Google says it has fixed an issue that would allow old owners of Nest Security Camera & # 39; s to continue viewing a feed from the device even after they were removed from their account. The problem might have allowed an old owner of one of the cameras to look through, even after he sold it to someone else. The new owner would have had no indication that a stranger would be able to look inside.
"We recently reported a problem with some Nest cameras & # 39; s connected to external partner services through Works with Nest," a Google spokesperson told The edge, "We have since implemented a solution to this problem that is automatically updated, so if you have a Nest camera, you don't have to do anything."
The problem was related to the integration of Nest with Wink, a third-party home hub that allows the cameras to connect to the Works with Nest program. Although logging out of a Nest Cam from your account prevents you from viewing it with Nest's own app, a user can Wink Facebook group discovered that they could still view a feed via the Wink external app.
Wirecutter was able later to verify the existence of the problem, allowing them to view still images from the camera. Because the camera was removed from its old Nest account, a new owner was able to sign up for a new Nest account without any indication that the device was still somehow associated with the old owner. Wirecutter verified that the issue has affected the Nest Cam Indoor, but it is unclear whether the company's other cameras have been affected.
It is significant that the error appeared through Google's Works with Nest program, which the company announced it stopped last month. At the time, it said it stopped the program under the name privacy, to prevent external devices from having equal access to data captured by Nest products. Now that we have seen the extent of this sharing of data, it is difficult to blame them. Works with Nest originally had to close on August 31, but Google later clarified that customers can continue to use all services and connections until they are replicated in Google & # 39; s new Works with Google Assistant program.
This is the second major privacy scandal that the Nest department of Google has sustained this year. In February, it appeared that the Nest Secure home security system had a microphone on the device that the company could not have revealed when it was originally released.
Although Google claims that the problem is now resolved, buying a second-hand Nest camera can still be complicated. If a previous owner has not removed the camera from his or her account, this is the only advice Google support page must email the previous owner directly to ask them to remove the device. Yet you would at least be aware that there is a problem, in contrast to this more recent overview.