Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Samsung TVs May Upload Screenshots for Automatic Content Recognition (samsung.com)
1246 points by aritmo 25 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 688 comments

I'm getting ready to go full Battlestar Galactica in all of my appliances. It's now difficult to find high end washers and ovens without these features.

At least right now we can choose not to connect the devices, but what happens if iot LTE connections get cheap enough that the choice is removed altogether, like with Tesla and other high end modern cars?

I don't think I'm just being a Luddite. This really seems like a bad idea. We need some way to assure security and limit data collection.

>what happens if iot LTE connections get cheap enough that the choice is removed altogether.

Narrowband IoT is the target market for that. T-Mobile has a plan where a certified module costs $5 (There is a min order to get that price, but for a large vendor that's not going to be an issue) then $6 p/year as long as you can keep below 12MB per year. But you can keep bw down by shipping the fingerprinting software with the TV and only sampling a small section of the screen (Other TV Vendors have done done this in the past too) and create the matching fingerprints in your server farm (So no need to send a full screenshot to fingerprint the show.

The question is then would $25 added to the BOM cost per device be worth it to the manufacturer (Cost of the module plus 3 years of NB-IoT coverage). Though you could reduce that by getting a custom deal with the carrier where you only pay for data if you actually activate it, then only activate the module if the TV has been in use for X hours without phoning home using the customers own connection.

From a cost perceptive I think we are pretty much already there.

I think we’re safe from that because enough people put their smartTVs on the network anyway.

We’ll lose some precision in the data because it’s biased against grandma, but good enough to sell the reports.

It may be $25/unit, but if 9/10 put their device on the network anyway, that’s $250/useful outcome.

We’ll lose some precision in the data because it’s biased against grandma,

That will single handedly kill ratings for CBS.

But that $25 is if every module is activated. If the Customer connects the TV to their own network anyway then you just cancel (if even activated anyway) the data plan for that TV.

My argument is more that from a cost point of view we are pretty much at the point it could be done, Not that I think it will happen any time soon (Reg's about data collection around the world are beginning to tighten up, personally I think getting the lawyers to draft up the paper work for an always connected TV for data collection alone is gonna be more the sticking point then the cost of the equipment/data to do so).

Sounds like the trick will be to convince my TV that I’m in EU.

The TV would know where you are by knowing what phone masts are in your area. But if you are in the US then ain't California pushing for tighter data collection regs?

But I get what your trying to say. Time to spin up a Software Defined Radio and start faking cell towers so your TV thinks it's in the EU :-P

No wonder that even when it’s explained to them, people just shrug their shoulders. If the alternative is to go full guerilla war against your own [0] appliances, no wonder many people just give up.

[0] I expect any day now we’ll get “subscription TVs” (as in, the actual hardware). We’re already there with headphones. https://www.channelnews.com.au/nuraphone-launch-subscription...

Roku does it now... you have to register the 'Roku TV' before using it (even if it's not network connected). TV generates a code, punch it into their network, get counter code.

I can totally see a month to month plan for getting a TV (the 50" is $260, so you could do a $20/month and come out ahead after the first year).

No, when setting up the TV, if you choose not to have a network connection, there is no need to link. There wouldn't be a way to link, as the TV can't reach the Roku servers.

I saw a subscription PC on the Dell website a few days back.

Doesn’t GDPR apply to EU citizens, regardless of geography? I know that at my place of work, I have to get consent from EU citizens to email them, even if we are talking in the US

From the privacy policy:

"If you are located in the European Economic Area (“EEA”) or Switzerland, with respect to transfers to the U.S. of certain personal information collected in connection with your use of Samsung Smart TVs, Samsung Electronics America, Inc. and its subsidiary Samsung Research America, Inc. are certified under the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield frameworks developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the European Commission and Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner, respectively, regarding the transfer of certain personal information from the EEA and Switzerland to the U.S."

Which basically means that Samsung pinkie swears that they won’t do anything bad, and the EU is powerless to do anything anyway.

I don't understand how this works.

If you're not in the EU, the EU doesn't have jurisdiction, period. They can say whatever they want but it doesn't mean anything. I'm sure China would love to enforce their laws worldwide too, but it doesn't work that way.

China does try and succeed, I’d like to remind you of the NBA fiasco and the Blizzard catastrophe.

Tell that to the US and US tax laws

Those are enforceable via extradition treaty because tax evasion is a crime in every nation in the world; if you want to extradite someone, the act in question must usually be a crime in both nations. The GDPR imposes regulations which have not parallels in other nations, so extradition is not an option. The Europeans are, however, free to arrest those who enter their nations, so it's still worth following for most people.

In case with Samsung, EU authorities can forbid selling their products in EU.

If you want to do business in, or travel to, the EU, then you obey their laws.

You’re free to ignore the GDPR but don’t be surprised if they arrest you if you ever visit.

Legally it does

Hopefully we can just tap into the serial interface.

A lot of them has started even locking down the serial interface. Hell even the boot logo on most LG TV's these days are signed.

EDIT: One thing that "might" work is a repair remote / repair menu. On the LG TV's in my house the repair menus allow you to change things like what HDMI mux the TV is expecting (I can't recall if the WiFi Module was included in such menus, but if it is you could change it to something its isn't and hopefully break connectivity. I'll have to dig out my repair remote and play around in the menus again).

There’s so many inputs, I’m sure there’s piles of vulnerabilities.

IR interface buffer overflows anyone?

i've never been so happy to not have a smart tv...

might is not a smart tv. I will need one sooner or later, so i am going to look at corporate televisions. Like in meeting rooms, and hotels that dont have this smart cack into them. Just a good panel, with honest HDMI ports on them!

Yep, the other good ones are for "commercial signage displays". No one wants to pay for smart garbage on those, so they're usually just good panels with ports.

all i want is a good panel with ports!

You should only have to convince it that you're an EU national.

> But that $25 is if every module is activated. If the Customer connects the TV to their own network anyway then you just cancel (if even activated anyway) the data plan for that TV.

Sounds to me like connecting it once, then resetting WiFi password will do the trick?

$25 is hugely expensive. This is an industry that removes $0.02 bypass capacitors by trial and error to save a few pennies.

True, but bypass capacitors don't produce ad revenue.

Found "Mad Man" Muntz's HN account

... yet.

Normally I would agree (The race to the bottom is huge) but in a market where the cheapest Samsung 32" TV in the UK on Amazon is £183 (~$240), The brand carries some weight for "quality", the data the module would generate can be sold on to generate income and you would be in a fine position to sign a custom deal with the carrier where you only pay for data if the customer didn't connect the device to their own connection the extra module itself is gonna cost $5. The extra $20 is only in data charges if they chose to exploit it.

Samsung could throw in the cheapest caps they could find from Shenzhen Markets, but they usually come with a decent brand (at least in the TV's I've taken apart in the past couple of years).

Sneaking in the extra cost of the modulke to the customer (if its as low as $5) will be pretty easy as long as the rev generated from the data collection is more than the data charges they are billed for (omitting the cost of dev'ing the FP'ing software and generating the FP's in your server farm).

EDIT: The 3 years of service was just a random number plucked out of the air. A length of time that could be used to study to see if the costs would be worth it (and a number I picked from experience with updates / new features no longer being pushed to smart TV's). If they found its not worth it, they could drop the service 12 months in and not have to pay for the 2 years left on the experiment (thus reducing the cost again).

