Tips for respecting the privacy of others when using Nest products

Nest products can help you do lots of things, in part because they collect and send information to the cloud for processing. We’ve crafted tips for using connected products, like Nest’s, thoughtfully and respecting the privacy of those around you.

Nest products can help you do lots of things, like save energy, secure your home, and know what’s happening there.

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 for processing (see our Terms of Service and Privacy Statement for 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:

  1. When it comes to privacy, remember the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would want to be treated.
  2. When it comes to cameras:

    • Remember, you control where you place your cameras and you are responsible for making sure you are using them appropriately.
    • Some places have specific laws that limit where it is permitted to place a camera, whether you can record video or audio, or whether you are required to get specific consent to film others with biometric features enabled, such as Nest’s familiar face alerts. We recommend you avoid filming public pathways or your neighbor’s private property and that you get the consent of people visiting your home when using familiar face alerts. Be sure you know and follow local requirements.
    • Don’t film 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.
  3. Remember, it’s not just cameras that collect information. For example, a smart thermostat can tell if anyone’s home to ensure that it’s keeping the house comfortable when you’re there and saving energy when you’re not. A smart smoke detector can tell if you pass underneath it so it can light your way. If you’re not sure whether your roommate, guest, or tenant would care about these features, just ask.
  4. 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 cameras filming, you may want to let guests know. Again, local laws may apply here so you may need to display a notice that alerts guests that you are using a camera, or declare and obtain permission from your local authorities.
  5. The same goes for tenants. Consider making your tenants, rather than you, 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.
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