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Dropcam's slow slide into Nest -- and therefore Google -- begins

By Nathaniel Mott , written on March 6, 2015

From The News Desk

Dropcam users are being asked to create Nest accounts -- regardless of whether or not they own a Nest product -- so they can use "new features and improvements" to their cameras.

The Verge reports that the new accounts will be used to support some of the integrations Nest promised when it acquired Dropcam for around $555 million in cash June 2014. It will also ensure that Dropcam customers have agreed to Nest's updated terms of service.

Anyone who wasn't worried before about Google acquiring these companies (it acquired Nest in January 2014; Nest then acquired Dropcam in June) before should be worried now.

I warned last year that Google acquiring Dropcam, either directly or through one of its subsidiaries, would probably mean consumers could "say goodbye to privacy forever":

I shouldn’t have to explain why budding interest in security cameras from a company whose entire business model revolves around the systematic degradation of individual privacy is a bad thing, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. Google’s future depends on new and exciting ways to get advertisements in front of consumers. Serving those advertisements requires the collection of increasing amounts of information, which creates a never-ending cycle of data vacuuming.

It’s bad enough that this company is entrusted with the world’s largest mobile software platform, the premier search engine, and services on which many consumers rely, such as Gmail and Google Maps. Now it’s offering thermostats and might be getting into the home security business — in addition to creating self-driving cars and technologies that consumers will have tattooed on their arms or sitting in their stomachs. 'Panopticon' doesn’t even come close to describing it. Since that post was written, Nest has updated its terms of service to allow it to share "limited" information with Google so its thermostat could be controlled via Google Now, and now all Dropcam customers will be subjected to those very same terms of service.

It might be nearing time to finally say farewell to privacy -- or at least yank the Dropcam off your wall.