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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington, DC area

    Amazon Sidewalk - what are they thinking?!

    I'm not an Amazon home user (I just shop there), but their new "Sidewalk" service really worries me. Sharing your wifi bandwidth from your Echo or Ring devices with others as an opt-out rather than opt-in is wrong. Opening access points to your home network behind your firewall is worse.

    WaPost (probably paywalled): https://www.washingtonpost.com/techn...ewalk-network/
    "Sidewalk, which is built into Amazon devices dating back to 2018, raises more red flags than a marching band parade: Is it secure enough to be activated in so many homes? Are we helping Amazon build a vast network that can be used for more surveillance? And why didn’t Amazon ask us to opt-in before activating a capability lying dormant in our devices?"

    The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/22463257/am...how-to-opt-out

    And to answer my question: If they'd made it opt-in, no one would have played along - for good reason!

    -jk

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington, D.C.
    I don’t have any Amazon devices, so I’m in favor of this, so I can improve my Internet access using my neighbors’ broadband.! 😜

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Outside Philly
    Quote Originally Posted by MChambers View Post
    I don’t have any Amazon devices, so I’m in favor of this, so I can improve my Internet access using my neighbors’ broadband.! 😜
    Never get an itch behind your ear?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Santa Cruz CA
    Quote Originally Posted by MChambers View Post
    I don’t have any Amazon devices, so I’m in favor of this, so I can improve my Internet access using my neighbors’ broadband.! 😜
    I know it's sarcasm, but it really won't work that way unless hackers find a way to do it.

    What I believe it will be doing is having smart devices like lights and switches being able to piggy back on the neighbor's signal in case the signal from them is better than your own. This would especially be the case for stuff you have outdoors.

    That being said, I turned it off in my system last week.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by -jk View Post
    I'm not an Amazon home user (I just shop there), but their new "Sidewalk" service really worries me. Sharing your wifi bandwidth from your Echo or Ring devices with others as an opt-out rather than opt-in is wrong. Opening access points to your home network behind your firewall is worse.

    WaPost (probably paywalled): https://www.washingtonpost.com/techn...ewalk-network/
    "Sidewalk, which is built into Amazon devices dating back to 2018, raises more red flags than a marching band parade: Is it secure enough to be activated in so many homes? Are we helping Amazon build a vast network that can be used for more surveillance? And why didn’t Amazon ask us to opt-in before activating a capability lying dormant in our devices?"

    The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/22463257/am...how-to-opt-out

    And to answer my question: If they'd made it opt-in, no one would have played along - for good reason!

    -jk
    This should be interesting if person X has a neighbor Y who uses X's broadband to access CP on the dark web. Suppose neighbor Y also engages in MAC address spoofing, and/or other means to disguise their own involvement, so it looks like X is doing it. At the very least, person X is going to have to have a good atty who can dig into the technical matters to defend them from terrible accusations. I don't think the notion of "in America, you don't have to prove your innocence" will get you far enough in such a case.

    That dreadful situation aside, it seems like a terrible idea. You pay for your own bandwidth and some company marketing "smart" devices is going to opt you in to sharing what you've paid for from someone else? Can you imagine if someone could opt you into sharing your car with a neighbor just because you're not using it today? Or have a neighbor run a water hose from your spigot because they need to water their lawn? While these analogies aren't precise, they still convey the problem, IMO.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    Quote Originally Posted by -jk View Post
    I'm not an Amazon home user (I just shop there), but their new "Sidewalk" service really worries me. Sharing your wifi bandwidth from your Echo or Ring devices with others as an opt-out rather than opt-in is wrong. Opening access points to your home network behind your firewall is worse.

    WaPost (probably paywalled): https://www.washingtonpost.com/techn...ewalk-network/
    "Sidewalk, which is built into Amazon devices dating back to 2018, raises more red flags than a marching band parade: Is it secure enough to be activated in so many homes? Are we helping Amazon build a vast network that can be used for more surveillance? And why didn’t Amazon ask us to opt-in before activating a capability lying dormant in our devices?"

    The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/22463257/am...how-to-opt-out

    And to answer my question: If they'd made it opt-in, no one would have played along - for good reason!

    -jk
    For us, a preposterously bad idea...just watched an NBC reporter show how one opts out, it only takes about eight clicks...can't imagine how many people will be oblivious about the implications.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Durham, NC
    I have ZERO smart devices at home and do not plan to add any. This is insane.

  8. #8
    It’s as if no one at Amazon/Google/etc has watched the Terminator movies.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada (Ohio born and raised)
    Quote Originally Posted by cspan37421 View Post
    This should be interesting if person X has a neighbor Y who uses X's broadband to access CP on the dark web. Suppose neighbor Y also engages in MAC address spoofing, and/or other means to disguise their own involvement, so it looks like X is doing it. At the very least, person X is going to have to have a good atty who can dig into the technical matters to defend them from terrible accusations. I don't think the notion of "in America, you don't have to prove your innocence" will get you far enough in such a case.

