Product longevity and data privacy have been called into question…
An article review.
When Google announced it was absorbing smart thermostat maker Nest in 2018, many customers were concerned about the future of their internet-connected devices and the privacy of their data. Those fears were realized during Google’s I/O 2019 event, where several changes to the Nest platform were announced. Among the changes were several things that have already become too familiar in the world of Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, including the loss of functionality and changes to data privacy.
When Google first partnered with Nest in 2014 part of the agreement involved a firewall between Google and data collected by Nest devices, disallowing use of personal data by the tech giant. This data, including feeds from motion detectors, cameras and microphones, will now be accessible to Google, as Nest users are being migrated to Google accounts…and a new privacy agreement. The “Works with Nest” program is also being discontinued, meaning many third party home automation devices designed to work with Nest products will cease to function.
While the news surrounding Google and Nest is not unusual in the world of IoT devices, it highlights the issues with data security and long-term support that many users don’t consider until long after the purchase has been made. Is the device ecosystem you are buying into likely to be supported in a few years? What about all the data those devices have sent back to the manufacturer? That data could be handled the way you wish right now, but who will own that company’s assets (including your data) in five years?
If past technologies are any indication, eventually the IoT market will mature and there will be fewer unwelcome surprises when it comes to product support. Until that happens though, consumers will continue to face uncertainty when it comes to long-term support and data security.
Original article by Ron Amadeo writing for Ars Technica.