News & Opinion | June 21, 2019 12:33 pm

A Glitch in Used Nest Cameras Allowed Previous Users to Spy on New Owners

Google said all accidental spying should be over

Nest Surveillance Camera
The Google Nest was accidentally allowing some third-party spying. (Smith Collection/ Gado/ Getty)
Getty Images

This is what we get for buying used.

Previously owned Nest security cameras apparently carried a glitch that allowed the first owner to essentially spy on the new owner; and the issue was unaffected even after the initial user deregistered their accounts from the Google-made cameras, The Verge reported. The second owner had no idea that people were able to see inside their homes.

Google said that it has since fixed the bug that allowed this creepy vantage and that all accidental spying should be over.

“We were recently made aware of an issue affecting some Nest cameras connected to third-party partner services via Works with Nest,” a Google spokesperson told The Verge. “We’ve since rolled out a fix for this issue that will update automatically, so if you own a Nest camera, there’s no need to take any action.”

The bug was detected by a person on the Wink Facebook group, according to The Verge. As Google touched on, the issue seemed to be coming from Nest’s integration with Wink, a third-party smart home service that connected the cameras to the Works with Nest program. Even after an account was stripped from the device, the first user could still stream the Nest’s feed via the Wink third-party app.

In a textbook example of perfect timing, The Verge pointed out, Google announced just last month that it will soon be discontinuing the Works with Nest program to protect user privacy and prevent third-party devices from accessing the data stored on the cameras.

Although the glitch is allegedly fixed, if you’re in the market for a home security camera and are still feeling iffy about the Nest, there are other, more Jeff Bezos-backed devices out there.

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