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Google Nest Secret Microphone Scandal Explained – Blog

They even say the walls have ears. They also say that the privacy case is close.

Unfortunately, a recent scandal about Google's security system, Nest Secure and the secret microphone, shows both sentences correctly.

What about Nest secret microphone?

As you probably know, Nest Secure is a smart home system designed by Nest Labs, a smart home computer manufacturer purchased by Google in 2014.

The Nest Protect hub was released in 2017 and should protect our homes through Nest Guard alarm, keyboard and motion sensor), Nest Detect (a sensor designed to keep an eye on windows and doors), and Nest Tag (a security tool / keychain fob).

At least that's what the users have been told.

As it turns out, the only tool Nest Secure has ever had ̵

1; was a hidden microphone that both Google and Nest Labs forgot to inform the world about.

How did this inconvenient truth come out?

Well, in an act like woul d be funny if it wasn't so frustratingly unprofessional, Nest Labs discovered himself the hidden microphone without realizing that they did.

In early February, Nest announced that their new system update will allow Nest Secure to act as a Google assistant, too. (Hint: working as a virtual assistant, gadget needs a microphone).

It didn't take long before privacy-conscious geeks made the logical conclusion – if Nest Secure supports Google Assistant without any hardware updates, this means that a built-in microphone has always been part of the system.

The tech giant failed to inform users of a microphone built into his Nest home.

But wait – they failed to reveal the microphone twice. First, they did not mention the microphone as part of the Nest Secure tech specification. Second, they announced the firing of Nest's virtual assistant technology without saying a word about how in the world the virtual assistant should work, that is, via an already existing microphone.

Cue the angry, betrayed customers.

How did Google and Nest respond to the secret microphone feature?

To Google's credit, they acknowledged that it was their fault explained that the secret microphone was never meant to be a secret, and agreed that they should have listed the microphone in the original description.

] Furthermore, they emphasized that the microphone is disabled by default and it remains switched off until the owner manages it specifically.

However, Google tried mildly to justify the behavior claiming that most home security systems have built-in microphones because this is what all sound-sensitive security features rely on. Although this may be true, it feels like the blemish victim – the blame "All security systems have microphones, so users should have expected this."

No, still not cool. Google should certainly have listed the microphone in the product specification precisely because most other security systems reveal the microphone for the benefit of the customers.

Why does the story tell?

If there is a secret microphone found in a device, chances are high. There are several microphones hidden in other devices, even in those we do not consider to be a threat to our privacy. Nevertheless.

We asked Vadym Lysenko – head of MacKeeper Anti-Malware Lab – to comment on the incident and his response was surprisingly positive:

"Those who predict privacy are dead are wrong. Privacy is already dead "It died five times already [laughing]. What is happening now is that every privacy scandal increases awareness of how much these tech giants know about us and what tools they use to access our personal data, more privacy conscious, I hope We will regain some of our privacy. "

Essentially, the reality of this situation highlights that at present, privacy is a new type of luxury. In addition, we rely on the response of the major players in the technology field, it is not likely that this reality will change at any time.

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