The manufacturers have the numbers (number of units sold vs the number of units phoning home) to know if it would be a worthwhile endeavour. Just making the point that we are pretty much at the point where the costs of such connectivity is not a huge sum in the grand scheme of things.

Amazon will knock $20 off the price of a kindle if you get the version with ads. And those only display static grayscale ads, advertisers may be willing to pay more for something more invasive. Extracting $25 of value from spyware on televisions doesn't seem out of the question.

Amazon doesn't make that Kindle $20 cheaper, it makes the ad-free version $20 more expensive, or at least, that's how I see it. That's more about market segmentation than the actual value of ads.

Even if we assume ads are nothing more than an annoyance with $0 value, the "with ads" version may still be beneficial to Amazon. That's if people with a lower budget tolerate ads and those with a high budget don't. If they only sell the expensive ad-free version, they will lose the low-budget customers, if they sell the ad-free version at the with-ads price, they lose money from people who are ready to pay more. Ads here are just a market segmentation tool. Just like it is common for low end products to be the same as their high counterparts but with disabled features.

What about your experience on the Internet leads you to believe a company would value ads at $0?

Can you point to another Amazon produced product where they achieve segmentation by making the same product and then disable features on the cheap one?

> Can you point to another Amazon produced product where they achieve segmentation by making the same product and then disable features on the cheap one?

Prime video, amazon fresh. i believe the latter is no longer available outside of Prime. I think Prime shipping itself also counts here, given the changes over the years.

Edit: spelling

Hulu more than doubles their subscription price to hide ads. Do you really think that they're making less net revenue per subscription from ad-viewing users than ad-free ones?

It is also the same industry that grossly overvalues ads.

In their mind $25 is a steal.

If you're getting $26 from the ad agencies, then it's $-1 on your BOM. Done deal.

But is individual data worth that much? I mean isn’t “my” Facebook data is worth less than $0.20US/year?

Facebook had 20 USD per active user revenue in 2018. So it is somehow worth more than that.

User revenue isn’t the same thing as what the user data is worth. What would their revenue be if they did nothing more than IP geolocation ads without any other user data?

I bet they count API hits (FB app checking in but not being used) in that. If it was based per interacting user I bet it's much higher.

"individual data" is what makes all the difference here. Once you have the individual tv viewership data you can build products like - - tv to digital re-targetting - tv ad to actual sale/visit attribution - ad campaign performance analytics - in-tv targetted ads - show/ad ratings - and many more reports

you can sell these products to broadcasters, brands, ad agencies, tv show producers and even to election campaigns !!

Advertisers pay Facebook a total of $100/yr/user in USA.

So that wifi chipset is worth $-275, given a three year lifespan.

And that’s why you have 50” LCDs selling for $300 in the USA.

It's only "worth" that little because of FB's pricing, which also includes their signaling on how worthless they want people to think their data is, overall.

Additional requirement for modern media room:

Faraday Cage

Eldest Child: "DAD!!!! Why doesn't the WiFi work in the media room!!!!"

Thinking about it, That is an added bonus... ;-)

$6/yr is early adopter price. With a little competition and multiple spy devices per home, that will drop to bulk rates of $1/yr/device or less.

Thankfully it isn't quite that simple for electronics in the US. If it is sold commericially, it has to be registered with the FCC.

In this way, you at least know if it has WiFi, LTE, etc, and can see the module that is installed on it. This makes it much easier to go into the device and physically disable the radios on it.

Heck, maybe that is something like iFixit could do, have a how to to completely remove radio capabilities.

The average consumer won't be able (or even know) to disable built-in telemetry. As you can see from Facebook, invasive ads, DNA kits, and Alexa, most won't even care.

We've lost this battle. Our warnings weren't strong enough to win over those interested in convenience.

> We've lost this battle.

I think you could look at the battle/war from a different perspectives, and come up with different conclusions.

In the mainstream (whatever that is?) it appears that convenience wins. And hardware/software vendors seem to make the assumption that customers won't complain if their data is harvested. I think that's where you're coming from?

On the (privacy) enthusiast things, the horizon looks much better. We've got great software that makes self-hosting easier: FreeNAS, Nextcloud, Docker, Plex, NixOS, etc. We have more choice in phones: we can still use "dumbphones", or use open source operating systems, or choose manufacturers with better privacy track records. I'm not familiar with consumer electronics as much, but buying low end/dumb devices (TVs, appliances) is still viable. And the open source home automation movement keeps getting traction with hardware and software.

> [privacy] [Plex]

Plex forces centralized Internet authentication for your locally-hosted server, and uses a variety of centralized services that have access to your served files' titles and other metadata. Furthermore Plex collects a variety of usage information statistics. I don't think it's possible to entirely opt out of these services or collection, or indeed use Plex at all without Internet access.

Although Plex claims to "care deeply" about privacy in its privacy policy, there is no blanket statement guaranteeing the privacy of your data and usage habits, or at least none without weasel words.

I dunno. I just installed Plex server on my not internet connected Windows 10 NAS and it works fine locally.

TIL... Thanks for highlighting this.

This is the main reason I prefer UMS to Plex.

As someone who held out on smart phones until 2 months ago, nah, not having a smart phone isn't an option any more. Many jobs, even if not explicitly, require you to have a smart phone. Otherwise you can't read or see what your boss sends, you can't use their dumbass apps, you can't take and send pictures of customer complaints or problems, and ive even found places that requires you to have a smart phone just to sign up for their job application submission software.

Not having a smartphone is turning into luddite territory and you are looked down upon as less valuable in much of the modern world if you don't have one.

Being looked down on by someone who voluntarily carries a state-approved surveillance appliance, I can live with that.

> We have more choice in phones: we can still use "dumbphones", or use open source operating systems, or choose manufacturers with better privacy track records.

There are zero options on the market right now that come close to a modern smartphone.

PinePhone? Librem? Even freed Android phones are actually very close.

Dumb TVs are not available anymore. I would gladly buy one with decent image quality if such existed.

They do, they just don't call them TVs. Look up commercial digital displays, exact same brands with the same screens as the consumer model but no tracking and bloatware. Of course, without the subsidies from selling your data, they're going to run you an extra 30-50%

it's not just that, they're generally rated for 24/7 usage and feature much higher build quality - often with ultra thin bezels to allow them to be used in tiled arrangements.

whether that usage rating is related to any actual difference in the hardware is something i've pondered, but it is something they do specifically mention.

I wish it was only a 30-50% premium though as my experience is that they are an integer multiple of the equivalent consumer TV.

>I wish it was only a 30-50% premium though as my experience is that they are an integer multiple of the equivalent consumer TV

You weren't kidding, just had a quick browse for some, they were between $5000-$17000 for sizes equivalent to home TVs.

generally we get around this by using rentals for a lot of things, the only people purchasing them (in my realm) are production rental houses like PRG or VER, or permanent installers where the cost is just another line on the buildout of a space.

I'm very happy with my current dumb 65" 1080p screen, but have thought about whether I would pay signage screen prices if the only other option was something with its own rogue computer - smart TVs really are terrible in every iteration I've seen. Eventually I may desire more resolution or size, or my screen may have an irreparable failure.

