Another Take on Amazon’s Sidewalk Mesh Network

Josephine Wolff, writing for Slate:

By all means, opt out of Amazon Sidewalk if anything about this program makes you uncomfortable or if (despite already owning a Ring or Echo) you don’t trust the company enough to share a little of your home network with your neighbors safely. You’re under no obligation to participate in this mesh networking experiment, and it probably would have made more sense for Amazon to at least launch the program with an opt-in model that gave people more time to learn about how it works and whether they want to be involved.

But if you’re just learning about mesh networks for the first time and aren’t sure what to think, or whether this is something to be very worried about, I really don’t think it is. If you’ve already reconciled yourself to the privacy implications of owning an Echo or a Ring, the additional privacy and security drawbacks of participating in Sidewalk seem very limited and the benefits are potentially considerable, for you and for everyone around you.

I like this take. The thing to consider is whether you trust Echo and Ring devices with your privacy. If you do, you might as well participate in Sidewalk. It’s not that different, conceptually, from Apple’s Find My network.

Thursday, 3 June 2021