It is an unfortunate “mistake” that Google failed to notify customers that Nest products include a hidden microphone in the doorbell system, which has bigger ramifications that one might initially think. Knowing how Google microphones work in smart phones and other systems, there is a potential for Google to access your home security system remotely, open and close doors, monitor activity, and create a history of activity that can later be used for analytics. The recent Washington Post article regarding the Google oversight discusses how Nest owners were not provided full disclosure on the packaging or tech specs for the product, which is not only a breach of trust but also a sign of potential “big brother” intentions. Consumers cannot help but wonder how this could be part of a future, bigger plan.
Luckily, the microphone is not “activated” unless the homeowner specifically enables it, potentially to work with Google Assistant or to monitor other types of potential threats, such as breaking glass. Once activated and linked to the assistant feature, the user has the knowledge that Google is monitoring the system, but for those who did not intend to link to other functions, the potential for hacking is still looming. Some business insiders are joking about Google Nest’s “front” as a security system, suggesting that it’s true intent all along was to be an additional way to record everything homeowners do.
Our team of Atlanta attorneys at Pratt Clay LLC are keeping a close eye on the developments of this situation, as we know that there will be backlash for neglecting to disclose this hidden piece of equipment. Check back with our team for further developments with the Nest microphone mishap and potential lawsuits due to their neglect of disclosure.