Having modded thinkpads to use better / higher resolution panels, and having disassembled a number of consumer TVs, I do suspect that the next best option is going to be getting a dumb driver board to accept HDMI and turn it into the LVDS / EDP / whatever interface is needed to directly drive the panel (as well as a backlight driver, and something to spit audio from the HDMI to some speakers). As it gets harder to buy a quality large screen without crapware (without paying signage prices) I hope enough of us will pursue this route that there can be a known process and BOM to make it a straightforward project. I would imagine you could have your cake and eat it too by pairing up a quality dumb driver board and a high quality screen that is not available in dumb form.

At that point we could consider interesting modifications like a teensy with ethernet to allow remote control over LAN with a protocol like OSC, or some lightweight hardware to decode an NDI stream to allow creating "channels" coordinated by a centralized media server / NAS. One could accomplish interesting things that would be concerning if not under local-only control, like video calling that hops between screens in the house as you change rooms, shows that automatically pause if you get up for a restroom break, gesture control for when you're watching a cooking video while cooking and have dirty/wet hands, and so on. There is a ton of smart home functionality around screens that is compelling and useful when not paired with creepy companies or unknown data exfiltration.

I wonder if you can buy reasdonbly priced OEM replacement boards from the commercial (dumb) display and switch the guts out?

So just buy a large display. And sit closer.

Also makes it easier to watch DVDs and torrented stuff.

I disagree. See the CA privacy law (CCPA) and the successor that will be on the ballot in November. Those give us the chance to establish meaningful defaults.

And those pesky opt-outs are irrelevant anyway: we’ll just interpolate them from the available data.

Well if they aren't doing anything wrong, they have nothing to hide...

For those downvoting I’m assuming this is sarcasm :D

Here's a joke that's just as good: you know what happens when you assume, don't you?


> have a how to to completely remove radio capabilities.

We have no guarantee these devices would continue to work after such operation.

Like Zune's DRM (luckily before Zune died they let purchasers download MP3s). I wonder what funny failure scenarios we'll see in the future.

On the topic of Samsung, their "smart" Fridge had issues when Google changed its API: https://support.google.com/calendar/forum/AAAAd3GaXpEWgy9gKk... , but at least that's some stupid feature and not a fridge's main feature...

Games have been becoming unplayable due to DRM servers shutting down. IoT devices are becoming bricks when they go out of support.

DRM and internet dependency are the ultimate tools in capitalisms planned obsolescence toolbox. You no longer have to wait for a product to fail, you can simply remotely destroy it so the customer buys a new one.

While topics like privacy and DRM are important, framing the discussion in those terms de facto obscures/distracts from the issue of property rights. Using someone's property (to e.g. to spy on them) after they purchased it is usually some sort of crime: trespassing, theft, vandalism, etc. If "intellectual property" is "property", then destroying someone's property (with DRM or other remote control) is a crime such as vandalism. The manufacturer lost their rights at the first sale of the good to the customer.

This is why tech companies have been pushing to reframe the sales of their goods as a service. They abuse[1] copyright by claiming yu need to license the software/firmware. This is like claiming when you purchase a book it isn't your property because they only "licensed" the book's story. However, trying to extend copyright (which only grants rights related to making more copies) into property rights is a misuse of copyright[1].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_misuse

> DRM and internet dependency are the ultimate tools in capitalisms planned obsolescence toolbox.

They are also the ultimate tools in authoritarian government’s toolboxes. Nothing like the ministry of truth having the ability to prevent the citizens from seeing unapproved “harmful” content that might disrupt society’s harmony.

As the sibling points out, the real issue here is the devaluation of property rights (more specifically your control over your own devices). These type of controls should be fought even in non-capitalist environments.

Sorry should be more clear. I mean how to physically remove such capabilities.

I interpreted as: we have no guarantee that they won't need an internet connection to operate.

Not saying a manufacturer might not think about making a TV that must be connected to the internet but, even leaving aside privacy etc. issues, that's a huge minefield. Not everyone has internet everywhere that they might care to install a TV.

And it wouldn't take much for Best Buy or Walmart to stop carrying your product after one too many customers return it because it wouldn't work.

People made this argument about Steam, Battlenet, game DRM, etc. But it happened anyway.

Yes, but those are things you install. Some services require an Internet connection and people accept that. You can’t use Netflix without an internet connection either (although you can download to watch offline). That’s different from taking a TV home and it not working even as a dumb display because you don’t have an internet connection.

Ahh, I misunderstood! I would say that is when it gets returned if I need internet to operate my TV.

Can there be a balance? I'd love to remotely control and view the status of my appliances without sending the telemetry to the OEM. Physically disabling all the radios would prohibit this functionality.

I reckon that, given enough time, it’ll go the same was as everything else. Either you pay a subscription to remote it (and the inevitable ads that will appear), or you pay a premium for something without that functionality.

I don’t see how this stops. Advertisers will stop at nothing to invade your life, and businesses are more than happy to facilitate them if they get some more money out of it.

Agreed. Adding to this, consumers in general are failing to quantify the cost of giving up their personal data.

Even more, how do we quantify the price of our attention and our lives? You can use Facebook for free but as well as having hyper-targeted adverts thrown in your face, they are also vacuuming any single point of individuality you might possess, because everyone in the industry is brokering the data like a private commodity that we can never actually know anything about. IMO, Facebook is not worth the price of that level of pervasive, perverse, surveillance. Neither is Google.

Things like GDPR absolutely help but they're not retroactive, and chances are there is no way of clearing all of that up given how many millions of servers might have a trace of it.

Our current situation is where technology is leeching from humanity but humanity is okay with it because they get stuff for free.

I mean, yes? People want free stuff. The cost has to be paid somehow. If that is eyeballs and data then so be it.

Won't this create an opportunity for someone to enter the market with a TV that uses no ads or telemetry? Surely it is obvious there are millions of people who don't want smart TV's you would think a company offering a dumb TV would thrive. Are we just not at that point yet?

I guess part of the problem is brand recognition. 95% of a TV is the screen, and Samsung, LG, Sony and perhaps a couple of others own that market between them.

I see neither Samsung, LG, nor Sony getting on board, so you'd have to be buying their panels and do a good job with the electronics for people to but then.

That's fine in the ultra-premium space, the price to the consumer will cover the R&D, but mainstream, you'll just be Hannspree or something that has good panels but nobody knows our cares about you.

Root + alternate ROM

Is there much of a community for installing alternate ROMs on IoT devices?

Not sure it quite compares to the phone custom ROM community in size but there is an active community. I've reflashed cheap wifi IoT devices which otherwise wanted to phone home with Tasmota[0] which seems like a relatively active project. There are other similar efforts too. You could also consider eg home assistant, openhab or domoticz to form part of this type of community and they're very active.

0. https://github.com/arendst/Tasmota

Not sure how active it is but there is a community for installing open firmware on Samsung TVs:


And I really have to think that the more companies add these misfeatures, the more effort is going to put into alternate ROMs/firmware for more consumer electronics.

yes, the first example I know from the top of my head is all the sonoff stuff.

They run a popular ESP8266 chip which people reflash.


> This makes it much easier to go into the device and physically disable the radios on it.

Wouldn't opening the device void the warranty?

Why are people so worried about preserving the warranty on their electronics? If it lasted 30 days and you don’t break it while futzing with it, it’s likely to work through the warranty period anyway. If it doesn’t, buy another one. TVs are ridiculously inexpensive now.

I see people online waiting years (perhaps 5% of their life) to mod their cars or electronics for fear of losing the warranty.

