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Old 06-02-2021, 11:07 PM   #1
tubemonkey
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Amazon Sidewalk to go Live on 08 Jun

What is Amazon Sidewalk, and how to opt out

I opted out.

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Amazon is launching its Wi-Fi sharing system, called Sidewalk, nationwide in the U.S. on June 8. That means if you own a Ring doorbell or Amazon Echo the company will share a small portion of your internet bandwidth with other devices nearby. It’s aimed at making sure Amazon’s devices are able to be online even if, say, your broadband goes down as well as allowing access to devices outside of the normal range of your Wi-Fi.

Amazon’s selling this as a way to ensure that smart home devices can be reached more easily as well as allowing Amazon to offer certain customer support for those devices even when they’ve dropped off your network.

Not sure how Sidewalk can impact your gear? Here’s our explainer on what Amazon Sidewalk is, what devices it works with, and how to opt out.
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Can I opt out of Amazon Sidewalk?

As mentioned above, Sidewalk is essentially an open network. That means that any device that is Sidewalk-enabled can connect to your Sidewalk bridge. However, those devices don’t have unfettered access to your Wi-Fi network — no one’s going to be watching Netflix using your Wi-Fi — nor can you see what devices are connected to your Sidewalk bridge. Additionally, any information that’s sent via Sidewalk Bridges is encrypted.

However, if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of others using your network, you can opt to turn off Sidewalk. You can’t selectively turn off Sidewalk for specific devices; rather, you can only activate or deactivate it for all Echo and Ring devices linked to your account.
Amazon Sidewalk FAQ
.

Last edited by tubemonkey; 06-03-2021 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 06-02-2021, 11:14 PM   #2
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Amazon devices will soon automatically share your Internet with neighbors

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Amazon's experimental wireless mesh networking turns users into guinea pigs.
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Next, consider the wealth of intimate details Amazon devices are privy to. They see who knocks on our doors, and in some homes they peer into our living rooms. They hear the conversations we’re having with friends and family. They control locks and other security systems in our home.

Extending the reach of all this encrypted data to the sidewalk and living rooms of neighbors requires a level of confidence that’s not warranted for a technology that has never seen widespread testing.

Last, let’s not forget who’s providing this new way for everyone to share and share alike. As independent privacy researcher Ashkan Soltani puts it: “In addition to capturing everyone’s shopping habits (from amazon.com) and their internet activity (as AWS is one of the most dominant web hosting services)... now they are also effectively becoming a global ISP with a flick of a switch, all without even having to lay a single foot of fiber.”

Amazon’s decision to make Sidewalk an opt-out service rather than an opt-in one is also telling. The company knows the only chance of the service gaining critical mass is to turn it on by default, so that’s what it’s doing. Fortunately, turning Sidewalk off is relatively painless. It involves:

1. Opening the Alexa app
2. Opening More and selecting Settings
3. Selecting Account Settings
4. Selecting Amazon Sidewalk
5. Turning Amazon Sidewalk Off
Amazon Sidewalk FAQ
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Last edited by tubemonkey; 06-03-2021 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 06-03-2021, 05:29 AM   #3
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I don't have a ring door bell or amazon echo device, thank goodness.
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Old 06-03-2021, 06:32 AM   #4
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Comcast/Xfinity do the same thing for their WiFi hotspots. I had this turned off for myself and my parents.
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Old 06-03-2021, 07:11 AM   #5
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Thank you, I just turned it off.
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Old 06-03-2021, 07:40 AM   #6
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In many countries this would be illegal unless you had to opt in. Virgin Media (Liberty Global and really UPC, they rent the name from Branson) was prosecuted for sharing users WiFi to other Virgin customers in Ireland. Eircom was doing it with their routers and the setting was only on Eircom's website, not the Router/Modem.

It's a licence to thieves, stalkers and perverts.

It's arrogant and immoral behaviour.
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Old 06-03-2021, 07:41 AM   #7
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You are actually best to avoid Amazon Ring and Google Nest entirely.
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Old 06-03-2021, 08:08 AM   #8
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Mole hill, meet Mountain.
  • For neighbors to "use my internet" they would need to own Ring and/or Echo devices.
  • No one owns Ring/Echo devices without already having their own internet access.
  • If my neighbors' internet is down, my internet is down.

I suppose I might need to worry about hordes of evil-doers armed with battery-powered Echos driving up and down my street wardriving me so they can turn their lights off back home, though.

My only possible beef would be bandwidth. But at approximately 80Kbps (and a monthly cap of 500Mb), I have no concerns there. If it helps someone find their tile enabled keys or pets quicker, I'll play.

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Old 06-03-2021, 08:15 AM   #9
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No, it can be used to profile you for stalking or burglary. This isn't an opinion. Security experts recommend avoiding Nest or Ring.

It's not merely about someone using your internet.

Quote:
If my neighbors' internet is down, my internet is down.
That is only mostly true, and if it was true, why add such and insecure feature? In some places there may be two to four different KINDS of internet, though not all may be true broadband.

Last edited by Quoth; 06-03-2021 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 06-03-2021, 08:29 AM   #10
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No, it can be used to profile you for stalking or burglary. This isn't an opinion. Security experts recommend avoiding Nest or Ring.
I'm not talking about the inherent risk of using Nest or Ring devices themselves. That's another topic that is unaffected by Sidewalk being in play. I'm talking about Sidewalk itself. Users don't know whose Sidewalk bridge they're connected to. While Sidewalk itself is enabled by default, the "Community Finding" feature of it is entirely opt-in. And even then, it only gives an approximation of the location of the Sidewalk Bridge. Like the nearest intersection. Plus there's no information about the owner of the Sidewalk bridge that is exposed to the user.

I'm fine with people not wanting to share any of their internet bandwidth with every Tom, Dick and Harriet. But there's no reason to invent dangers that don't exist. Even in a remote wilderness with one house in the middle of 100 empty square miles, the only thing someone could discover about the homeowner through Sidewalk is that the home has an internet connection (when their device suddenly finds an internet connection in the wilderness). Something they could have easily discovered without Sidewalk.

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Old 06-03-2021, 09:03 AM   #11
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It sounds similar to Apple’s Find My Network:

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The Find My network is a crowdsourced network of hundreds of millions of Apple devices that use Bluetooth wireless technology to detect missing devices or items nearby, and report their approximate location back to the owner. The entire process is end-to-end encrypted and anonymous, so no one else, not even Apple or the third-party manufacturer, can view a device’s location or information.
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Old 06-03-2021, 09:29 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
[*]If my neighbors' internet is down, my internet is down..
Not always true. A couple of months ago, more than 3000 addresses in my city lost internet, mine included. The apartment on the other side of my bedroom wall did not (same fiber, different isp), so I could have used their wifi in this scenario
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Old 06-03-2021, 09:47 AM   #13
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Not always true. A couple of months ago, more than 3000 addresses in my city lost internet, mine included. The apartment on the other side of my bedroom wall did not (same fiber, different isp), so I could have used their wifi in this scenario
Sure. But you wouldn't know whose wifi you were using. Nor would you know anything about their network, nor be able to glean any of their personal information from the Sidewalk Bridge. And even then, "Using their WiFi" is a bit misleading. It's not as if you'd be able to fire up a movie on Neflix with your phone or download porn on their dime. All you'd be able to do is turn your smart devices on and off and potentially track your tile-enabled devices.

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Old 06-03-2021, 09:48 AM   #14
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It sounds similar to Apple’s Find My Network:
Very similar.
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Old 06-03-2021, 02:35 PM   #15
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I don't have a ring door bell or amazon echo device, thank goodness.
No spy device in my house either.
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