Who Owns the Thermostat’s Data?

Have you ever read the terms of use that come with a Nest or an EcoBee thermostat? I hadn’t. (I don’t have one)

Who owns that data? How is that data transferred/deleted? How might it affect the current homeowner?

As Realtors, might we soon add data transference to residential real estate contracts? Also, is this house updated with the latest security patches?

I don’t have the answer, but it’s something about which we should be aware.


Under Nest’s (not Nest Realty) Privacy policy (bolding below is mine)


In what circumstances does Nest share my information?

Under no circumstance do we share personal information for any commercial or marketing purpose unrelated to the activation and delivery of Nest Products and services without asking you first. Period. We do not rent or sell our customer lists. The following are the limited situations where we may share personal information:

For external processing: We have vendors, service providers, and technicians who help with some of our processing and storage,including helping to answer your questions. They may also assist with monitoring our servers for technical problems.? These technicians (as well as Nest employees) can access certain information about you or your account in line with this work but these technicians are not allowed to use this data for non-Nest purposes. We also have strict policies and technical barriers in place to prevent unauthorized employee access to video data.

For legal reasons: We will share personal information with third parties if we have a good faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of the information is reasonably necessary to (i) meet any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable government request; (ii) enforce Nest policies or contracts, including investigation of potential violations; (iii) detect, prevent or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues; (iv) protect against harm to the rights, property or safety of Nest, our users or the public as required or permitted by law.


But at least they disclose that they share information with the government

Yet, Nest — a division of Google — is the only major smart home device maker that has published how many data demands it receives.


It looks like Arlo presumes ownership when you register an account (I’d wager that these types of products would likely fall under personal property)

We refer to any information described above as “Account Information” for the purposes of this Policy. By voluntarily providing us with Account Information, you represent that you are the owner of such personal data or otherwise have the requisite consent to provide it to us.


What about the Roombas or Eufy vacuums that are mapping our houses? Or energy usage kept by the power company? Lots of evolving and unanswered questions as technology changes and shifts.

Related reading







As an aside, I find it interesting that kids under 13 cannot be authorized users of Nest accounts (not that I’d give my kid that access anyway, but if I wanted to, I would)

Only individuals aged 18 and older are permitted to act as Owners of Nest Accounts. Authorised Users must be over the age of 13 (or equivalent minimum age in the jurisdiction where they reside) and may use the Products and Services under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian and only if they agree to be bound by these Terms on your behalf. Nest Products and Services do not knowingly collect or store any personal information from anyone under the age of 13.

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