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Spectrum Kills Home Security Business, Refuses Refunds (gizmodo.com)
46 points by rahuldottech 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments

Makes you wonder if IOT will end up IOTA (Internet Of Things Abandoned) what with these surges in IOT devices being dropped and abandoned and yet, still connected to the internet and what I feel will happen, become ignored and forgotten.

I'm firmly of the remit that any IOT I get has to be open-source, but this truly rams that home. Though even with open source, the fear of binary blobs hiding under the FCC or other common excuse because it's radio related, just don't help.

Now, say Spectrum did the right thing and release the source for all this abandoned kit, any signing key for firmware so those inclined could give them a second life. Though for those who don't avail of that avenue (most won't as compiling source and the like not your average user comfort zone) and with abandoned devices, well. You start to see how messy and complicated such matter can play out. Let alone the aspect that if they release the source and some criminals abuse that to subvert abandoned devices, it opens up exposure to legal redress for Spectrum above and beyond the situation now.

But then, havn't mobile phone networks been able to lacklustre update devices they sold for years and gotten away with it!

Internet of Things devices require companies that offer value through longevity. That’s why you need to look at an IoT device that calls home as either a short term investment (cheap) or we if the company has a viable exit strategy to be bought by a larger org. I think new companies will only thrive where there is innovation possible. That rules out most eavesdropping devices (Amazon) and video doorbells are pretty much owned by the big boys.

What happens when IOT domains get gobbled up by nefarious actors instead of domain squatters? Instant botnet or surveillance network?

Certainly something we will see happen.

If that's a pun on iota as something insignificantly small it's a brilliant one and I hope it catches on.

Spectrum should have done a better job letting customers know, one month notice isn't reasonable.

It should be noted just for context, that they stopped selling this system in 2016 and that the "$900" customer referenced purchased theirs in 2015 since they've been using it for over five years. I'm not bringing it up to dismiss the valid criticism here, but it does reduce Spectrum's sketchiness a tad.

I think Spectrum's biggest mistake here was getting this bad PR when avoiding it and even getting some positive coverage was very cheap. They claim it only impacts a "small percentage of customers" and if that is true (which might be believable for a six+ year old system), why not just give them all a small payoff? Heck they could have turned it into essentially a Ring advert: "Spectrum customers get a FREE upgrade to Ring!" or something, then announced they were a Ring reseller.

But I guess when you have a borderline monopoly and customers have weak consumer protections you don't have to care about looking good.

Bad PR for Spectrum is likely nothing new.

This is why I'm weary of buying IoT devices that rely on a company's cloud for core functionality. Not that losing value even by losing the extras is something to scoff at but at least you keep the core.

I think that if you sell IoT hardware you should be legally required to support it or refund active users. That way companies will support it long enough to minimize the refund costs.

I think you are unbelievably naieve to think refund costs are all that are at stake here.

First they sell security systems to people for a big fat chunk of change.

Then they turn those security systems off, and then tell those same people to buy from their affiliates who are going to give them a great deal (and them a great commission).

Anyone with 2 brain cells to rub together knows this is illegal bait and switch and all sorts of legal trouble for spectrum; especially when you are selling things like fire alarms and burglar alarms, there's a whole bunch of regulations.

But, those same people seem to be dumb enough to not view the words "binding arbitration" as "my management wants to act like criminals and get away with it".

Then they cry about broken promises and being burned.

The way you fix the crying is with handcuffs. For executives. Drag em' infront of a jury and let them sort it out.

That way the bad people get label "Felon" and are not around in managemnt positions to do this BS anymore. Very simple.

If we're going to put executives in jail (and I agree we should) why won't we figure out how to get the creators of the opioid crisis in jail, body count ~500,000, the Boeing execs who have killed 300+ people, etc... until we figure out how to do that we're not going to be able to arrest junk IoT execs.

Besides the obvious "you get what you paid for" (i.e. cloud-based services ripping you off when they fall over), this seems to me to represent a unique opportunity for software vendors to take over the abandoned platform, and rejuvenate it with a non-cloud/locked-down firmware release.

Maybe there is an opportunity for a forward-thinking software group which strives for competence on these kinds of platforms, and is prepared to take over the abandoned customers? Sure seems like an opportunity to me ..

>Maybe there is an opportunity for a forward-thinking software group which strives for competence on these kinds of platforms, and is prepared to take over the abandoned customers?

Criminals tick all those boxes and love internet devices that have been neglected for some reason or another. Which has a worrying level of ironic that such `security` devices can turn to the dark side.

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