Side note: Magnuson-Moss in the US prevents manufacturers from failing to honor their warranty because of totally unrelated modifications (or for opening a device without damaging it). “Warranty void if sticker removed” is almost certainly inaccurate legally.

> If it doesn’t, buy another one. TVs are ridiculously inexpensive now.

If you buy a mediocre one, sure? Good OLED TVs today still cost thousands. They are a big ticket purchase for most buyers. Hesitance in breaking them open is entirely sensible.

And "ridiculously cheap" is still a few hundred dollars in most cases. Which is still a decent chunk of money for a lot of people.

I'd say TVs, like mobile phones, are the sort of thing people spend beyond their means on, this makes it an even more expensive purchase, and a lot of people probably don't have the tools, the knowledge or the experience to crack open a flat panel TV without damaging it.

More of an issue is that the devices will be single SoC and soldered together so removing a part risks frying the whole thing.

That's for removing a sticker. Not for removing a whole module or messing with wiring.

The law quoted states a manufacturer cannot invoke a void warrenty for modifications unrelated to the warrenty claim. For example, if I replace the radio in my car, the manufacturer cannot said i voided my warrenty if the engine has problems (unless the modification did damage it).

So I would argue yes, if i disable the radios and something unrelated is damaged, then the warranty is still valid.

No doubt it's a judgment call for the court, but your car radio is farther from the engine then your TV wifi module is from the TV receiver. Your TV is all likely to be on the same DC circuit, maybe even all soldered together on one board.

I already did, over a decade ago. I tell friends "No cloud services on this ship!". They've bought into it too, buying more CD's, records and dumb only TV's.

My current setup is an old 1080P Bang & Olufsen setup. Looks and sounds great. Similar with audio - B&O did airplay back in the 80's called master link. So each room in the house can play music from anywhere else.

The only things networked are actual computers and phones. That's more risk than I want to handle, no need to add more. Similarly I've passed over smartwatches for good quality Swiss watches that'll still be worth something in 18 months time. I swear I'm not some character from a William Gibson novel.

I expect at some point old school offline stuff will make a comeback like Vinyl has. Society lags a good 10-20 years behind the frontrunners. Sometimes more.

A guy in /r/buyitforlife posted a palm pilot (Tungsten C), and it got me thinking about heading back down this road (further than I already have.)

For portable audio, I'm using a souped-up iPod video. I'm thinking 2020 will be the year where I take another step in this offline direction -- at least with hardware.

I had bad luck with iPod hard drives... I’m surprised you’re is still working, or was there an SSD video iPod that I’m forgetting?

I assume by “souped up” they mean they modded it. You can go onto Amazon and get adapters to retrofit HDD-based iPods with flash, and a replacement battery too as long as you’re cracking it open.

I did this with an old 5G video iPod and it was a 15 minute job. Worked better than new because there wasn’t the lag in switching songs from waiting for the HDD to spin up.

yeah, the 5.5 is the best. Such an easy mod, too. Combined with Rockbox and it's a near-perfect media player.

yup! You I replaced it with an iFlash Quad [1] -- it takes up to four micro SDs.

I also replaced the battery with a 2000mAh and keep it all in the 30gb case. I also replaced the headphone jack and lock switch so they were black.

Modding iPods is a breeze, too. Just be gentle when you're disconnecting the battery.

[1] https://www.iflash.xyz/store/iflash-quad/

You can easily retrofit flash memory into at least some of the older iPods.

I'm somewhat the same way, but I've been looking at 4K TVs for ages and cannot seem to find a single one that isn't "smart". Maybe one day I'll find a good one that is dumb!

I only had luck searching for monitors. There are 43" 4k monitors[0] (probably larger as well but this fit my use case).

[0]: https://smile.amazon.com/AOC-U2790VQ-3840x2160-Frameless-Dis...

Hm nice, thanks. Yeah I have also heard that displays intended for big advertising installations are a good option, but those often have low refresh rate or long image persistence (or whatever the term is), so they're not very suitable for movies and gaming.

Also: many, many thousands of dollars.

I think similary, I had a moment of weakness when I bought my house and bought some cheap IoT things to make my house 'smart' but this was followed by a moment of clarity so I decided not to use any of it.

I do however, use a running watch from Garmin. That's only used for when I'm excercising though, other times I'm wearing my automatic which is much nicer and doesn't try and track me.

I use my iPod video for music and Podcasts (big shoutout to gPodder and Rockbox for making this easy!). I do not buy and rip CDs though, as I don't like having to store them. I do by all my music from Bandcamp which gives me DRM free copies I can backup.

I use Insteon for all of the switches and fans in my house. Those are combined with an isy99 for automation. My thermostat is a Venstar T7900 which is WiFi connected, but doesn't need to connect to the internet and has a local API that can link into the rest of my HA setup. My home security system has a local network interface via an EyezOn module for integrating all of those sensors into the HA system. I also have an RPi running Home Assistant for tying a lot of these things together.

None of this _requires_ an external network connection. I have a hard rule that my automation needs to operate without a connection to the outside world.

That being said, I can easily connect this setup to Google Home or Alexa to add in voice control (which I have done). If a viable offline voice assistant comes along I'll 100% add that to my local setup.

I was talking to a few people in a slack channel the other day about the potential market for a whole set of "dumb" appliances. At the end of the day, we came to the conclusion that it wouldn't be a able to reach mass market because the mass consumers seem to care more about price than security.

I'm not sure this is a counterargument, but if a company did this in an open way I could trust, I would buy EVERYTHING from them. Fridge, washer, dryer, dishwasher, televisions, small electronics, cars, whatever. You name it I'd buy it. I don't have enough information to determine how many people are like me, but the profit you could make on me as a customer would be ridiculous. You'd get the kind of platform loyalty that Amazon and Google dream of. I'd probably even be happy to share some personal information with you in a way that I controlled that you could turn around and sell. The sense of autonomy, privacy, and control is that valuable to me.

100% this. I would be another loyal customer buying everything from such a company.

I place high value on not fucking over fellow human beings, and I'd happily put the money where my mouth is, but the market seems essentially devoid of ethical companies these days. I'm sure there is many more people like us - perhaps enough to sustain a company.

(FWIW, if you extend this past issues of ads and privacy, and into making good products and just selling them for money - I'm not sure how long such a company would last these days. Being ethical means no planned obsolescence, or otherwise churning out new variants of the same thing to keep sales up. It could have a problem with a continued revenue stream - but then again, I'd probably happily pay an extra subscription to an ethical company that cut away all this bullshit, just for the privilege of being able to then buy products from them.)

Have you purchased one of Purism’s products (phone, laptop, etc)? That’s their entire shtick. I could see them developing into the kind of company you describe with a wide range of privacy respecting products.

> Being ethical means no planned obsolescence, or otherwise churning out new variants of the same thing to keep sales up.

If you buy "TV as a service" instead of as a product, the effect is basically that the company providing the service will do the opposite of planning for obsolescence.

Perhaps this is the kind of company you are looking for?

That's a fair point, and arguably a good side of products-as-serivces. I'm still generally against them, though, for two reasons.

One: in practice, -as-a-Service businesses tend to quickly devolve their business models to include user-hostile, unethical aspects. Requiring Internet access, telemetry, ads, remote bricking, etc.

