Nest products can help you do lots of things, like save energy and secure your home, in part because they collect and send information to the cloud. Here are tips for using connected products, like Nest’s, thoughtfully and with respect for the privacy of those around you.
These benefits are possible because as “smart” devices, Nest products have sensors that collect information from their immediate environment (like video, motion, and temperature), and connect to the internet for advanced features like mobile notifications.
The same capabilities mean that smart devices collect and send information to the cloud (check below for more details). This information may be about you, but also about other people in the immediate environment of a smart device: for example, anyone in a camera’s field of vision will be captured on video if the camera is on.
Here are a few tips for respecting the privacy of others when using smart devices like Nest products:
- When it comes to privacy, remember the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would want to be treated.
- When it comes to cameras or video doorbells:
- You control where you place your cameras or video doorbell, and you’re responsible for making sure that you’re using them appropriately.
- Some places have specific laws that limit where it is permitted to place a camera or video doorbell, whether you can record video or audio, or whether you are required to get specific consent to record others with biometric features enabled (such as Nest’s familiar face alerts). We recommend you avoid recording public pathways or your neighbor’s private property, and that you get the consent of people visiting your home when using familiar face alerts. Use the camera’s hinge or the video doorbell’s wedge to adjust the camera’s field of vision appropriately. Be sure you know and follow local requirements.
- Don’t record areas where people might have a heightened expectation of privacy, such as bathrooms, bedrooms, etc., unless they’ve given you specific permission.
- Ask permission before sharing video or audio that features anyone other than yourself.
- It’s not just cameras that collect information. For example, a smart thermostat can tell if anyone’s home so that it can save energy. A smart smoke detector can tell if you pass underneath it so that it can light your way. If you’re not sure whether your roommate, guest, or tenant would care about these features, just ask.
- Pay special attention to the rights of guests. However excited they are to visit you, they might not want to be filmed or recorded while they’re in your home. If you have a camera or a video doorbell recording, you may want to let guests know. Again, local laws may apply, so you may need to display a notice that alerts guests that you are using a camera or a video doorbell, or declare and obtain permission from your local authorities.
- Respect the rights of your tenants. Consider making your tenants the account holder on any smart devices in your rented space, especially if they are long-term tenants. Smart devices are generally intended to be used by the people who live with them.