Did Google Buy Nest to Spy on You?

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Lots to talk about on CES and the Downtown Las Vegas startup project that Tony Hsieh is working on. I will be going back to Vegas for Tech Cocktail next month, which already have plans to really rock it out.

CES was another success as we pulled out about 250 videos. Now I have to get to processing those, but my main PC died. Looking for people who will help in getting a new machine for video editing and I have some great sponsor opportunities because of it.

TWIGG will start back up next week, as will iPad365.

 

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Geek Smack! episode 287 Tech News:

Net Neutrality Dead?
– US Appeals court kills the 2010 order
Target Not Only Target
– Neiman Marcus and other stores were targeted with Credit Card theft
Fitbit Skin Problems
-Some Fitbit Force owners complain and show off severe skin irritation
Charter Bids Time Warner
– Charter Communications offers $62.35 billion for Time Warner. Will they take it?
YouTube Comments
– After a month of complaining, YouTube has streamlined the comment system
Blu-Ray 4K
– Blu-Ray is going to make a UHD version of discs for 4K televisions
Amazon Won
– Amazon was awarded Best Perceived Brand of 2013
Apple Loses
– Michael Bromwich is not ousted as ebook price fixing still is getting monitored
How the NSA Almost Killed the Internet
– Awesome read about the negative impact the NSA has

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iPhone 4 Return
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Uber Attack
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Yahoo! Malware
– A malware attack on Yahoo! is revealed to be worse than originally reported
CNN Combines
– CNN and CNNmoney will combine the tech shows to one entity
Paypal Seemless
– Seemless checkouts is what Paypal is working on
Twitter Update
– Now you can add accent color to your settings
Your Phone is not that Important
– Man dies after jumping into icy river to retrieve his phone

Geek Smack: Is Google Buying Nest for the Product or the Spying?

Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion dollars. Founded by Tony Fadell, the man who helped build the iPod, Nest is an internet controlled thermostat that debuted in 2012. Last year Nest added a smoke detector with carbon monoxide monitoring also via smartphone.

Now, Google has these devices in their stable. But did they really buy it to pull data and spy on you? Rumors are popping up that Google might not only do that, but also possibly send information to the NSA.

This is part of a larger problem with what we call Home Embedded technology. Basically, a smart TV, fridge, thermostat or other device can easily send data back to the source for analysis.

A couple months ago, we saw the problem with LG TVs. Even though you checked to not share your viewing habits with LG, a software glitch allowed to ignore the option. LG says they are working on a fix right now.

Having a security backdoor can also cause hacking problems. For instance, a hacker could come in and turn your heat off. Maybe turn it up all the way so your heat bill skyrocket. After all, most people with home routers don’t know how to make them secure enough for hackers not to get in.

The bigger problem is tracking. Google could now know if you are at home or away simply by how you adjust your Nest. Not that they couldn’t track your phone or other internet connected devices already…

The reality was that Google was already working on a thermostat and wanted to side-step all the development by buying a known brand. And although Fadell sold the company, he will continue to work with Nest as it’s CEO.

Should you be concerned about spying? Not really. If data collection happens, it might be only to see how people handle air control or how it alerts you when there is smoke or carbon monoxide.

Reality is, if you have a smartphone of any kind, you are already being tracked in some way. Hopefully Google will use this acquisition for good, not bad.


Geek Smack! is a weekly video show and podcast that comes out every Tuesday evening. Your host: Jeffrey Powers – talks tech news, IT news and geek news for the week. Geek Smack! is ©2014 under a Creative Commons no-deriv license. Captain America and the Avengers! If you would like more information about what is technology, recent news, Geekazine, and Jeffrey Powers, feel free to contact him. Jeffrey Powers does interviews, just ask!

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