Two - and this is more of a gut feeling than a properly thought-through objection: I don't like the risk curve. Services require a steady cash flow. Have a financial hick-up, and you have to start sacrificing some of your services. Whereas with ownership, you can keep using the goods you own regardless of how much money you have - and with proper care and maintenance, you can get a lot of mileage out of the things you buy. Poorer people tend to be good at it by necessity. The same poorer people would end up trapped if they depended on everything as services.

I also like the fact that, if for some reason you prefer monthly installments to lump-sum purchase, you can turn almost any product into service by getting a bank involved. It has a nice, Unixy feel to it.

But, as I said, I haven't really made up my mind about this just yet.

This is my only argument for "subscription culture" in much better words.

There are dozens of people like you, maybe even thousands or tens of thousands. In other words, not do worth paying attention to.

Also, you're probably not telling the truth to yourself, since you get your news from HN instead of paying for journalism.

As of now, in the UK, LG’s TVs are fairly up front about automatic content recognition, and it’s off by default.

But I agree, we need a consumer-electronics company that uses privacy as a competitive advantage the way Apple does for phones.

Make cars too, please.

Manual transmission (actual stick and clutch, not silly paddles), minimal ECUs, disableable seatbelt chime, cigar lighter, and so forth. You know, less cyber.

The seat belt chime might be a requirement, depending on where you live. Also, the complicated ECU helps with fuel efficiency (and thus lessens environmental impact). How about ESP and similar safety tech? Matrix light (forbidden in the US?) is nice when driving through forests since the high beam can stay up, but involves a lot of high tech as well. I can live without, but a rear camera is damn handy.

Most important: This is completely detached from the manufacturer spying on you, or preventing cheap repairs by not selling you necessary parts or withholding information.

Somebody should buy the tooling for early 90's Camry's/ES300's and sell them indefinitely. You could get a reliable, brand new car for a couple grand.

Sort of like the original VW Beetle sales model.

They wouldn't be legal to sell in the US for a variety of reasons. Vehicle safety laws are updated pretty regularly.

Off the top of my head, they probably wouldn't meet:

FMVSS 126 (ESC), FMVSS 111 (rear camera), FMVSS 138 (TMPS), FMVSS 226 (occupant ejection mitigation)

Although, like the beetle, you could sell them in countries with lower safety standards. I'm pretty some joint ventures in China are/were actually done with old tooling from western automakers.

You’d still have a better car if you took modern drivetrain with 90s knobs.

The touchscreen revolution in cars is a dumpster fire. Literally every aspect of the controls on my last couple of cars has been a regression.

Wouldn’t that make it almost impossible to meet emission regulations? I’m not a fan of how opaque cars have gotten, but I’ll accept some loss of control for cleaner air.

Automatics are still too dumb to keep the clutch engaged while braking.

Officially automatics and manuals are a wash for mileage, but I think driving style can make manuals the winner.

All that kinetic energy getting dissipated by brakes instead of turning the engine and all of its accessories in autos.

I’m quite surprised auto manufacturers haven’t implemented engine braking for émissions, reducing brake wear, and quicker « free » cabin heat in cold conditions.

Automatics disengage the driveshaft to save wear on engine parts. It's an active decision, not being "too dumb". Wearing out brakes is cheaper to fix than wearing out your brakes, and people like longer lasting, cheaper to fix, cars.

Replying to myself here because I can't edit it after someone has responded?

I meant wearing our brakes is cheaper to fix that engine parts.

I figured they disengaged because they can’t know if you’re wanting to coast or wanting to brake when you step off the accelerator.

If they always assumed you wanted to brake, that would really hurt mileage.

And it would have to disengage anyway at some point to avoid stalling.

Engine braking is more RPMs in aggregate, but nothing particularly bad for an engine.

Automatics don't use a traditional clutch for transmissions, so it wouldn't actually stall, but your other points could be true.

> but I think driving style can make manuals the winner.

Everything you can do, a machine can do better.

In theory. But I don’t have a much faith in auto transmissions (effectively a mechanical computer that has to handle many scenarios, probably none perfectly).

My hybrid's auto actually does a pretty good job (2013 V60 D6; diesel front, electric rear axle). And it's a simple 6 gear box, not a fancy 8 or 11 gear twin clutch. Picks a good gear, no hysteresis and the overall control intelligence seems to properly decide when to enter neutral and recuperate (on wildly shifting loads [steep uphill slopes] that "overall intelligence" sometimes tends to be too aggressive with shutting down the diesel altogether, but that's not the transmissions fault).

Most importantly: Your gearbox works the same regardless of your state of mind, regardless of you caring about mpg or not, regardless of you being focused on driving or not. It will just deliver.

Sure, a good driver in the manual version of a car might achieve better mpg than the auto version, but that requires skill and focus and effort. And realistically, a human driver won't deliver 100% of the time, so the auto version will beat the manual version over the long haul, no matter the driver.

I've never understood why it seems meaningful that an automatic can get a tiny bit better mileage. There are a lot of ways to reduce fuel use and/or the overall environmental impact of car operation. Using public transport, biking or walking 1/n trips would accomplish the same goal, and n probably wouldn't have to be very low. There's also the life cycle considerations of manufacturing and disposal of cars. Blahdy blah.

The reason to drive a stick is to drive. Anyone who's never tried it, try it! You become an essential part of the experience, both hands and feet involved and synthesizing related tasks, while you look ahead, anticipate, plan, breathe. You don't need music or the phone or a fridge in the glove box. It doesn't have to be a sports car, anything with a stick will do.

We are in a privileged moment. How long ago was it that cars didn't even exist? How long since they have been really excellent, dynamic, safe(er), powerful, reliable? I'd argue late 80s to about now is the entire window. Already, 2/5 of our appendages are useless to the task, and soon it will be 5/5.

Smoke 'em if you've got 'em!

> I've never understood why it seems meaningful that an automatic can get a tiny bit better mileage.

It used to be an argument for stick shifts, that they had better mileage. When I got my license 7 years ago, that "fact" was part of the course. Eco-driving is a mandatory part of both the written test and the practical test, so the "correct" answer if you wanted to pass the test was that you should prefer a stick shift over an automatic, because of fuel economy. Also, if you do your practical test with an automatic, you get a mark on your license saying you are not allowed to drive manuals.

These days, it's factually wrong, so driving students get told wrong things, and spend time learning and doing useless bullshit, and get told to buy the wrong type of car. That pissed me off like no other.

> The reason to drive a stick is to drive.

I agree. That's an honest argument for stick shift. The feeling of driving one. Even though a modern automatic will accelerate faster than you can ever do driving a stick shift. Because everything you can do, a machine can do better...

If that was true, you wouldn't be behind the wheel at all.

The transmission can't see the road ahead and prepare in advance.

Whenever there's an article here on Hacker News about self-driving cars, do you just... skip over them? Your eyes glaze over, and you're not seeing that part of the technological landscape? What do you think all the computer vision tech is doing in self-driving cars?

Sorry, I'm not as enlightened as you. Which self driving car do you own?

Put an automatic in "low gear" (I still remember when it used to be called "grade retard" on some cars, which was to be used for braking only and not acceleration) and you'll get engine braking.

and quicker « free » cabin heat in cold conditions.

Engine braking won't heat the engine much over just idling, in fact it may even cool it off more because the governor will cut off fuel completely.

