Google has acknowledged that one of its home alarm products contained a secret microphone. Product specifications for the Nest Guard, an all-in-one alarm, keypad and motion sensor, available since 2017, had made no mention of the listening
Nest Guard is an all-in-one alarm, keypad, and motion sensor but, despite being announced well over a year ago, the word microphone was only added to the product's specification this month.
But earlier this month, the firm said a software update would make Nest Guard voice-controlled. On Twitter, concerned Nest owners were told the microphone has not been used up to this point.
In response to criticism, Google claimed:
The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs. That was an error on our part. The microphone has never been on and is only activated when users specifically enable the option.
This is the kind of thing that makes me paranoid of smart home devices, commented Nick Heer , who writes the Pixel Envy blog.
If I owned one of these things and found out that the world's biggest advertising company hid a microphone in my home for a year, I'd be livid.
The Gambling Commission (UKGC) has released a new set of rules, ensuring that operators implement a new wave of identity checks to make gambling safer and fairer.
Following an open consultation, and to further guard against the risk of children gambling, new rules mean operators must verify customer identity and age before they can either deposit funds into an account or gamble with the licensee, with
either their own money or a free bet or bonus.
Furthermore, the UKGC has clamped down on free-to-play games, stressing that customer must now be age verified to access such versions gambling games on licensees' websites, emphasising that there is no legitimate reason why they should be
available to children.
Changes are also designed to aid with the detection of criminal activity, whilst operators are reminded that they cannot demand that ID be submitted as a condition of cashing out, if they could have asked for that information earlier.
Finally, an increase in identifying self-excluded players was stressed, because effective verification by operators will mean that a customer will not be verified, and therefore unable to gamble, until they provide correct details. These details
will then be checked against both the operator's own self-exclusion database and the verified data held by Gamstop.
Set to come into force on Tuesday 7 May, further new rules come as a result of a number of complaints to contact centre staff, regarding licensees not allowing a customer to withdraw funds until they submit certain forms of ID.
The new rules require remote licensees to:
Verify, as a minimum, the name, address and date of birth of a customer before allowing them to gamble
Ask for any additional verification information promptly
Inform customers, before they can deposit funds, of the types of identity documents or other information that might be required, the circumstances in which the information might be required, and how it should be supplied to the licensee
Take reasonable steps to ensure that information on their customers' identities remains accurate.