NEWS22 January 2014

Nest chief vows data privacy changes would be opt in

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GERMANY — Nest, the smart thermostat maker that was last week bought by Google, has said that any changes to its data collection and sharing practices will require consumers to opt in.


Speaking at the DLD Conference in Munich (via The Next Web), Nest CEO and co-founder Tony Fadell said: “At this point, there are no changes. The data that we collect is all about our products and improving them.”

But, he added: “If there were ever any changes whatsoever, we would be sure to be transparent about it, number one, and number two for you to opt-in to it.”

Privacy concerns were raised following the announcement of Google’s acquisition of Nest. Although Fadell’s co-founder Matt Rogers had stated on the company blog that “our privacy policy clearly limits the use of customer information to providing and improving Nest’s products and services”, it wasn’t quite the definitive statement of ‘no sharing’ that some would have hoped for.

As The Washington Post’s Brian Fung explained: “The concern [over privacy] is more than simply academic. By monitoring customers’ thermostat use, Google would be able to determine when a user is at home and when they’re out. It would know the limits of your comfort zone, and perhaps even combine it with information gathered from your cell phone to make even deeper determinations.”

  • For more on Google, Nest, the internet of things and behavioural data, click here.