Recently, we saw the launch of Google Home Hub that came integrated with Google Nest — a smart home surveillance feature. While the idea of a smart home does sound exciting, you might want to think twice as the data gathered from surveillance can be accessed by government bodies as well.
A recent report by Forbes, reveals that Google-owned Nest Labs has been asked more than 300 times since 2015 to hand over surveillance data to governments and intelligence agencies.
After Google’s acquisition of Nest Labs, transparency reports released by the company shows nearly 60 requests for data were received in the first half of this year itself. In fact, the government has sought data for 525 different Nest account holders since 2015.
The transparency reports issued by Nest isn’t as detailed as Google or other major companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter. There are no specific numbers on data requests except for bar charts in terms of percentage.
It is also clear that Nest gives away information in several cases, but for most the cases, it doesn’t. In the first six months this year, the company handed over data in less than 20% cases.
This number is so far the lowest for the Google subsidiary ever since it started. Back in 2015, the stats went high as 60% for the second half.
Another noteworthy point is that the company hasn’t received a National Security Letter yet. NSLs are generally filed by intelligence agencies whenever they are looking for company data.
Such warrants also come with a gag order to prevent businesses from learning about their very existence. So it means that if Nest ever removes a disclaimer that says it hasn’t received an NSL, it would imply that the company has received one.