Commentary

Experts Alarmed at What New Amazon Device Does for Users' Neighbors

Amazon Sidewalk launched Tuesday, and those who have privacy concerns about their internet connection should opt out immediately.

Sidewalk uses Ring security cameras, along with Amazon Echo devices, to create a shared wireless network, The Washington Post reported.

Devices that qualify automatically connect to the system, which would essentially create low bandwidth communal access to the internet, as it would use a part of any available bandwidth on neighbors’ WiFi.

This is considered useful if someone’s WiFi stops working, as it might allow for them to continue to use their devices with Sidewalk.

But there are obviously serious security concerns about hackers and amateur sleuths, even though Amazon says it will be using “three layers of encryption to ensure data is visible only to the intended party,” according to a company pamphlet.

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However, experts warn that no level of encryption is completely foolproof.

“I haven’t seen very many triple-protected, triple-encrypted systems out there,” technology analyst Patrick Moorhead told The Post. “That said, there’s no infallible system.”

“It is slowly eliminating the notion of ‘off-the-grid,’” said Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “As long as Amazon is storing all that data … all of that can be accessible to police. It’s impossible to think of things as just private or public surveillance anymore.”

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There is also the possibility of the consumer being charged for more data than they actually use under this program, as Amazon would be sharing a small part of it with the user’s community.

For those looking to opt out, users should go to the control center or account settings on their Ring or Echo app and select Amazon Sidewalk.

Once they are on Amazon Sidewalk, they can use the slider to disable the use of their WiFi network for the program.

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The fact that Amazon would do this automatically is completely unethical.

Millions of Americans use these products for their homes, and the vast majority will likely be unaware of how to opt out of this new system unless they happen to stumble upon an article about it.

A survey of approximately 1,500 Americans conducted by The Zebra, an insurance comparison site, revealed that 87 percent of Americans do not know what data their doorbell camera collects.

Big Tech companies have consistently proved that they have a blatant disregard for privacy in the name of progress and are rarely held accountable.

Free market innovation is obviously important, but the privacy rights of an individual trump the needless desires of an out-of-touch software developer in Silicon Valley or Seattle.

While Amazon Sidewalk may have its benefits, and some people may want to remain part of the service, the company needs to make its consumers well aware of the risks associated with the program.

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Cameron Arcand is a political commentator based in Orange County, California. His "Young Not Stupid" column launched at The Western Journal in January 2021, making Cameron one of the youngest columnists for a national news outlet in the United States. He has appeared on One America News, and has been a Young America's Foundation member since 2019.
Cameron Arcand is a political commentator based in Orange County, California. In 2017 as a school project, he founded YoungNotStupid.com, which has grown exponentially since its founding. He has interviewed several notable conservative figures, including Dave Rubin, Peggy Grande and Madison Cawthorn.

In September 2020, Cameron joined The Western Journal as a Commentary Writer, where he has written articles on topics ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic, the "Recall Gavin Newsom" effort and the 2020 election aftermath. The "Young Not Stupid" column launched at The Western Journal in January 2021, making Cameron one of the youngest columnists for a national news outlet in the United States. He has appeared on One America News, and has been a Young America's Foundation member since 2019.
Location
Orange County
Languages Spoken
English




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