How to opt out of Amazon Sidewalk internet sharing, and what you need to know



  • Reply 21 of 22
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,103member
    It seems so far that eero is not involved in Sidewalk, but that might be a good thing for AI to look into...
  • Reply 22 of 22
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,683member
    sdw2001 said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    dewme said:
    Interesting to see this here today because I got an email from Amazon about this earlier. 

    Before everyone gets their skivvies is a twist, this is very likely an Amazon precursor to what Apple will do with AirTags. Amazon Sidewalk is all about providing a very low cost, low bandwidth, highly distributed, mesh network (using BTLE and 900 MHz) for locating and discovering identification tags and exchanging a few bits of data with simple sensors . It uses a small slice of each participants' WiFi bandwidth (1/40th with a hard monthly cap) as a backhaul to bridge sensor/tag data up to the cloud through your WAN connection. By meshing together all of the participants' data feeds they can achieve area wide coverage, i.e., several square miles.

    There's nothing inherently nefarious about what Amazon is doing, and if you don't like it, don't use it. When Apple rolls out their wide area coverage for AirTags you'll be able to decide whether you trust Apple more than you trust Amazon, and sign up with Apple to help facilitate the same sort of service. Or not. Nobody has to do anything they are not comfortable doing. Until we have some sort of third-party or governmental infrastructure in place to support these kinds of services, companies like Amazon, Apple, and Amazon (and others) will try to utilize whatever connectivity opportunities are available to them. Amazon Sidewalk is just the first of the opportunists to hot the street, or should I say, the sidewalk.
    Except that people have to opt out rather than opt in. 

    I think that's the biggest point of contention.  This feature is fine if its transparent and opt-in.  When I buy Apple AirTags, for example, I know what I'm signing up for.  But if I buy a Ring product, I don't think I'd consider that a feature that uses my WAN to backhaul mesh data from others (even if a small amount) would be on by default.  And I've been into consumer-level tech for decades.  Imagine the lack of transparency for Joey and Jenny 6-Pack, who own a Ring and an Alexa.  
    As predicted, Amazon is getting absolutely skewered about Sidewalk because of the opt-out requirement. All of the local TV news stations are running PSAs with instructions about disabling the feature. Not the kind of a big splash launch Amazon wanted.

    The concept behind Sidewalk is spot-on from a system level connectivity high-availability standpoint. High availability systems typically have an out of band management (OOBM) channel of some sort. The OOBM channel provides a way to tolerate failures in the primary communication channel, i.e., how do I communicate with a system when the communication channel that I need to communicate with the system is broken (or unavailable)? Yes, redundancy is one layer of defense, but redundancy is also vulnerable to common-mode failures. OOBM mitigates this latter concern. Intel’s vPro is an example of a commercial OOBM system.

    Some of what Amazon is proposing for Sidewalk is OOBM, but not all. Unfortunately, this is another example of where well intentioned engineers failed to recognize the perception of what they were unleashing on non-engineering people, i.e., their huge customer base. They also failed to adequately communicate to ordinary folk what the benefits and risks were. (The other recent example of this kind of disconnect was Apple’s battery failure related throttling - which didn’t turn out well for Apple.) 
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