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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 9
Amazon is rolling out its Amazon Sidewalk system to customers in the U.S., and by default, you are opted in to its bandwidth sharing. Here's what you should know, and how to opt out of sharing your internet connection with your neighbors.

Credit: Amazon
Credit: Amazon


First announced in September 2019, Sidewalk is a new idea and long-term effort for extending the smart home to entire smart neighborhoods through the use of various local networking options.

As of Nov. 24, Amazon began sending off emails to Echo device owners letting them know that an update with Amazon Sidewalk will soon be rolling out. Though the system will take time to build out, the first steps are happening now.

With that in mind, here are some of the important points that users should know about Amazon Sidewalk.

What is Amazon Sidewalk?

Amazon Sidewalk is basically a new type of wireless network that makes smart home capabilities much longer-ranged. A Sidewalk Bridge connects to your Wi-Fi network, and essentially extends the connectivity range beyond what your router can output. In some cases, Amazon says this range could be half a mile.

It works by using various communication protocols, such as 900MHz radio signals and Bluetooth Low-Energy, for inter-device communications. The system will intelligently switch between these protocols depending on the range and power needed.

These Sidewalk networks work a bit differently than your home Wi-Fi, however. The bandwidth in a Sidewalk network is open for not just your own devices, but your neighbors', too. It's a bit like a local mesh network, but across a neighborhood.

Most Amazon device owners already have a Sidewalk Bridge in their homes. Recent Echo and Ring devices will soon receive over-the-air updates that will allow them work as bridges.

Benefits of Amazon Sidewalk

As mentioned earlier, one of the first and primary goals of Amazon Sidewalk is to extend the range of your smart home gadgets. What that looks like in practical terms could differ depending on your smart home setup.

A Sidewalk network could, as an example, ensure that outdoor security cameras or lights have a working connection even if they're far from your Wi-Fi router. It could also mean faster connectivity if a device connects to a nearby Sidewalk Bridge, instead of attempting to connect to a router farther away.

If you happen to drop a Tile device while walking around the neighborhood, it could still be within range of the local Sidewalk network -- and it'll be able to connect to the appropriate servers using a neighbor's Sidewalk bandwidth.

Sidewalk will also make the onboarding of devices much quicker and simpler. And Amazon envisions other uses too, such as a pet safety service called Amazon Fetch that alerts users if their pet wanders outside of a preset perimeter.

Are there any downsides to Amazon Sidewalk?

For one, Sidewalk isn't a replacement for a home Wi-Fi network. The bandwidth available on a Sidewalk network is pretty small -- Amazon says the maximum bandwidth is just 80Kbps, with a maximum cap at 500MB. As such, it's only really useful for low-power devices like smart locks, security sensors, and Tile trackers.

There are, of course, security and privacy concerns, too. If your dog has a Sidewalk-connected tag on its collar, it means that you may be sending Amazon the location, duration, and frequency of your every dog walks. Amazon does have a white paper that explains some of its Sidewalk-related security policies.

Of course, there's also the question of it being a shared network. Although Amazon says it will encrypt all traffic sent through a Sidewalk network, users won't know who is on a specific network or how much traffic their neighbor might be sending over it.

All in all, users will only be able to exercise marginal control over their local Sidewalk networks. There isn't currently a way for users to figure out which Sidewalk Bridge their compatible devices are connected to.

Can I opt out of Sidewalk?

The downsides and implications of Amazon Sidewalk wouldn't be as pressing if it weren't enabled by default. The system is opt-out instead of opt-in.

Once Amazon actually enables Sidewalk, users will see an information splash screen that explains what it is and what it does. There, they'll have the option to disable it -- it'll be turned on by default.

Users will also be able to disable the local networking system through the Amazon Alexa app. The option is located in Settings > Account Settings > Amazon Sidewalk.

If users do disable Sidewalk, their devices won't be able to connect to their local neighborhood networks. On the flip side, neighbors won't be able to use their Sidewalk bandwidth, either.

Amazon will start opting users to the Sidewalk program on June 1, 2021. Users will need to opt out
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    GG1GG1 Posts: 445member
    Basically a glorified mesh network (across households) for Amazon devices (Echo, Ring). The NSA must be all lathered up...
    JaiOh81SpamSandwichwatto_cobrawilliamlondonjahblade
  • Reply 2 of 22
    Another way for Amazon to track and identify you. Groovy. 
    GG1watto_cobrawilliamlondonjahblade
  • Reply 3 of 22
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,224member
    Funny how as the world gets 'smarter' it's also getting so much stupider.  Fuck off Bezos.
    GG1flydogwatto_cobrarob55jahbladesdw2001
  • Reply 4 of 22
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,694member
    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.
    edited November 2020 Graeme000SpamSandwichgatorguy
  • Reply 5 of 22
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,622member
    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.
    All very true. The only thing I’d quibble with is that everything Amazon does is nefarious. 
    JaiOh81GG1watto_cobrarob55williamlondonjahbladebaconstang
  • Reply 6 of 22
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,823member
    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. 

    watto_cobraronnmwhitewilliamlondonjahblademuthuk_vanalingamStrangeDaysbaconstang
  • Reply 7 of 22
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,824member
    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. 

