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Old 06-02-2021, 11:17 AM   #1
hazel
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The latest outrage from Amazon


Anyone based in the US who uses Amazon devices in their home is now to be made a guinea pig in a new bandwidth sharing experiment called Sidewalk. You have one week to opt out, otherwise you're in by default.

More details from Ars Technica.
 
Old 06-02-2021, 12:08 PM   #2
cynwulf
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Reminds me of "BT Openzone".

Windows 10 update sharing also springs to mind - where your system is turned into an update repository to serve Windows updates to other client machines.

Seems to be the done thing nowadays - but people for the most part willingly gave up their privacy and surrendered control of their systems to a handful of multi billion dollar US based corporations.

The rationale is that if someone has already installed one of these IoT spy devices in their home, that they are by default not at all concerned about their privacy.

Last edited by cynwulf; 06-02-2021 at 12:12 PM.
 
Old 06-02-2021, 02:36 PM   #3
Trihexagonal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynwulf View Post
Reminds me of "BT Openzone".

Windows 10 update sharing also springs to mind - where your system is turned into an update repository to serve Windows updates to other client machines.
My Block port 0 pf firewall rule blocked Win10Pro from updating when I implemented it in the Win10Pro firewall. I've carried that over from ConSeal PC Firewall and my Win98 days:

Quote:
### Block to and from port 0
block quick proto { tcp, udp } from any port = 0 to any
block quick proto { tcp, udp } from any to any port = 0
 
Old 06-02-2021, 08:15 PM   #4
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And the thing is, most persons are just going to continue to wander heedlessly through Big Data's own version of Candid Camera and not give it a second thought.

And people get upset about the NSA.

The NSA doesn't hold a candle to Google and the Zuckerborg.
 
Old 06-02-2021, 10:07 PM   #5
craigevil
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Took me 10 seconds to disable sidewalk on my Echo devices. I also use NextDNS on my router to block as much as possible.
 
Old 06-02-2021, 10:14 PM   #6
frankbell
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Frankly, I wouldn't have one of those things in my house.

As an aside, the only valid use I see for Ring doorbells is to provide videos of persons falling down steps for AFV (America's Funniest Videos).
 
Old 06-03-2021, 03:46 AM   #7
chrisretusn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
Frankly, I wouldn't have one of those things in my house.
Same here.
 
Old 06-03-2021, 06:42 AM   #8
hazel
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Plus 1. I can't understand the mentality of people who use them. Don't they realise that the device has to listen to every word you say in order to hear and recognise the magic word "Alexa"?

When Orwell wrote 1984, a lot of people said it could never happen in real life because people in general wouldn't willingly allow a spy in every house (and you couldn't enforce it unless you already had a spy in every house). But they turned out to be completely wrong. People will do that happily if they're told they're getting something for free.
 
Old 06-03-2021, 07:19 AM   #9
boughtonp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
When Orwell wrote 1984, a lot of people said it could never happen in real life because people in general wouldn't willingly allow a spy in every house (and you couldn't enforce it unless you already had a spy in every house). But they turned out to be completely wrong. People will do that happily if they're told they're getting something for free.
Well, Nineteen Eighty-Four was published in 1949 - maybe seven decades ago people were smarter, or at the very least more sensitive to who might be eavesdropping.


At least with Amazon Alexa, it's indoor and audio-based - there's a degree of choice over whether to enter a house infected with it. Unlike Amazon Ring, where the door-mounted webcam that can record everyone who even passes by a door. I wonder how many people who claim opposition to CCTV have such a device and have bothered to consider what they are creating.

 
Old 06-03-2021, 08:27 PM   #10
frankbell
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Quote:
Don't they realise that the device has to listen to every word you say in order to hear and recognise the magic word "Alexa"?
Well, in order to realize stuff, first you have to--er--think about stuff.

Snark aside, I think persons see the convenience and don't think about the implications. They don't realize that what they say actually leaves their premises and goes to some other place before the convenience happens.
 
Old 06-04-2021, 04:05 AM   #11
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
You have one week to opt out, otherwise you're in by default.
Sounds familiar by now.
I hope the law catches up to this wild-west behavior soon.
 
Old 06-04-2021, 08:32 AM   #12
TheTKS
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I hate that it's unavoidable for most of us in many places to have video and audio of us recorded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boughtonp View Post
At least with Amazon Alexa, it's indoor and audio-based - there's a degree of choice over whether to enter a house infected with it.
But if only it were so simple...
1) Alexa is in a house you've entered, but the host doesn't tell you and doesn't call Alexa while you're there.
2) Someone you want to keep a relationship with will not part with their Alexa

How do you avoid that? You can try to make you case with person 2), but if they refuse to turn it off while you're in their house, then you face either cutting them off or... conversing in some non-audible way?

