue becomes a harder sell. New Nest users will be required to use a Google account, and of course we all know migrating to a Google Account means turning all your Nest data over to Google data.
Google has now taken ownership of the privacy issue, and the fact Google acted so quickly in shutting down this Nest Cam Indoor spying bug, is reassuring. However, Google bought Nest in 2014, and it took six years to figure this out. How many used Nest Cams are out there with people being ‘watched’ by strangers?