    That's the biggie for me in these cases. 

    Any changes in standard operational behaviour should always be communicated clearly to the user and made 'opt in'.

    I cancelled my Quest 2 plans for a similar reason. No way to opt out of the 'verified' Facebook account requirement even if you are a current Occulus user. 
    edited November 2020 ronnjahblademuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 8 of 22
    flydogflydog Posts: 968member
    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.
    From a privacy standpoint, Amazon has proven time and time again that it can't be trusted with personal information.  That in itself makes this scheme "inherently nefarious."

    There is no logical connection between this and AirTags aside from the fact that both rely on radio waves.  But that's like saying AirTags is like ham radio.
    bonobobwatto_cobraronnwilliamlondonjahbladebaconstang
  • Reply 9 of 22
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,694member
    flydog 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.
    From a privacy standpoint, Amazon has proven time and time again that it can't be trusted with personal information.  That in itself makes this scheme "inherently nefarious."

    There is no logical connection between this and AirTags aside from the fact that both rely on radio waves.  But that's like saying AirTags is like ham radio.
    Let's wait and see what happens with AirTags. If they are going to provide location services outside of the immediate vicinity of your device's Bluetooth range and your home's WiFi connection - how do you suppose they are going to do this over a wide area, as in many square miles? They will require some sort of opportunistic reuse of existing infrastructure, e.g., other people's WiFi and/or cellular phone connections that are already present in the coverage area. Ham radio? Actually, I prefer corned beef radio, served on rye with lots of dots and dashes.
  • Reply 10 of 22
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,432member
    dewme said:
    flydog 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.
    From a privacy standpoint, Amazon has proven time and time again that it can't be trusted with personal information.  That in itself makes this scheme "inherently nefarious."

    There is no logical connection between this and AirTags aside from the fact that both rely on radio waves.  But that's like saying AirTags is like ham radio.
    Let's wait and see what happens with AirTags. If they are going to provide location services outside of the immediate vicinity of your device's Bluetooth range and your home's WiFi connection - how do you suppose they are going to do this over a wide area, as in many square miles? They will require some sort of opportunistic reuse of existing infrastructure, e.g., other people's WiFi and/or cellular phone connections that are already present in the coverage area. Ham radio? Actually, I prefer corned beef radio, served on rye with lots of dots and dashes.

    We already know how Apple’s “Find My” network is going to work. They discussed it at WWDC19. In fact they went into great detail of it works and how safe and secure it is.

    Currently it works for Apple devices (Macs, iPads, iPhones, iPod touch, watch, AirPods), but there is an API that will allow 3rd parties to make use of the network.
    edited November 2020 watto_cobrajahbladeStrangeDays
  • Reply 11 of 22
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,694member
    mjtomlin said:
    dewme said:
    flydog 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.
    From a privacy standpoint, Amazon has proven time and time again that it can't be trusted with personal information.  That in itself makes this scheme "inherently nefarious."

    There is no logical connection between this and AirTags aside from the fact that both rely on radio waves.  But that's like saying AirTags is like ham radio.
    Let's wait and see what happens with AirTags. If they are going to provide location services outside of the immediate vicinity of your device's Bluetooth range and your home's WiFi connection - how do you suppose they are going to do this over a wide area, as in many square miles? They will require some sort of opportunistic reuse of existing infrastructure, e.g., other people's WiFi and/or cellular phone connections that are already present in the coverage area. Ham radio? Actually, I prefer corned beef radio, served on rye with lots of dots and dashes.

    We already know how Apple’s “Find My” network is going to work. They discussed it at WWDC19. In fact they went into great detail of it works and how safe and secure it is.

    Currently it works for Apple devices (Macs, iPads, iPhones, iPod touch, watch, AirPods), but there is an API that will allow 3rd parties to make use of the network.
    ... which is exactly as I have described, with Apple consuming resources on other people's devices to detect your tags across a wide area. In Apple's case they are opportunistically using the Bluetooth on other people's devices to detect tags, in addition to using the device's WAN connections as a backhaul to feed tag information into the cloud.