It’s a good question re:heat that seems to be unanswered. While it is compression and decompression, it’s not 100% efficient. And in a gas car, it’s releasing hot compressed air throughout the system, including the cat converter. I figured enough heat during compression would radiate to the engine. Plus more RPMs = more stuff warming up.

I mean, the energy has to go somewhere, and the engine itself makes the most sense.

We’re doing the opposite of acceleration (sometimes faster), so that’s gotta be a lot more energy turned into heat than necessary to keep an engine idle.

If brake pads get to several hundred degrees while braking...

Normal engine braking (and even the compression-release "Jake brakes" on diesels, while more effective) doesn't develop anywhere near as much force as the wheel brakes. You're right that it does generate heat, but it's not a lot --- instead of purely compressing and releasing the compressed air, the engine is just acting as an air pump; the air gets compressed (and hotter) during the compression stroke, but instead of igniting, what would be the power stroke merely expands the air again to the same volume it had before, and then the exhaust stroke pushes it out with little restriction. I would bet that even if it's just idling, the heat of combustion will be far greater than whatever friction losses contribute to engine braking.

Reciprocating mass (pistons, rods, and valves constantly changing direction) is where a great deal of the energy is sunk when engine braking. It doesn't all go to heat. Accessories are also doing useful work like the alternator charging the battery and the water pump circulating coolant. Friction is significant and increases with rpm and oil pressure, but you aren't heating it nearly as much as when it's burning fuel.

Naw, diesels do all of that too and their engine braking is minimally effective without modifications. Trucks will have "Jake brakes" installed, but diesel cars get minimal effects from engine braking.

Gas vehicles effectively engine brake without modification, but dunno where all the energy is getting converted.

I do wish alternators would detect engine braking and ramp up electric cabin heat though.

Oh yeah, diesels suck air all the time whereas gas engines are creating a strong vacuum, which is a lot of effort. They turn at higher rpm than diesels, too.

I think they do keep it engaged, at least while coasting.

I know you said braking but I've seen it in both my 2002 and 2015 automatics when coasting.

If I'm coasting up to a red light I'm pretty sure I can brake lightly and still be coasting with no fuel consumption, and then it will only turn the fuel back on when it needs to creep.

I'll check it on the live MPG display next time I'm driving.

Typical automatics have comfortably passed out manuals for mileage on average, some time in the 2010s. Driving style "can" theoretically still make a given manual more efficient, but it requires an unusual attention to mileage by the manual driver and/or an unusually aggressive driver on the automatic.

My 2005 car will use engine braking to control hill descent speed automatically, and will downshift in some cases to assist braking.

> Automatics are still too dumb to keep the clutch engaged while braking.

Automatics don't have a clutch though. They have a torque converter, which is not the same thing.

There are still plenty of brand new cars using old school 4 speed autos which are significantly worse for efficiency than a manual.

I'll just settle for any car without a screen in the dash.

Oh wait, they made that illegal starting MY2015 (in the US, at least).

OK, how about just without a touchscreen, then?

Well, Mazda deliberately avoided using touchscreens in their 2019 line of 3s and CX-30s.

Apparently they're not selling well in US.

If you could get the price down to a comparable point, you might be able to market against the price-vs-security crowd, but I think you'd find yourself up against another large percentage of consumers that care more about features than security, which seems a lot harder to compete with when you're pitting dumb devices against smart devices.

Yeah, this is pretty much what a few people brought up. Consumers seem to actively want to give their data away for "features" which usually aren't worth the data they are giving up.

1) I'm one of the consumers that often actively want to give my data away for "features" that I think are worth the data I'm giving up.

2) I've seen enough comments on HN with the opposite (valid) mindset to think there's a nonzero audience of people that are also willing to pay for privacy over features.

Both groups of people seem to feel the other group is wrong and seem biased to think the world would be a better place if everyone in the other group converted to their own, but if you promote privacy over features there's definitely a market out there for you. :)

Be aware that there are existing markets for a whole set of appliances which are very, very "dumb" indeed. Take a look at Lehman's, based out of Ohio Amish country: https://www.lehmans.com/

It's hard to install spyware on something that doesn't run off electricity.

Well, I would be interested. Also, I don't like HDMI, and I don't need such a big TV set. For TV and VCR and some stuff like that, if it uses computer system (many kind of appliances should not need any kind of computer code), having the rights provided by GPL3, and also wired IMIDI (and perhaps also IMIDI-over-IR, with a switch to disable IR entirely). And, the software should be simpler and not so slow, not so much fancy animation or otherwise bad UI (e.g. requiring you to push the arrows to select an option, even if just one button (such as a number) should do) either!

Would it be possible to build an adapter that could filter out Ethernet-over-HDMI?

There are basically zero consumer devices right now that actually support that functionality. It's not useful as a selling feature when TVs all have wifi now anyway.

perhaps a pihole of some sort can be built

my major concern is that the digital parts may be connection dependent for function

It is frustrating that everything has to be connected. Pretty soon toasters will need updates before toasting. Maybe ads will be burned into the toast?

For a "TV" I think I'll just get the biggest computer monitor I can and do without an actual television tuner. Most times I watch YouTube or Amazon Prime Video, more and more less Netflix and broadcast TV. Even with that setup a Pi Hole is a must.

You'll have to buy the monthly subscription fee to have your toast without ads.

> At least right now we can choose not to connect the devices, but what happens if iot LTE connections get cheap enough that the choice is removed altogether, like with Tesla and other high end modern cars?

This is the point of “5G” everywhere. If the underlying phys and chips are cheap, low power and licensed appropriately a lot of “dumb” stuff will suddenly become smart whether you like it or not.

What you're looking for is a law. Those strictly dominate technical capabilities, and can set useful baselines that remove the need for a consumer to deeply inspect the policies of every single device or white good they buy.

As Maciej points out, we don't teach people how to perform botulism tests to eat safe food; we regulate it. We desperately need something similar for privacy.

> but what happens if iot LTE connections get cheap enough that the choice is removed altogether

It’s worse then you think. Read dredmorbius’ comment in its entirety.

> Which means that peel-and-stick computing is well within reach, if not a present reality.


> what happens if iot LTE connections get cheap enough that the choice is removed altogether

Just like what happens when any product you like gets discontinued. You either accept the drawbacks of the alternatives and pick the next best choice or you do without it altogether.

If this really becomes TV with LTE or not TV, you’ll quickly see how little people truly care. Think back to 2008-2010 and the anti-smartphone people. How many of them are still holding out?

Once people learn how much they can do without, they tend to find it quite liberating. I haven't seen the numbers, but I've heard from a reputable source that a significant portion of the populace does not own a mobile phone.

When a product I like (because it improves the quality of my life) gets discontinued, I look for a quality replacement. If I can't find one, I briefly mourn that and move on. Crap is crap (much of modern tech is nothing more) and there's plenty of quality to be found outside of paying for crap.

Life without products is actually possible. So was life without breakfast, before General Mills spent a fortune promoting it as an essential.

> The vast majority of Americans – 96% – now own a cellphone of some kind.


Surprisingly many, as market for dumbphones and burners show. You can still buy a dumbphone.

Well, you can, but only 2G dumb phones. So they'll stop working wherever 2G networks get shut off for good. If you want a more future-proof 4G phone, even the "dumb" phones are actually pretty smart. Most of them come with Linux-based KaiOS [1] which even includes an app store out of the box.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KaiOS

Nope, you can buy LTE capable dumb phones. My local Walmart has them.

