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Google's Nest Buys Home Monitoring Camera Company Dropcam 82

rtoz writes: The popular home monitoring camera startup "Dropcam" will be acquired by Nest Labs, the maker of smart thermostats and smoke detectors. The deal is worth $555 million in cash. Nest itself was purchased by Google just four months ago for $3.2 billion. Dropcam is a cloud-based, Wi-Fi video monitoring service, founded in 2009. It lets users place cameras throughout a home for live-viewing and recording. The cameras also include options for night vision and two-way talking with built-in microphones. Dropcam has never disclosed sales, but it is routinely the top-selling security camera on Amazon, and it recently branched into selling in retail stores like Apple and Best Buy. People concerned about the privacy implications of Google's acquisition of Nest may be further unsettled by Nest's purchase of a home surveillance company. Nest's founder Matt Rogers anticipated this issue, and insisted that there's no reason to worry. In his blog post, he says that data won't be shared with anyone, including Google, without a customer's permission. Nest has run into product challenges recently.
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Google's Nest Buys Home Monitoring Camera Company Dropcam

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  • by Wonko the Sane ( 25252 ) * on Saturday June 21, 2014 @03:09PM (#47289497) Journal

    Could Google be any more transparent as a willing and eager participant of the surveillance state?

    It'd be nice if they'd at least pretend to hide what they are doing, so as to not so blatently insult our intelligence.

  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Saturday June 21, 2014 @03:24PM (#47289559)

    In his blog post, he says that data won't be shared with anyone, including Google, without a customer's permission.

    You can, at least at times, trust people, especially ones you know well. A person's word may mean something.

    You can, however, never trust companies unless you have a contractual relation with them (and, at times, not even then). A company's word is meaningless. Times change, people change, and what was impossible can become all too easy. The day will come, for example, when Mr Rogers is no longer at Dropcam / Nest / Google, and his successor may feel differently (or may be ordered to feel differently) about this.

    This is without mentioning the elastic definitions of "permission" used at times on the Internet.

  • Re:NSAdrop (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Saturday June 21, 2014 @03:29PM (#47289571) Homepage

    so typical in totalitarian regimes.

    Google isn't the totalitarian regime.

    It's one of the big players in the oligarchy which is taking over control of everything, but which is cozy with the nascent totalitarian regime which is forming all around us.

    Once governments have access to ubiquitous information about everybody through government peering to bypass laws, and appropriation from corporations under secret order, and trade agreements which allow corporations to sue governments for lost revenue ... well, if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, right?

    Then you have totalitarian governments beholden to an oligarchy.

    Sounds like some wacky fiction, don't it?

  • by StripedCow ( 776465 ) on Saturday June 21, 2014 @03:42PM (#47289603)

    Here's a message to Google employees:
    Find yourself a more meaningful job. Something in medicine, or in particle physics.
    Or, just about anything outside of that shady advertisement business.

  • Re:Privacy policy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 21, 2014 @04:48PM (#47289815)

    "We may share your aggregated and anonymous information in a variety of ways, including to publish trends about energy use and conservation" ...

    First they said "aggregated and anonymous information" not "aggregated, anonymous information" so they are talking about two separate things: aggregated information is one, and anonymous information is another. Anonymous information doesn't include your name, but your name can be correlated with it by knowing any unique part of it. This subtle difference in English usage is designed to be misunderstood by people reading the policy.

    Second they say "including to" instead of "only for the purpose of". Giving a list of approved uses doesn't prevent them from using your data in any other way. This again is designed to trick people into feeling their data will only be used for those purposes. The only purpose of listing out a few approved uses is to put your mind at ease without promising anything at all.

    Third they say "we’ve taken steps to ensure that the information cannot be linked back to you" not "we ensure that the information cannot be linked back to you". This again is not a promise that your information is anonymous, only that they took "steps". Their steps could be to spell your name in pig-latin or any other less-than-effective measure.

    If they want to be trusted by anybody other than fools they must spell out all ways your data will be used and what steps they take to make it anonymous and make themselves liable for violations. Their policy is just a whitewash.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Saturday June 21, 2014 @05:37PM (#47289959)

    Google have had their success with search and Android. But their failures have been far more numerous. Google+, GoogleWave, Google Reader, Google Talk, Google Health, Google Answers etc. And Google Glass seems to be on the continuous beta path to being abandoned too.

Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.