    Apple does have a big advantage in coverage here because they are already "inside the firewall" so to speak on all Apple devices so they have more exacting information available to them, and there are a hell of a lot more Apple devices distributed across a much wider swath of the country than there are WiFi and Amazon devices to form the mesh that Amazon needs. I doubt Apple will ever allow Amazon to directly access the Bluetooth connection in iPhones/iPads for tab detection, but it they could, Amazon's solution would equal Apple's in terms of coverage.

    The crowdsourcing model is the same and I would expect Apple will also provide a means to opt-in or opt-out of this service because they are consuming a resource on your phone to make this work for other people. These are resources that you own and pay for. 

    Update: Yes, from the spec: "Participation in the Find My network is a user choice that can be reviewed or changed anytime in Settings." So you can opt-in or opt-out. I don't know what the default setting is. 

    Everyone talks about how "safe and secure" their networks are. After every breach they even remind us about how safety and security is their top priority.  
    edited November 2020
  • Reply 12 of 22
    DAalseth 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.
    All very true. The only thing I’d quibble with is that everything Amazon does is nefarious. 
    All people are self-interested. Since people run companies, their goals are also self-interested. Smart people (like Jeff Bezos) know about “enlightened self-interest” and serve others to benefit both sides of voluntary transactions. I’m not saying Bezos or Amazon should be implicitly trusted. No one should be.
    edited November 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 22
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,432member
    dewme said:
    mjtomlin said:
    dewme said:
    flydog 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.
    From a privacy standpoint, Amazon has proven time and time again that it can't be trusted with personal information.  That in itself makes this scheme "inherently nefarious."

    There is no logical connection between this and AirTags aside from the fact that both rely on radio waves.  But that's like saying AirTags is like ham radio.
    Let's wait and see what happens with AirTags. If they are going to provide location services outside of the immediate vicinity of your device's Bluetooth range and your home's WiFi connection - how do you suppose they are going to do this over a wide area, as in many square miles? They will require some sort of opportunistic reuse of existing infrastructure, e.g., other people's WiFi and/or cellular phone connections that are already present in the coverage area. Ham radio? Actually, I prefer corned beef radio, served on rye with lots of dots and dashes.

    We already know how Apple’s “Find My” network is going to work. They discussed it at WWDC19. In fact they went into great detail of it works and how safe and secure it is.

    Currently it works for Apple devices (Macs, iPads, iPhones, iPod touch, watch, AirPods), but there is an API that will allow 3rd parties to make use of the network.
    ... which is exactly as I have described, with Apple consuming resources on other people's devices to detect your tags across a wide area. In Apple's case they are opportunistically using the Bluetooth on other people's devices to detect tags, in addition to using the device's WAN connections as a backhaul to feed tag information into the cloud.

    No extra resources are consumed. As long as Bluetooth is on and active, it is constantly picking up signals and listening for "beacons" and other Bluetooth devices. And WAN data is piggybacked on intermittent connections to Apple's servers that are already happening in the background.

    The total amount of data transmitted is measured in bytes; Bluetooth ID of the lost device and geolocation data from the location device.

    I doubt Apple will ever allow Amazon to directly access the Bluetooth connection in iPhones/iPads for tab detection

    Again, Apple offers API's so that 3rd party developers can use the "Find My" network. So if Amazon wanted to use it, they could, as long as it doesn't step outside of what Apple deems as an appropriate use.
    tmaywatto_cobraronnRayz2016
  • Reply 14 of 22
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,622member
    DAalseth 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.
    All very true. The only thing I’d quibble with is that everything Amazon does is nefarious. 
    All people are self-interested. Since people run companies, their goals are also self-interested. Smart people (like Jeff Bezos) know about “enlightened self-interest” and serve others to benefit both sides of voluntary transactions. I’m not saying Bezos or Amazon should be implicitly trusted. No one should be.
    Once in a while I pick up a pen at the bank. That doesn’t mean I would rob the bank. Things aren’t black and white, so while you are right there is a degree of self interest in everyone, some are worse than others. Amazon is one of the nastiest, most abusive, least trustworthy companies out there. Bizos made his billions by abusing his employees, the markets, the environment, and even his customers. Amazon is in fact one of the most nefarious companies in existence. And for the record, no I do not do business with them if it can be helped. 
    watto_cobraronnbaconstang
  • Reply 15 of 22
    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. 

    My thought exactly - control is the issue here!
    watto_cobraronnjahblade
  • Reply 16 of 22
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,694member
    mjtomlin said:
    dewme said:
    mjtomlin said:
    dewme said:
    flydog 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.
    From a privacy standpoint, Amazon has proven time and time again that it can't be trusted with personal information.  That in itself makes this scheme "inherently nefarious."

