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SURVEILLANCE


Shoshana Zuboff in her book “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” has carefully selected the Nest Thermostat as a prime example of a digital surveillance device. Advertised as a low key, friendly product which will help to sensitively control the heating of the home. It collects data about it’s users  to ‘learn the behaviours of the home’s inhabitants’.


Each thermostat comes with a ‘Privacy Policy’ ‘Terms of Service Agreement’ and an ‘End User Licensing Agreement’ which allow “household and personal information “to be shared with other smart devices, unnamed personnel and third parties for the purposes of predictive analysis” but it also permits  “sales to other unspecified parties.” University of London researchers studied the Nest agreements system and concluded that because Nest links with other devices and apps “The purchase of a single home thermostat  would entail the need to review a thousand contracts”


Nest was merged into the Google empire in 2018 so now this data is uploaded to their servers. So, although a smart thermostat may be an interesting product, is it attractive enough to warrant giving the details of your everyday movements to Google to do with as they will ?