In case you had not seen it yet, Amazon is buying router Eero. And in case you had not heard it, people are pretty angry.
Overloaded with a swarm of angry tweets and messages on social media, many have taken the time to read tea leaves to try to understand what the purchase means for ordinary, privacy-oriented people like you and me. Not many people had much love for Amazon in terms of privacy. Many people like Eero because it was not attached to one of the big tech giants. Now it is part of Amazon, some expect the worst for their privacy.
Of the many concerns we have seen, the acquisition amounts to a major concern: "Amazon should not have access to all Internet traffic."
Justly! It is bad enough that Amazon wants to place a loudspeaker in every corner of our house. How worried should you be that Amazon turns the switch on Eero and it is no longer the privacy-minded router it once was?
This requires a lesson in privacy problematic behavior and a cautious optimism.
No panic – anyway
Under the many reasons it could (usually) not even if it wanted.
Every time you open an app or load a website, most now load over HTTPS. And most do so because Google has chosen security sites that do not. That is an encrypted connection between your computer and the app or website. Even your router can not see your internet traffic. These are just a few rare cases, such as the creepy & # 39; app & # 39; app from Facebook that forces you to & # 39; root & # 39; give access to the network traffic of your device when companies can sniff about everything you do.
If Eero asks you to install root certificates on your devices, we have a problem.
Fear of the internet itself
The reality is that your internet service provider knows more about your internet activity than your router.
Your internet provider not only processes your internet requests, but also routes and sends them. Even if the traffic is HTTPS-encrypted, your ISP knows largely which domains you visit and when, and sometimes it can figure out why. With that information, your internet service provider can compile a timeline of your online life. That is why HTTPS and the use of privacy-oriented DNS services are so important.
It does not stop there. As soon as your internet traffic passes your router, you are in the big wide world of the world wide web. Your router is the least of your problems: it is a forest of data collection out there.
Props for the enthusiastic gentleman who tweeted that he "trusts Google much more than my privacy" just because: "Amazon wants to use the data to sell me more things than just Google to offer targeted ads." of that: Amazon wants to sell you products from its own store, but in one way or another is that worse than that Google sells its profiles that you think are advertisers trying to sell you things?
Every time you go online, what is your first hit? Google. Every time you open a new browser window, this is Google. Every time you type something in the omnibar at the top of your browser, this is Google. Google knows more about your browsing history than your router, because most people use Google as their one-stop directory for everything they need on the internet. Your ISP may not be able to see beyond the HTTPS domain you are visiting, but Google first keeps track of which search queries you type, which websites you go to and you even follow from site to site with its pervasive ad network.
If you buy at least a birthday present or a sex toy (or both?) From Amazon, that knowledge remains in house.
Knock knock, it's already Amazon
If Amazon wanted to follow you, that would be possible.
Everyone seems to forget Amazon's massive cloud activities. The majority of the internet now runs on Amazon Web Services, the company's dedicated cloud unit that has used the company's full operating result in 2017. It is a dairy cow and an infrastructure giant, and the success of the retail is only a part of the business activities.
Do you think you can escape Amazon? Just look at what happened when Gizmodo & # 39; s Kashmir Hill tried to remove Amazon from her life. She found it & # 39; impossible & # 39 ;. Why? Everything now seems to rely on Amazon – from the back-end of Spotify and Netflix, popular consumer and government websites use it and many other great apps and services rely on Amazon's cloud. Eventually she blocked 23 million IP addresses that were managed by Amazon and they still had trouble …
In a single week, Hill found 95,260 total attempts by its devices to communicate with Amazon, compared with less than half of those for Google with 40,527 requests and a paltry 36 attempts for Apple. Amazon already knows which sites you end up with – because it manages most sites.
So where is that with me?
Your router is a piece of plastic. And so it must stay. We can all agree on that.
It is a natural fear that when & # 39; big technology & # 39; falls in, it will ruin everything. Especially with Amazon. The company's track record in terms of transparency is, to put it mildly, dull and outright at its worst. But just because Amazon comes in does not mean that it will necessarily be a surveillance machine. Even Google's own mesh routing system, Eero & # 39; s direct competitor, promises to "not follow the websites you visit or collect the content of traffic on your network".
Amazon can not change the Eero from one day to the next in a security hub, but that does not mean he will not try it.