Nest Promises That Any Privacy Change Will Be Opt-In and Transparent

Last week it was reported that Nest customers are worried that the Google purchase could signal the end of their privacy. Nest’s CEO Tony Fadell quickly said that as far as he is concerned there would be no changes in the terms and conditions of Nest. Customers’ fear was allayed that nothing will change in the privacy policy of pre-Google Nest. However, now Fadell is singing a new tune but candy-coats the situation for the customers.

What’s the latest?

The latest buzz on the Nest saga is that all changes on the privacy policy would be opt-in. It means that people will only be subjected to the new terms and conditions if they would agree to it. Some users will be excluded by the reach of the new privacy policies, whatever they may be, if they would not agree to it. And that is a problem. We all know that people don’t really read the privacy policy gobbledygook. No normal user that has little or no knowledge about legal parlance would dare to read the fine print. Try signing up for a new email service and see if you have the time to read all those terms and conditions.

What’s with the change?

In fairness to Nest Labs, up to the point of his pronouncements, Fadell said that all data collected are anonymous and does not point out the habits and preferences of a specific user. All data collected is used to make the whole Nest experience better for the customer and even give business and technical intelligence to Nest for enhancing the services and coming up with better products for the future.

What are they trying to say?

Basically, what Fadell is telling the world is that there would be no changes in the privacy policy for now. But there would be changes in some point in time in the future. We just don’t know when. If the changes would be enforced, people will be asked to agree or not. The question is what will happen to people that would not agree the new privacy terms?

Why do we really care about Google taking over smart thermostats and CO detectors? The foray of Google into smart home devices means that it wants more data. Data that Google can use to fuel its searches and data it can sell to third-party for a tidy sum. Advertising and search are Google main bread-and-butter. It has been mining data from our phones and our browsers and now it wants to know things that happen to our lives in between the phone use and Internet surfing too.

Jennifer Birch or simply “Jenni,” is a British writer who’s passionate about PCs and operating systems. She’s also covering innovative news on the mobile industry such as O2’s new 4G LTE network and Nokia’s flagship 1020 Windows Phone. Connect with her through Twitter at @WrittenByJenni
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