Can you please provide some more information regarding these phones? I skimmed through Walmart's online store, but couldn't find any dumb 4G phones there. I'd be really interested to learn if they sell 4G capable feature phones not running KaiOS.

It's been a while ago but I think it was either a Kyocera, or one of those Samsung dumb phones.

Otherwise there's also the 3310 refresh, although that's 3G.

3G phones are unfortunately no better choice than 2G phones, because the 3G networks of most operators will be not running much longer than their 2G networks. Here in Europe operators often even plan to shut down their 3G networks prior to their 2G networks.

Kyocera indeed seems to have some 4G "dumb" feature phones: https://www.kyoceramobile.com/phones/?filter=type:basic#

That's quite interesting. Thanks for the pointers.

I sort of wonder how dumbphone sales split out between:

- I don't need/want to pay for/know how to use a computer in my pocket. A phone is all I need.

- My kid just needs a phone for emergencies. A smartphone will be a distraction

- An actual burner phone for whatever purpose.

Also the too poor crowd. I think the only reason they still exist is because 3rd world countries use them. Although even 3rd world countries are getting upgraded to smart phones as cheap low level ones enter the market. I give it maybe 3 years until they're no longer being offered.

I'm not sure I'd bet against you but, so long as they remain the best way to communicate by voice/text more or less anonymously (in a world where pay phones are mostly no longer an option), I expect they'll remain as a niche for illegal, quasi-legal, etc. use at least.

I suppose that smartphones can in principle be equivalently anonymous but, in practice, it's probably harder and there are more opportunities to leak identity.

The market for 'dumbphones' is living on borrowed time; once all the remaining CSP's have Refarmed 2G/3G spectrum and allocated it for other uses such as IoT/M2M and diversified into adjacent digital services, it will disappear sooner than you think. Next up, 4G ─ whose demise will be far more easier to orchestrate.


81% of American adults own a smartphone. Not surprisingly the 50+ demographic is least likely to own one. You’re correct that the non-smart phone market currently exists but pretty soon it’s going to be down to one or two choices at most.


I recently went to but a new range/oven. In the price range I was looking at (1-2k) it was impossible to find something that didn’t have a touchscreen with some smart feature (WiFi, Bluetooth, whatever). You had to jump up to the $3-6k range to get a “pro” model that comes completely stripped of (apparent) electronics.

Okay, I just did a Google Search for "oven range" which led me to Best Buy's website. Literally the first one I found:


No wifi. No bluetooth. No touch screen. USD $860. It does have a basic digital display, for oven temperature, with well-defined buttons. USD $860.

Did you not want those buttons either?

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Unique-Prestige-24-in-2-3-cu-ft-... $980

Maybe your price range is too high.

My wife's CPAP machine has LTE and phones home her sleep patterns to her doctor and presumably insurance company. Whole thing makes me really uncomfortable.

If it's a ResMed Airsense 10, you can put it on airplane mode. I checked with an RF meter and it has zero emissions afterwards. Now, the data is within your control and not sent to ResMed and other unknown parties.

If your insurance company wants usage and compliance information delivered to your sleep doc, put in a SD card and hand it over the old fashioned way.

Once the machine is out of warranty (or you just want the radio gone) remove it using these instructions:


> full Battlestar Galactica

This is a truly marvellous turn of phrase.

I've watched the show (only once, for now) and I love it but didn't understand the reference :|

It refers to the human's cybersecurity technique of banning inter-computer communication. The ship Galactica survives the initial cylon attack because it's too old to have networked devices onboard.

More than that, the captain specifically insisted that it NOT be upgraded with networking, despite the benefits, because of the security risks.

So say we all!

I have a cpap machine that uses LTE (or some sort of mobile data). I had no idea that it would automatically upload my data until I logged in to their portal one day and saw a bunch of stats before realizing "Hey.. I never gave that thing my wifi information" and looked it up.

Maybe we should just ddos these endpoints, they don't deserve anything better.

Be careful, when you mess with corporate America you're basically going head on with momma bear US government.

Assuming the aren't well programmed, it might be preferable to spoof them with junk data.

Is anyone MITM-ing and publishing the data these devices are sending? It would be nice to reverse engineer and document their APIs. Somebody needs to be watching the watchers.

I’m worried by how much I like this idea

Interesting. Rather than restricting what is sent could one just spam them with garbage so they can't distinguish what's real from what's fake?

Would it note be relatively trivial for the manufacturer to just filter incoming requests by whitelist of registered ids of their appliances?

Not really - either you send the ids unencrypted and they're trivial to falsify, or you send them securely, in which case it takes a lot more power to decrypt each request for filtering than it does for the attacker to send each new request.

DDoS protection is surprisingly challenging - usually it's relegated to a CDN provider, but that would be more difficult when the actual consumers are the same people most likely to be hosting botnets.

>> I don't think I'm just being a Luddite. This really seems like a bad idea. We need some way to assure security and limit data collection.

Don't buy a TV. Buy a "monitor" and plug it into a device over which you have proper control. Use a computer as a media player, a computer with appropriate privacy safeguards. Even samsung would never dare place a LTE connection on a monitor.

We absolutely need consumer protection laws for this.

The problem is that capitalism doesn't permit companies to simply succeed by being profitable. They must grow too. So the people who run the business are ultimately forced to squeeze every conceivable revenue stream from their products. The March towards forced online IoT and printer ink cartridge obsolescence models for everything is inevitable.

Appliances used to last forever and you'd get a guy to come fix them. My dad gifted me a 40 year old jigsaw that works better than any new jigsaw I've used.

Infinite expansion with finite resources. What could go wrong?

"We'll have it figured out before we run out of resources" - every generation, forever

And even intelligent people respond to that problem with, well we've always managed to have unbridled growth before, as if there are no absolute physical limits in the World.

How does Capitalism force capitalism to grow? There's nothing wrong with a stable company that distributes it's profits via dividends.

How my devices configuration look (all their mac addresses banned on router level, they dont have access to internet):

- tv, not connected to network, using raspberry pi 4 for kodi, connecting outside trough squid proxy limiting domains it can connect to. Was never connected to internet

- roborock vacuum cleaner, rooted, software disabled, replaced by open source version

- android deviced moved to microg lineage, armored with xprivacy lua and netguard, by default on spoofing/blocking everything and disabled on case by case basis. If application demands private informations it doesnt have access to internet

- 100% self hosted, sftp for files, dns server, own mail server, squid proxy with custom scripts, blocking from domains to rewritting requests, customized searx, running on custom build freebsd

- browser on all devices, heavly armored firefox

- only linux and freebsd devices except android in phone (it is going to be replaced by linux/sailfish when released - cosmo communicator)

- each new device bought is evaluated before buy and returned after buying if it cant be rooted/blocked from internet.

- no device is bought with connectivity if not needed, following "no internet of shit principle"

There are lots of details around that, ask if interested.

Survailance capitalism? No thank you.

The post you're replying to suggests that an independent LTE connection will be bundled into every device, so that none of the interventions you've listed will work. Good luck maintaining your bubble.

Sorry, but this is the device I will not buy. The tv I have bought was a mistake, it is my last smarttv, next one will be a monitor.