    There is no logical connection between this and AirTags aside from the fact that both rely on radio waves.  But that's like saying AirTags is like ham radio.
    Let's wait and see what happens with AirTags. If they are going to provide location services outside of the immediate vicinity of your device's Bluetooth range and your home's WiFi connection - how do you suppose they are going to do this over a wide area, as in many square miles? They will require some sort of opportunistic reuse of existing infrastructure, e.g., other people's WiFi and/or cellular phone connections that are already present in the coverage area. Ham radio? Actually, I prefer corned beef radio, served on rye with lots of dots and dashes.

    We already know how Apple’s “Find My” network is going to work. They discussed it at WWDC19. In fact they went into great detail of it works and how safe and secure it is.

    Currently it works for Apple devices (Macs, iPads, iPhones, iPod touch, watch, AirPods), but there is an API that will allow 3rd parties to make use of the network.
    ... which is exactly as I have described, with Apple consuming resources on other people's devices to detect your tags across a wide area. In Apple's case they are opportunistically using the Bluetooth on other people's devices to detect tags, in addition to using the device's WAN connections as a backhaul to feed tag information into the cloud.

    No extra resources are consumed. As long as Bluetooth is on and active, it is constantly picking up signals and listening for "beacons" and other Bluetooth devices. And WAN data is piggybacked on intermittent connections to Apple's servers that are already happening in the background.

    The total amount of data transmitted is measured in bytes; Bluetooth ID of the lost device and geolocation data from the location device.

    I doubt Apple will ever allow Amazon to directly access the Bluetooth connection in iPhones/iPads for tab detection

    Again, Apple offers API's so that 3rd party developers can use the "Find My" network. So if Amazon wanted to use it, they could, as long as it doesn't step outside of what Apple deems as an appropriate use.
    Thanks for the additional information. I can live with a few bytes of data being pushed through my device's WAN connection. I do like Apple's "unwanted tracking detection" which I have not seen explicitly identified in Amazon's spec.

    From the accessory spec it looks like third parties who participate in the "Find My" network have to be "totally in" with Apple's specification, i.e., enrolled in the MFi Program. There is actually a poison pill that keeps Amazon (and others like Tile) from using Apple's "Find My" network as a convenience or as a way to augment their own version of a tracking/finder program. The general requirement stated as  "It must not operate simultaneously on the Find My network and other finder network ..." will definitely exclude Amazon from using the Find My network to augment its Sidewalk service.   

    My comments about Amazon Sidewalk and Apple Find My were primarily in response to people's concerns around privacy and tracking. Both of these networks have very similar goals and take advantage of the infrastructures that they are each able to tap into. In the cases that I've investigated, concerns around things like location detection, location tracking and logging, and the security of personally identifiable information, all of the providers are saying exactly the same things. It's not really the mechanisms that differentiate one provider from another because they are all facing a similar set of technical challenges. It simply comes down to "Who do you trust?" I happen to take a provider-agnostic view of this and say that I basically trust all of them about the same. Claims of having an impenetrable safety barrier are rarely seen in practice and over time. I view these security claims in the same way I view skylights in houses located in harsh climates - there are two kinds of skylights, those that have leaked and those that will leak. It's just a matter of time.
    supadav03
  • Reply 17 of 22
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,694member
    camber 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. 

    My thought exactly - control is the issue here!
    I agree, the opt-in by default choice by Amazon is going to land with a dull thud. They should revisit that decision immediately.

    Having worked closely with someone who came up through the Amazon ranks, I can see how they arrived at that well intentioned, but totally wrong decision.
  • Reply 18 of 22
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,291member
    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. 

    Well, if the whole thing was opt-in Sidewalk would never get off the ground would it. Most users are completely oblivious to what’s going on around them and wouldn’t know they were added to this network without their knowledge. That’s the only way Amazon can get this thing up and running. I hope some class action lawyers will be as aggressive with Amazon as they are with anything Apple does.
    williamlondonbaconstangMicDorsey
  • Reply 19 of 22
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,585member
    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.  
  • Reply 20 of 22
    CloudTalkinCloudTalkin Posts: 884member
    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.  
    What about those who don't buy AirTags?  Do they know what they're signing up for in this case?  The Find My network, like Amazon's Sidewalk, is on by default and is opt-out.  I personally want everything to be automatically opt-in.  I also understand that's an unrealistic desire.  No vendor's special services would have uptake if they were all opt-in by default.  

    It's a good thing Apple makes 3rd party targeted advertising opt-in.  It would be even better if they treaded their own targeted advertising the same way and made it opt-in as well instead of on by default.  I also wish they made it clear that by agreeing to allow the app store to know your location you're also agreeing to location based targeted advertising.  Again, I understand why they don't.  Doesn't stop me from wanting them to act differently, as unrealistic as that desire is.
    gatorguy
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