Nest makes new privacy promises after Google acquisition

Nest chief Tony Fadell said the Google-acquired company will present privacy-related changes to its terms and conditions to its users on an opt-in basis. The manufacturer of the ‘smart’ thermostat and smoke detector also promises transparency in this area.

Fadell made these commitments Monday at the DLD Conference in Munich after it was announced last week that Google had acquired Nest for an amount of 2.3 billion euros. Shortly after the takeover was announced, concerns arose among Nest hardware owners as well as among journalists and privacy advocates. For example, there is the fear that Google will now gain access to data from Nest users and thus gain even more insight into people’s behavior.

According to Fadell, it will not go that fast. Nest would currently only collect user data to further improve its products, currently a smoke detector and a thermostat. If the underlying terms and conditions were to change, Nest would propose this to its users on an opt-in basis. Fadell also promises to be transparent in such cases.

Despite the soothing words of the Nest director, who remains in the saddle despite the takeover, it is not inconceivable that Nest will offer future users different conditions. The company can also anonymize collected data and sell it on to other parties. Google has indicated that Nest will continue to operate under its own flag for the time being.