HP's Printer Rental: A Dystopian Nightmare

Sun, 3 Mar 2024

In a move that seems ripped straight from a science fiction dystopia, HP has announced a new printer rental that lets you rent a printer for a monthly fee. The most expensive plan costs $35.99 monthly and includes 700 printed pages.

Automatically getting ink and toner delivered to your door when your printer runs low might seem convenient. However, a closer look reveals troubling problems.

The printer must maintain a constant Internet connection to HP so that the ink levels and how many pages you print can be monitored. Still, HP also says they will monitor the types of documents you print, the software you print from, and 'any other metrics' that HP deems relevant. Who knows what more things they might decide to monitor in the future? This is a blatant invasion of privacy, and on top of it, HP says it may share data with advertising partners, too. All for the "convenience" of not needing to remember to order ink? You're also locked in for a minimum two-year contract.

Additionally, HP says they may interrupt your service if the printer doesn't maintain that constant connection. What happens if your Internet goes down? Will you be unable to print anything, even if you have ink cartridges in your printer?

HP has been criticized before for its practices. The company has been accused of designing printers to refuse third-party ink cartridges and charging exorbitant prices for ink. Still, this new printer rental is even more egregious. It's a dangerous precedent that gives HP too much control over its customers and their data.