Google put a microphone in its Nest Secure hub—the control pad for its home security system—but didn’t tell consumers about it.
The public is already concerned about big tech companies listening in on private conversations and using microphones to capture user data. Facebook’s ad-targeting software regularly makes people believe they are being overheard by their smartphones. Others worry that smart speakers, such as Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa, could spy on consumers in their homes.
Now Google has to explain why it didn’t tell consumers about a microphone in one of its smart home products.
In early February, Google announced that its home security and alarm system Nest Secure would be getting an update. Users, the company said, could now enable its virtual-assistant technology, Google Assistant.
The problem: Nest users didn’t know a microphone existed on their security device to begin with.