    That dreadful situation aside, it seems like a terrible idea. You pay for your own bandwidth and some company marketing "smart" devices is going to opt you in to sharing what you've paid for from someone else? Can you imagine if someone could opt you into sharing your car with a neighbor just because you're not using it today? Or have a neighbor run a water hose from your spigot because they need to water their lawn? While these analogies aren't precise, they still convey the problem, IMO.
    It’s a bluetooth connection capped at 80 kbps and a total of 500 mb a month. The neighbor doing this would need to basically go full hack mode to do any damage. Local neighbors couldn’t pull much of anything off, IMO.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Asheville, NC

    Question

    If one has multiple devices, Do you know if you have to turn it off for every device, or can you turn it off for your account (and therefore all your devices at once)?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    Quote Originally Posted by aimo View Post
    I have ZERO smart devices at home and do not plan to add any. This is insane.
    yes, I've often thought how convenient it would be to have a kid in Ukraine turn off my heat while I'm away on vacation in the winter.

  12. #12
    I live about 200 feet back from the street and about 100 feet from each of my two closest neighbors. Even if I did have Amazon devices in my house (and I don't), Amazon can kiss my *!@#$, there ain't no one walking on any sidewalks* mooching off my broadband.

    * assuming my hood had sidewalks, which we don't.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by PSurprise View Post
    Do you know if you have to turn it off for every device, or can you turn it off for your account (and therefore all your devices at once)?
    When I turned it off last week, it appeared that it was an account level setting. I have two Echo Dots in my house. I use them mainly to listen to satellite radio and access a few apps(with limited functionality) such as Headspace.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    St. Louis
    Quote Originally Posted by cspan37421 View Post
    This should be interesting if person X has a neighbor Y who uses X's broadband to access CP on the dark web. Suppose neighbor Y also engages in MAC address spoofing, and/or other means to disguise their own involvement, so it looks like X is doing it. At the very least, person X is going to have to have a good atty who can dig into the technical matters to defend them from terrible accusations. I don't think the notion of "in America, you don't have to prove your innocence" will get you far enough in such a case.

    That dreadful situation aside, it seems like a terrible idea. You pay for your own bandwidth and some company marketing "smart" devices is going to opt you in to sharing what you've paid for from someone else? Can you imagine if someone could opt you into sharing your car with a neighbor just because you're not using it today? Or have a neighbor run a water hose from your spigot because they need to water their lawn? While these analogies aren't precise, they still convey the problem, IMO.
    When my next door neighbor turns on the ceiling fan in her living room, mine comes on too.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    Quote Originally Posted by rasputin View Post
    When my next door neighbor turns on the ceiling fan in her living room, mine comes on too.
    Reminds me of a guy I once knew who drove around with some kind of universal garage door opener and loved (for a reason I couldn't discern) opening as many as he could. Also heard of someone in a development (houses very close to each other) changing his neighbor's TV channel on occasion.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North of Durham
    I live in an apartment building in Manhattan so can theoretically pick up a lot of people's wifi signals. I was looking at the list one day and saw one with a name referencing Bayern Munich (I think it was locked) and quickly realized it belonged to my German friend three floors up. We otherwise have not gotten any signals crossed. I currently face a fairly quiet courtyard but without attempting to be nosy, it is amazing the things I have seen looking out the windows of my past apartments and the apartments of friends. Which is why we keep our blinds down most of the time.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyNotCrazie View Post
    I live in an apartment building in Manhattan so can theoretically pick up a lot of people's wifi signals. I was looking at the list one day and saw one with a name referencing Bayern Munich (I think it was locked) and quickly realized it belonged to my German friend three floors up. We otherwise have not gotten any signals crossed. I currently face a fairly quiet courtyard but without attempting to be nosy, it is amazing the things I have seen looking out the windows of my past apartments and the apartments of friends. Which is why we keep our blinds down most of the time.
    There was an article a few decades ago in something like Esquire, profiling guys who kept telescopes in their apartments in Manhattan and had a handle on the habits of MANY of the people around them. All the habits. Blinds are a good idea.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Santa Cruz CA
    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyNotCrazie View Post
    I live in an apartment building in Manhattan so can theoretically pick up a lot of people's wifi signals. I was looking at the list one day and saw one with a name referencing Bayern Munich (I think it was locked) and quickly realized it belonged to my German friend three floors up. We otherwise have not gotten any signals crossed. I currently face a fairly quiet courtyard but without attempting to be nosy, it is amazing the things I have seen looking out the windows of my past apartments and the apartments of friends. Which is why we keep our blinds down most of the time.
    My wifi is named "FBI Surveillance Van"

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada (Ohio born and raised)
    Quote Originally Posted by BigWayne View Post
    My wifi is named "FBI Surveillance Van"
    Pretty fly for a wifi?

  20. #20
    I keep reading this as "Anakin Skywalker - what are they thinking" which sums up my thoughts regarding episodes 1, 2, and 3.

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