Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Amazon’s Acquisition of Eero Feels Like Borg Assimilation

Dieter Bohn, the Verge:

You can’t turn on a screen anymore without wondering who is profiting from what your eyeballs are seeing. Eero didn’t really participate in that and Amazon does. So it’s assumed that nothing good can come of Amazon getting yet another potential treasure trove of personal data.

And it could absolutely be a treasure trove. Short of handing over the PIN for your phone or the password to your Snapchat account, there’s not a much more intimate set of information about you than what your Wi-Fi router knows. It knows when you’re home and when you’re away. It can suss out what websites you visit (before the SSL kicks in, anyway) and how many movies you’re streaming.

A few years ago, this would feel like a completely irrational concern. But we’re now living in an age where Facebook acquired a VPN to spy on its users’ activities; then, after Apple kicked it out of the App Store for violating its rules on allowable levels of creepiness, Facebook decided to work around Apple’s rules and pay users — including teenagers — to use it. Amazon traffics in similar practices of mass data collection, so it is truly a legitimate worry that they may — though not “at this time” — explore ways to coax users into giving up their household’s web traffic.