shame about eero

General discussions and other topics.
4 posts Page 1 of 1
by troybob » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:40 am
Looks like Jasper has given his endorsement to the Amazon/eero deal, a move that undermines everything both Sonic and eero have assured us about security. I guess those Amazon gajillions are too hard to resist, but giving them a back door into our homes is a sleazy move.

Hopefully this doesn't predict that Sonic is on the verge of selling out as well.

[Insert boilerplate sonic/eero response that Amazon respects our privacy, though Amazon's only assurance is that they don't plan to use our private data. The big data companies have already shown us that plans change and that new policies are retroactive to old data.]
by WaitingForFiber » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:15 pm
by dane » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:55 pm
troybob wrote:
Looks like Jasper has given his endorsement to the Amazon/eero deal, a move that undermines everything both Sonic and eero have assured us about security. I guess those Amazon gajillions are too hard to resist, but giving them a back door into our homes is a sleazy move.

Hopefully this doesn't predict that Sonic is on the verge of selling out as well.

[Insert boilerplate sonic/eero response that Amazon respects our privacy, though Amazon's only assurance is that they don't plan to use our private data. The big data companies have already shown us that plans change and that new policies are retroactive to old data.]


I'll respond on all the points here, but the first two stand out.

First, I haven't given my endorsement to anything. This was as much of a surprise to me as it was to everyone else. But after giving their transaction some thought, I'll respond below with a bit of the "boilerplate" as you suggest, but I hope you'll read it with an open mind, because there is a key point in conclusion there.

Second, what any equipment supplier does by no means predicts anything that we might do. Sonic has been independent for nearly 25 years, we are not a VC-backed startup headed for a quick exit. (In fact, are you aware of any telecom, cable, or internet company with our consistent longevity?) It makes no sense to draw any conclusion or make any accusations about Sonic's "selling out" based upon the behavior of our equipment suppliers. Before Eero selling to Amazon, it was Pace selling to Arris and then SmartRG selling to Adtran. While each transaction has brought change that Sonic has had to adapt to, we do adapt.

Finally, the boilerplate - with a really key point for our members:

Today, Eero has privacy policies and practices that echo those of Sonic, with good consumer protections and limitations or their use of customer proprietary information. Of course, the team at Eero tells us they've got no plans to weaken those policies, but clearly they're not fully in control - and if/when changes to their policies or practices occur, we'll certainly reassess. We'll also assess critically any future equipment or capabilities that they offer, for example if they were to integrate Alexa, far-field microphones, etc. Some members might want that, while others may not - and we need to accommodate that either way.

But good news for those who prefer not to use Eero: the equipment rental program has full flexibility for Sonic members. So, unlike folks who purchased Eero gear and simply own it now and are somewhat stuck with it, our members can at any time opt out, get a return label from us and ship back the equipment.

As a result, I think our members are in a much better position than they'd otherwise be in, both today and into the future if/when Eero policies change. Right now, for those who would prefer a non-Eero router and WiFi solution, we provide either a Pace/Arris product, or one from SmartRG/Adtran.

I remain hopeful that Eero will be a good actor and will not allow Amazon to corrupt their policies and practices, but clearly we must keep a close eye on Amazon's behavior. I think everyone will be watching them equally well, as they've certainly received a lot of scrutiny on this topic.
Dane Jasper
CEO
Sonic
by troybob » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:02 am
I appreciate the response to what was a ranty comment. In our household (as in many places now), we’re debating privacy-versus-convenience and how much we might be participating in an unethical system. Facebook has been showing us how concerned we need to be about data—not just for the sake of privacy (we’re pretty boring and have little to hide anyway), but for its use to predict and influence behavior on a dangerous scale (and Shoshana Zuboff’s recent book gives more depressing context).

Maybe it’s overly paranoid (and it’s getting harder to find the energy to fight it), but my reaction to this news was the same impulse that led me to embrace and trust sonic over other ISPs (and that has had me encouraging friends to make the switch) and that led me to get rid of an expensive google wifi mesh just in time for eero to be offered by sonic; for both sonic and eero, getting from under the thumb of larger companies with questionable ethics was a big selling point, so the general reaction to this should not have been surprising.

To be fair, your tweet in support of the eero/amazon deal seemed enthusiastic enough to be viewed as an endorsement and didn’t include any kind of assurance to customers in terms of data protection, which was certainly a predictable concern. Here, eero seems demoted to ‘equipment provider’, but I haven’t seen sonic+pace promos that celebrate that relationship in the same way.

Sonic is probably the most reliable company we’ve dealt with, and I’ve tried to be sympathetic to the reality that, despite trying to put the best face on the situation, your company probably wasn’t too thrilled about this news. To view it another way: if Amazon had come directly to Sonic with a great new mesh system to put into your customers’ homes, would we be seeing Sonic+Amazon?

We’re now leaning toward holding onto our eero system, using a VPN to essentially hide from our router. The original aim was to get eero plus, but we’re waiting to see how all this plays out (e.g., will its ad-blocking feature not apply to amazon’s ads). (Also, for some reason nobody seems to be able to explain, the ability to upgrade to eero plus doesn’t show up as an option on any screen or menu in the iOS app anyway). It looks like openDNS could duplicate some of that functionality, at least.

Thanks for hearing these concerns and for promising vigilance on this issue.
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