Referring to what Hazel pointed out, just try to separate people from their FREE!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
When Orwell wrote 1984, a lot of people said it could never happen in real life because people in general wouldn't willingly allow a spy in every house (and you couldn't enforce it unless you already had a spy in every house). But they turned out to be completely wrong. People will do that happily if they're told they're getting something for free.
I expect to hear of a prominent court case of people's words recorded through one of these being used against them, aside from law enforcement who might be able to get approval for use in a criminal case. They've certainly tried and I suspect succeeded somewhere.

For a civil matter, I think lack of your consent would kill the case, at least in Anglophone parts of Canada where our version of English Common Law applies. Not being a lawyer, though, I don't know. And in any case, if you say something with the expectation of privacy and it gets out, the law doesn't matter, the cat's out of the bag. Yes, it's long been possible for someone to record you without you knowing; the difference today isn't just that it's more common, it's that it's hard to avoid being recorded on something.

TKS
 
Old 06-04-2021, 09:03 AM   #13
uteck
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Just to be contrary, but the press around Sidewalk is really misstating what it can do.
It will use a low power long range 900MHz radio that uses small data chirps, that are triple encrypted, to send very basic information. The big use will be for the tracking system to help find lost items or pets that have a tracking tag affixed.
The bandwidth it uses is minuscule, less then a text message.

Everyone with an iPhone has a similar system in place already, and Apple will upgrade this with directional scanning to help you pin-point were a beacon is as part of the Find-My network.

Yes, they can both be abused to unwilling track people, but the press seems fixated on Amazon for doing this.

Take a look at this video about why it is not that bad, but you can still be outraged about it. https://youtu.be/OH5VoAOUjeE

Last edited by uteck; 06-04-2021 at 09:10 AM. Reason: add link
 
Old 06-04-2021, 10:20 AM   #14
boughtonp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTKS View Post
But if only it were so simple...
1) Alexa is in a house you've entered, but the host doesn't tell you and doesn't call Alexa while you're there.
2) Someone you want to keep a relationship with will not part with their Alexa

How do you avoid that? You can try to make you case with person 2), but if they refuse to turn it off while you're in their house, then you face either cutting them off or... conversing in some non-audible way?
I didn't say it was simple, I said there's a degree of choice. You can outright ask people and refuse to enter their homes unless they switch it off* - that's not necessarily a good choice, and the relationship might be a higher priority, but that is a choice you get to make.

It's different from needing to get from A to B and being unsure how many doors along the potential routes may be transmitting video direct to Jeff Bezos and/or anyone else with access.


* That's also assuming it can be switched off - if turning off your own router no longer prevents it from going online, maybe there's a backup power source too... :/

 
Old 06-06-2021, 01:10 AM   #15
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uteck View Post
Just to be contrary, but the press around Sidewalk is really misstating what it can do.
It will use a low power long range 900MHz radio that uses small data chirps, that are triple encrypted, to send very basic information. The big use will be for the tracking system to help find lost items or pets that have a tracking tag affixed.
The bandwidth it uses is minuscule, less then a text message.
...and a lot of _unique_ information can fit inside that.
Anyhow, none of this is to the point.
The point is yet another opt-out instead of opt-in data harvesting.
It makes all the difference, since the vast majority of all users never touches the settings.

And why should we - once again - trust a tech giant's pinky promise to "Do Good" with our data. This sort of stuff should be prohibited by law.
But, the arstechnica article states that it's currently a thing in the US only, so personally I am not worried that this will ever make its way across the big pond.
But again, it also states that some children's devices are part of the trial. And following kids around IRL is... let's just say, I'd like to see a cartoon of that where Amazon is a middle-aged male offering candy to children...

Quote:
Everyone with an iPhone has a similar system in place already
That's, like, no argument at all.

Quote:
Yes, they can both be abused to unwilling track people, but the press seems fixated on Amazon for doing this.
1. Poor Amazon!
2. I have not noticed that. The press is full of articles criticising all of the quasi-monopolistic tech giants.

Quote:
but you can still be outraged about it.
I agree with you that I do not care for the phrasing of the OP.
But I am not, and neither is the arstechnica article. Not every form of criticism is outrage.
 
  


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