Nest Max this product meets our minimum security standards
Google $229

Nest Max

Review Date 10/23/19

Meet Google's new high-end home hub complete with microphone, Nest Cam camera, and touchscreen display. Use it for video calls, monitoring your video doorbell, watching YouTube, sharing photos, controlling your connected thermostat, listening to music, or getting alerts whenever the camera's motion sensor picks up something moving in your home. It's a good thing Google built a physical way to turn off the camera and microphone on this gadget because could be a better spy in your home than James Bond.

Minimum Security Standards

Five basic steps every company should take to protect consumer privacy. Learn more.

Overall Security Rating
5/5 star
Encryption
Yes
Uses encryption in transit and at rest.
Security updates
Yes
Does it get regular software/firmware updates?
Strong password
Yes
Do you have to create a strong password?
Manages vulnerabilities
Yes
Is there a system in place for managing security vulnerabilities?
Privacy policy
Yes
Does it have a privacy policy?

Can it snoop on me?

Camera
Device: Yes | App: Yes
Microphone
Device: Yes | App: Yes
Tracks Location
Device: Yes | App: Yes

How does it handle privacy?

How does it share data?
Nest users are now required to migrate over to a Google Account. Google (and partner websites and apps) may target you with ads based on your searches, location, websites and apps you’ve used, videos and ads you’ve seen, age range, gender, etc. Google says that your personal data is never sold to third parties.
Can you delete your data?
Yes
Collects biometrics data?
Yes
Google collects and may review voice data from interactions with the Google Home. The Google Nest Max also has a feature called Face Match that uses facial recognition to show users personalized info from their Google accounts. Google says the Face Match data is processed locally on each device, not on Google's servers – but it turns out that face data may sometimes get sent to Google's servers for product improvement and testing.
User friendly privacy info?
Yes
Google has several privacy pages explaining its approach to privacy in simple language. It has Nest-specific privacy information in one central location.
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What could happen if something went wrong

Google generally does a good job securing their devices. And we're glad to see they've promised this: "Any new features that use the camera or microphones and send audio or video to Google will be off until you choose to turn them on." All that being said, this is a listening, seeing, motion and sound sensing device you'll likely put in the middle of your home. It might be unlikely, but if anything happens to go wrong, you've potentially opened up your entire world to a huge invasion of privacy.

How to contact the company

Updates

With a Laser, Researchers Say They Can Hack Alexa, Google Home or Siri
NY Times
Since voice-controlled digital assistants were introduced a few years ago, security experts have fretted that systems like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa were a privacy threat and could be easily hacked. But the risk presented by a cleverly pointed light was probably not on anyone’s radar.
Google collects face data now. Here's what it means and how to opt out
CNET
Google's latest smart display brings with it a controversial new feature that's always watching. Face Match, introduced on the Google Nest Hub Max, uses the smart display's front-facing camera as a security feature and a way to participate in video calls. It also shows you your photos, texts, calendar details and so on when it recognizes your face. This mode of facial recognition sounds simple enough at first. But the way companies like Google collect, store and process face data has become a top concern for privacy-minded consumers.
Google exec says Nest owners should probably warn their guests that their conversations are being recorded
Business Insider
Google devices chief Rick Osterloh said he believes anyone "in proximity" of a microphone-fitted smart device like Google Nest or Amazon Echo should be informed the devices are in use.
How to opt out of human review of your voice assistant recordings
Mozilla
If you have a voice assistant in your home or on your phone, have you ever been concerned that someone from the company could listen to your voice recordings? Mozilla has put together a guide for you to change your privacy settings on voice assistants.

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