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Nest users reject Google purchase

The Nest thermostat users are in an uproar over the Google purchase due to privacy concerns, reports the L.A. Times today.

The reasons for the concern are: Google purchase of Nest Labs Inc. could help Google hoover up a whole lot more of our personal information to slice and dice for advertisers. There has been too much snooping, spying, hacking and lack of privacy in every area from metadata phone collection to credit cards. Now the fear is that Google will dissect users and sell information to advertisers.

Snapchat failed users during the Christmas holiday when a vigilante committee hacked into the site and stole phone number data to make consumers aware of risks to their privacy ala Snowden style.

Nest makes Internet-connected devices for the home such as thermostats and smoke alarms. It has a host of products planned to make your home more consciousness’s by connecting it to the Internet.

Google says it will abide by Nest's privacy policy, which limits how customer information can be used.

And Nest co-founder Matt Rogers said in a blog post on Monday: ‘Our privacy policy clearly limits the use of customer information to providing and improving Nest's products and services. We've always taken privacy seriously, and this will not change.’

Is privacy concern an overreaction on the part of Nest users? Not really, tweeted Ryan Block, vice president of product at AOL: 'With Nest's built-in sensors now Google knows when you're home, what rooms you're in, and when you're out. Just FYI.'

Marc Rotenberg, another frequent critic of Google, said he planned to return his Nest thermostat now that Google is buying the company. ‘Being a genuine geek, that was no simple decision,’ said Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Rotenberg said, ‘Google doesn't respect boundaries.’

Since the Internet of Things is really here it makes personal protection of privacy all the more urgent. After renting for more than a decade, David Chartier, a freelance technology writer from Chicago, bought his first home in October. It was great to make his home ‘smart’, so he purchased a Nest thermostat. It was convenient during the cold wintry frigid days in Chicago to return home to a warm home.

‘The Nest is an incredible product,’ Chartier said. ‘I looked at a lot of other thermostats, and it doesn't seem like there is anything out there like it right now.’ But with Google buying Nest Labs, he has begun to shop again for alternatives.

What really troubles Chartier? Google keeps changing what it can do with his data, he said.

‘It's this kind of perpetual changing of the rules and expectations, an arguable disrespect for the user that's beginning to grind people's gears,’ he said.

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