Amazon Sidewalk Project (Bluetooth mesh)

Amazon is introducing a new Bluetooth mesh type project, similar to how tile finds devices. They’ve mentioned it before, but this week the details are starting to come out. And they are intending to use existing echoes and ring devices. They are promising various privacy layers and an opt in, but I’ll be honest, this just looks ripe for privacy abuse to me. If only by law-enforcement.

I understand they want a pettracker and item finder, but, wow. This does not leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling. :pleading_face:

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that link doesn’t work for me :frowning:

I thought they were doing to use the 900 mhz radio in the Ring Light base station?

edit: here’s the blog post

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I updated the link, it should work now.

Originally, yes, they said they were using their proprietary frequency from the ring outdoor lighting.

But the new materials say the echoes are also going to participate and they don’t have that radio.

So…

The new Bluetooth stuff is mentioned in the blog article you linked to:

We’re excited to announce that many Echo devices will support Amazon Sidewalk beginning later this year. Echo customers with eligible devices will be able to use Echo as a Bluetooth Sidewalk Bridge to help compatible devices automatically connect or reconnect to their router, set up new Echo devices, or locate items connected to Sidewalk.

Me neither…Trying to figure exactly WTF this is…They basically building a mesh system using everyone internet. :thinking: Why would I sign up for this.

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It seems kind of similar to what comcast does with their xfinity hotspots right? They create a semi public hotspot from your router if you have a comcast one. Except this seems to be geared for low bandwidth usage but counts against your internet use vs comcast is high bandwidth but doesn’t count the usage.

That being said, having Amazon track me all over the place does give me the shivers. Wait till we find out the Amazon app is using your phones wifi and bluetooth scanning to enhance the network.

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I got this email about Sidewalk today, and after readingthis article, https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.slashgear.com/amazon-sidewalk-is-coming-and-not-everyone-will-be-happy-24648652/amp/ I’m definitely opting out for now. I don’t really like the idea at all of other people accessing my wifi network in anyway:

A new feature is launching on your Echo device:
Amazon sidewalk

Amazon Sidewalk is a shared network that helps devices work better. For example, if your device loses its wifi connection, Sidewalk can simplify reconnecting to your router and help set up new Echo devices. Sidewalk can also extend the coverage for Sidewalk-enabled devices, such as Ring smart lights and pet and object trackers, so they can stay connected and continue to work over longer distances.

When enabled, Sidewalk uses a small portion of your Internet bandwidth to provide these services to you and your neighbors. This setting will apply to all of your supported Echo and Ring devices that are linked to your Amazon account.

Learn more about Amazon Sidewalk

Sidewalk is coming to your Echo device later this year, but you can disable this feature at any time from the Amazon Alexa app.

To disable this feature, follow these instructions. You must have the latest version of the Alexa app on your phone to proceed.

  1. Click the appropriate link below on your mobile device to get the latest version:
  1. To open the Alexa app, tap Open . Or tap Install or Update , then Open when complete.
  2. Sign into your Amazon account, if prompted.
  3. Tap More > Settings > Account Settings > Amazon Sidewalk .
  4. Turn Sidewalk off.
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Yeah, I wish there was an option to only allow devices I own to use it with each other, not just open to the world or shut off, but I understand that would make everything more complicated…

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Is Apple’s “Find My” network turned on by default?

It’s more complicated than that. Basically it’s a first rule of home automation deal: “the model number matters.”

Some devices have it turned on by default when you add the device to your phone, so you will see it as an option during that process. For example, beats headphones.

Other devices have to be turned on individually, like a Mac.

It won’t just turn it on without telling you, though, because you see it during the set up process. That’s not true for Amazon’s sidewalk: there’s nothing in the device set up for, say, a new dot that tells you that sidewalk is turned on.

yeah, I primarily meant iPhones. In the case of the iPhone, AFAIK, there isn’t an option to turn on Find My only for your devices. It’s either off or on for the whole world similar to Amazon (but with better notice to the user).

Oh, I see. Yes, that’s right. You can turn it off for the individual iPhone, but once it’s on, it’s on for everybody. However, they seem to have done a good job of encrypting and anonymizing the data, I haven’t seen any articles where a hacker has been able to stalk someone that way, and I know there have been several public attempts to do so.

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Just a reminder that Amazon Sidewalk went live today :slight_smile:

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Oh, yeah, and if you want to opt out, you have to opt out in both the Alexa app AND the ring app. You are opting out for specific devices, not for the concept as a whole.

Also, Amazon has announced that they will cap The amount of your Wi-Fi that sidewalk can use at 500 meg per month. They appear to have recognize that some people may have their devices on metered plans or even hotspots and don’t want to keep giving out their Wi-Fi to strangers.