Anyway, why would companies bother to install LTE module, when 99.999% of people will just plug the device to the internet? It would be hugely inefficient. This just wont happen. I have seen chips beeing replaced by another ones due to be 50 cents expensier (and hugely more capable) and the LTE claim would go for even higher costs and logistics (signing the contract with mobile provider in small country like mine? Yeah right.) for trivial number of additional coverage? You are joking, right? My bubble stands as it is. It is your ass on the line, while I will renovate the appartment in next few years and adding tin foil within insulation layer into walls (to kill the wifi disturbancens from neibours) is already planned. 534 euros of additional cost is not that much compared to 60k that it will cost in total.

And dont forget about GDPR.

When the value of the data they mine from you becomes worth more than the incremental cost, it will become ubiquitous and you won't have a choice.

Adding RF insulation in your walls might be effective, but I think you will come to regret not being able to get or make phone calls in your home.

Who makes phone calls anymore? Plus, you could either get a landline, VoIP phone, or soft client VoIP for your cell.

I’m curious if there is some kind of paint we can use to block transmission. Too bad lead is so bad for you.

Actually, "voice over WiFi" is a thing. Seems like it uses the SIM for auth, but transmits the voice data via IP (similar to VoLTE).

I think tin foil in the walls could do the trick, but I'd be wary of potential moisture build up. I'd stay with "just buy stuff that doesn't phone home".

What resources did you use to root and install open source software on your Roborock?

It is actually crazy. Their firmware update is as lame as it gets, they have an image (which you can mount on linux), encrypted with aes and password rockrobo.

I tend to behave like you do, but it's a lot of work.

>what happens if iot LTE connections get cheap enough that the choice is removed altogether.

Tinfoil or an ESD bag over the transmitter or MB should do the trick. It'll be the new version of putting a sticker over the camera on your laptop.

"It's now difficult to find high end washers and ovens without these features."

Don't buy high-end consumer units, buy industrial units instead. They won't have any fancy features like automatic program selection or whatever, but they will wash your clothes and cook your food for decades, and can stand up to uneven loads and abuse, and they can be repaired if they ever break.

I refuse to let any additional "smart" things into my life. I want buttons and manual controls, no internet connections.

I don't even want any program buttons on my microwave oven, I want exactly two knobs, one for power and one for time.

Something I was impressed with recently is LG and their opt in collection policies. I was able to not opt in to most of their advertising and data collection policies and only the features that required that data collection were disabled, everything else worked fine. Samsung isn't like this and I just keep my Samsung "Smart" TVs off the network. I have a Roku (just slightly better) that handles the smart part.

I thought LG got busted ignoring these preferences on TVs...

I know they didn't offer a way to turn off in-UI advertising.

> what happens if iot LTE connections get cheap enough that the choice is removed altogether

Seriously troubling if the only reason preventing TV manufacturers from making their devices send your data via LTE is the cost of moving the data to them. Soon you'll have to put your TV into a faraday cage or remove the LTE antenna or whatever if you appreciate any notion of privacy.

I think it's safe to say once we're at that stage the tv's simply won't work unless connected to the network.

My whole country has been blanketed in public WiFi access points as they were included in all but the most high end tiers of consumer broadband installations by all ISP's. Any device with WiFi can already get to the Internet regardless of your own network firewall settings using these.

Except for a TV, and I wanted a great plasma, I just do not buy new appliances.

Tons of used ones, many easy to service, parts available online for a song.

Have saved serious money over the years. Have no plans to change.

I hate all the extra, useless features. Just do not need any of this garbage.

For the TV, it never goes online. Whatever it does, stays home.

Just wrap all your appliances with tinfoil. Problem solved!

have you looked into commercial variants? you can get dumb display panels geared toward that use, I'm sure the same is true for fridges, dishwashers, ovens. Aesthetics may be an issue.

For now. Just wait for the manufacturers to realize they can add "as a Service" to those commercial display panels. Business customers will like it because opex > capex, the vendors will argue that they need the telemetry to provide a better service, and then you won't be able to buy them as individual anyway, because there will be contracts involved.

Just buy a projector. Those have none of the connectivity features TV advertize nowadays and size does matter for displays.

Surely people can just buy used dumb-TVs?

I have a much older LCD TV(admittedly Samsung, but it was a gift) from around 2011, no smart features, but it's still perfectly good and works with all my HDMI devices. If there are millions ditching their dumb-TVs for Telescreens, that must mean that there are plenty of dumb-TVs for sale on eBay and Craigslist.

But those eventually break and the supply dries up. Not all panels are equal, so good luck finding a decent 2019 era 4k HDR monitor in 2029 or 2034. If the LCD and control board don't give up, you'll be swapping LEDs, caps and FETs sooner or later. And that's assuming HDMI will not be superseded.

So, let's hope that free-market thing actually works and at some point a "dumb display" product will be available again.

That’s what I did, bought a dumb Samsung TV in 2016 off new egg.

Samsung always seem to be the worst, whether it is recording stuff, to getting on fire. Not too hard to avoid them.

> what happens if iot LTE connections get cheap enough

Hey, look what I found under your kitchen cabinet...


privacy legislation like the GDPR is a good start. In the US at least California seems on their way to come up with stronger privacy legislation and hopefully it'll spill over.

Faraday cage your house somehow. Stick to land-line and ethernet.

Wireless emissions are not the problem. No one really cares about you enough (no offense), to spy on your proximity. It's the devices in your home with outside connection. Through your ethernet.

You can firewall your internet connection. But what can you do when these devices start using their own embedded cell modems?

When you are no longer in control, you don't own the product. It's a redefinition of ownership and eventually things come to own you.

> high end washers

Consider Speed Queen. Best buy (pun intended) I've made in a while.

Stop with Samsung and LG - all they do is chip things.

I've thought about getting Speed Queens next time around. As it stands though, I have the cheapest XL washer/dryer Whirlpool makes and they've held up fantastic over 5 years of heavy use. The washer is loud and makes the lights flicker, but I think that's kinda par for the course for those.

I'm not sure what a high end samsung would offer over a low end whirlpool that makes it worth spending 3x more.

Edit: I feel even more strongly about that and refrigerators. I definitely 100% don't want an internet connected fridge that requires security updates lol.

They'll find some way to make internet required to use these devices.

> It's now difficult to find high end washers and ovens without these features.

Look for quality antique appliances. They also look better and likely are better for the environment than buying new.

Jammer is an option. Breaking the antenna too.

I wouldn't be surprised if the devices will be bricked if they can't phone home to prevent things like this and DIY mods.

Depending on how devious you're prepared to be (Perhaps to prove a point?) it may be possible to be more subtle than that and send them well-formed rubbish? (as in, by modifying the hardware - the reverse engineering probably wouldn't be too bad if you had access to high speed logic analyzers etc.)

Then again, the manufacturer may program them to recognise that by making the device phone home with some kind of authentication.

Or a tiny IMSI catcher that’ll just constantly report: « Network Unavailable: Natural Disaster ».

It’ll be fun to see which devices bricked themselves.

maybe HOAs can establish community rules and set up some sort of neighborhood firewall that blocks IOT data exfiltration

An HOA is the last sort of organization I'd trust to run a firewall for me. Those orgs are magnets for petty tyrants, bored stay-at-home control freaks who want to flex on the neighborhood. How many would decide to turn the internet off after 8pm "for the children" or something equally inane?

If my fridge is hardcoded to phone home at 2am, it works for me.

I kid.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact