Google Nest Cams

Google Nest Cams

Review date: 11/02/2020

Surveillance cameras are everywhere these days. If you want to jump on the bandwagon, Google's indoor and outdoor Nest Cams offers HD video, 24/7 recording, alert you when they detect motion, have multiple microphone for detecting loud noises, and the IQ cams can "tell a person from a thing" and then alert you so can yell at the person, not the thing. Which is either handy when it comes to chasing away the bad guys, or tons of fun when it comes to scaring the pants off that buddy who’s looking after your cat.

What could happen if something goes wrong

Nest is owned by Google, which means they have the full force of Google behind their security features, which is a good thing. It also has the full force of Google behind its privacy features and Google wants to learn as much about you as it can. So while video recordings, Voice recordings, and home environment sensor readings won't be used to target you with ads, transcripts of your voice interactions may. That's why it's always good to take time to lock down your privacy settings. Also, you could catch your neighbor dancing naked on cam in front of their window and then never be able to look at them the same ever again, making those neighborhood BBQs quite awkward. One more thing, Google's own device chief says homeowners should warn guests they near a microphone (or video camera) potentially recording them when they visit your home if you own a device like this. We think that is good advice.

Privacy

Can it snoop on me?

Camera

Device: Yes

App: Yes

Microphone

Device: Yes

App: Yes

Tracks Location

Device: Yes

App: Yes

What is required to sign up?

What data does it collect?

How does it use this data?

While video recordings, voice recordings, and home environment sensor readings won't be used for for ad personalization, transcripts of your voice interactions may be. Non-personally identifiable information may be shared with partners. Google says that your personal data is never sold to third parties.

How can you control your data?

You can review and delete your data in the Nest app or via the Google Privacy Dashboard.

What is the company’s known track record for protecting users’ data?

Needs Improvement

In 2018, personal information was exposed in several incidents, resulting from access by app developers, exposure by mobile apps, or a bug in Google + API. Google has also stored location data without permission.

Can this product be used offline?

No

User friendly privacy information?

Yes

Links to privacy information

Security

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?

Yes

Uses encryption in transit and at rest.

Encryption

Yes

Uses encryption in transit and at rest.

Strong password

Yes

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Google has a Security Rewards program, which means that anyone who finds a security issue and discloses it responsibly may get paid. https://www.google.com/about/appsecurity/programs-home/

Privacy policy

Yes

All things Nest have been moved over to the Google Store. Google has a page detailing their privacy principles for Nest products

Artificial Intelligence

Does the product use AI?

Yes

Does the AI use your personal data to make decisions about you?

Yes

Does the company allow users to see how the AI works?

Yes

Google publishes academic papers about it's AI research (https://ai.google/) and makes several tools available via open source.

Company contact info

Updates

Student finds privacy flaws in connected security and doorbell cameras
Florida Institute of Technology
Ring, Nest, SimpliSafe and eight other manufacturers of internet-connected doorbell and security cameras have been alerted to "systemic design flaws" discovered by Florida Tech computer science student Blake Janes that allows a shared account that appears to have been removed to actually remain in place with continued access to the video feed.

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