Has Gotenna corporate killed Gotenna Mesh in its endless chase of profits over people? It’s now been almost 5 months since any updates to the Gotenna Mesh app on Android Play store. The USB software developers kit (SDK) is almost 4 months overdue. It’s been more than a year since Gotenna defaulted on their promises to build a critical backbone of hundreds of Gotenna Mesh Devices in Puerto Rico to connect the hundreds of thousands in the central mountainous regions hardest hit in the hurricanes.
While 6 months without an update may be reasonable in some instances, critical vulnerabilities were unveiled at DefCon 26 by @Recompiler which basically pwned Gotenna devices. He was able to leak location data from sophisticated developers that didn’t even have a Gotenna device on them – showing us where they liked to eat lunch in both San Francisco and Brooklyn. He was able to take advantage of encryption implementation flaws, rendering communications public. He was able to show a man in the middle and impersonation attacks. And there’s been no update.
More concerning, Gotenna has offered no updates or statements on the girl who almost died at Burning Man back in August after naively relying, to her detriment, on the Gotenna SOS Emergency broadcast / beacon mode. No statement has been made or any switch from Twilio to an sms backhaul provider that will allow Gotenna Plus Sms Relay (R) to text 911 services. Nothing has been done to address the problem that the five-click SOS mode may not have accurate GPS location. Nothing has been done to address backhaul to emergency services / 911 / 999 / GEOS. Nothing has been done to address the security vulnerabilities demonstrated at DefCon. And nothing has been done with respect to Puerto Rico.
In stark contrast, Gotenna has put all of their efforts into a wholly incompatible Gotenna-Pro model (which operates on 140 MHz vhf and 440 MHz uhf) which is wholly unable to respond, receive, or relay gotennaMesh emergency SOS messages (902-928MHz ISM band). In spite of the fact that it’s a software defined radio with modular antenna.
GotennaPro android app was updated in November. GotennaPRO usb SDK was released months ago to private operators? But no updates for Gotenna Mesh or release of SDK. GotennaPro employees FINALLY are in Puerto Rico range-testing with drones and helos to relay messsages from Orocovis to Bayamon to San Juan!?! While this is a very good sign, it’s somewhat disheartening that only now, a year after we did our own range tests and proof of concepts and started implementing a Gotenna Mesh network, that we are recreating the wheel but with a GotennaPro technology that our families, communities, and volunteers are not even legally allowed to use. Moreover, the Gotenna Pro takes up to FIVE TIMES as much power and TEN TIMES ($499) the expense of the Gotenna Mesh unit. When the towers fall again, our abuelas won’t be able to afford or keep these things powered. Gotenna Pro does nothing for our communities – instead, it’s a return to centralized infrastructure in the hands of the government alone. With millions in funding from the federal government, hundreds of thousands of Gotenna Mesh devices sold to consumers, and tens of thousands of dollars in public donations for the Puerto Rico Gotenna Mesh backup network, surely we can do better. Stakeholders deserve a public commitment to the Gotenna Mesh technology not a bait-and-switch scam selling us a 10x more expensive version that no one can use, that renders Gotenna Mesh the same as a BetaMax (and that can’t even receive calls for help from our communities).
If (being charitable) PR Reconnects, Javier Malave, PR Science and Trust, Starting Point, et al., built-up 20 some Gotenna Mesh relays around San Juan, some in Barranquitas, Toa Alta, Bayamon, and Naguabo, why would we now switch to Gotenna Pro which is 10x more expensive, requires 5x more power, and is wholly incompatible with this build-out already in progress? The mere fact that they are more profitable to Gotenna shouldn’t assuage our concerns but should enrage our passions! Where are the hundreds of Gotenna Mesh that were promised to Puerto Rico? They certainly aren’t on the imeshyou.com map over a year after funding was fully raised by the community. Where are the tens of thousands of dollars we donated?
A good start, but hardly the 300 Gotenna Mesh units promised to Puerto Rico