[SMART HOME] A hidden microphone on the Nest Secure security alarm

     The Mountain View firm recently announced the deployment of Google Assistant on its connected security alarms. Like Amazon, Nest Secure has new features: it is possible to ask for the weather, traffic information… But buyers were unaware that the alarm system included a microphone. Marketed in 2017 in the United States, Nest Secure equipped itself with an alarm, a motion detector and sensors to be placed on the doors and windows of a house. According to the Android Authority, it was never mentioned in the data sheet that he had a microphone. Since February 4, a software update is all it takes to integrate Google Assistant functionality into the Nest Secure and users no longer need a compatible smartphone. However, some people on Twitter were outraged by the presence of a microphone considered as a “spy organ”.

Mountain View explained itself by indicating an upgrade of the NestSecure without reducing its security level. Thus, the alarm cannot be deactivated by voice. The company also stated that the presence of the microphone in the alarm was not enabled by default: “You must register to access Google Assistant on Nest Guard, and as soon as this feature is available to our users, they will receive an email with instructions on how to activate the feature and microphone in the Nest application“. Google recalled that all devices equipped with Google Assistant are equipped with a microphone on permanently and that requests are “sent and analyzed on Google’s servers, then stored in the My Activity category of the dedicated application” that the user can view and delete at will. Google has gone back on this controversy without playing the transparency card. Nest users only received an email telling them to change their password and activate double-factor authentication without explaining the reason. Following the panic of some users, Google specified that there were no vulnerabilities.

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