Amazon and Apple - creating a Mesh System

So, with Side Walk being released, and Apple creating their own Tile System (and Comcast having Xfinity), maybe it’s a good time to discuss what these systems can and cannot do. Whether they breach a trust or a universal good.

We were discussing it in P & R, but I think this is more a hardware discussion (especially since not everyone checks out P & R).

Here is where the discussion started.

If its appropriate, maybe the discussion can be moved here

Air Tags don’t do mesh wifi do they? I thought they just used nearby iPhones to ping their location.

From the other thread:

AirTags aren’t doing the same thing I understand Sidewalk to do.

The difference between Apple and Amazon is Amazon is building a mesh network that’s expected to be used by external developers. AFAICT Apple’s mesh network is meant only for their use.

Yea most “they’re spying on you” is paranoia fueled by ignorance and technological superstition, but there have been stories about recording conversations, and since I don’t need an always on device anyway, and since the Echo clock face is boring anyway, I haven’t plugged mine in for many months. I also never allow my TV on my local internet.

I’ve heard some interesting things about Side Walk. On the one hand, I do want things like Tile to work and being part of something like this would be cool.

On the other hand, it’s Amazon, and they derive all the profit from this thing. At the very least, give me a discount on prime or something to turn on Sidewalk.

From looking on Amazon’s site, it looks like only really new devices even support the sidewalk thing anyway.

I usually end up buying a new Dot every year, if only for the Free Time App for the kids. Usually, it’s way less then the 70 dollars a year that amazon charges during Christmas, which I believe is by design.

On the one hand, I do want things like Tile to work.

On the other hand, I don’t want my smart TV to bypass my routers’ MAC address block to send up data about me.

I don’t believe Sidewalk does that or anything close to that.

Why do you say that? It’s open to any developer and explicitely advertised as a way for devices to connect to the internet without setup. Perfect for bypassing firewalls (because the traffic will appear to come from the Sidewalk device, not the originating device).

And none of that information is your data. Which was your complaint.

It doesn’t seem to interact with your account or your set up at all. It’s seems like a VPN actually.

How does Amazon Sidewalk protect customer information?
Preserving customer privacy and security is foundational to how we’ve built Amazon Sidewalk. Sidewalk is designed with multiple layers of privacy and security to secure data traveling on the network and to keep customers safe and in control. For example, Sidewalk Bridge owners do not receive any information about devices owned by others connected to Sidewalk. Learn more here.

I think you are mis-understanding what I mean.

Right now, smart TV’s make a significant amount of money selling data about you. Namely, what you are watching with your TV. This isn’t conspiracy. Samsung TVs are notorious for showing advertisements, etc…

For this reason I explicitly I have my firewall set to disallow any traffic from my TVs based on their MAC addresses. Now all my TVs have zero internet access to try and phone home data about my usages.

However, Amazon Sidewalk now bypasses this. Since it can’t get to the internet from my router, it will now try to connect to the my Ring or Echo in order to send that data to the manufacturer without me being able to block it (because my router will just see encrypted Sidewalk traffic, not Vizio traffic).

That’s what I"m against.

Edit: Even if I block amazon sidwalk, my neighbor also has Ring devices and he probably won’t disable it (since it’s opt-out not opt-in). So my TV will connect to his ring device to surface data.

I don’t think 80 kb is going to offer the manufacturer much data.

It’s not 80kb total, it’s 80kbps. The device as a whole can surface up to 500MB a month. The TV can store a lot of data in even 10MB a month. It’s all fingerprinting data, not full screen captures or anything like that. The TV also knows pretty well where in the world the TV is located just by SSIDs it sees, and multiple tvs can easily do correlations around this data and usage info.

This probably deserves a larger discussion under hardware, since P & R is regular ignored by members of this forum that are more savvy then I.

Maybe @stusser could help us with that.

I am interested in hearing more about this.

How would your TV even know about Sidewalk? Or are you saying that you expect Samsung to update its firmware to look for a Sidewalk connection if none other is available?

I don’t expect my existing TV to know about sidewalk, especially since I don’t allow it to connect to the internet to get firmware updates.

I do expect new TVs to start adding Sidewalk capabilities, and I don’t expect it to be obvious which ones will utilize sidewalk and which ones won’t. That bothers me.

It’s not just TVs though. What other devices are you buying that will end up being sidewalk enabled (either through a firmware update, or with a new device)? What will it be using it’s bandwidth allotment for, since you can’t prevent it?