Amazon Sidewalk -- Opt in /or/ Opt out?

I’ve opted out of Sidewalk. It feels creepy today – but this sort of thing may be unavoidably pervasive in a few years. Will it be creepy then? Will we always be able to opt out?

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Seeing this the other day made me glad I ditched all my Amazon hardware a couple years ago.


I opted out when they first announced this like in January? I could not see how it would be beneficial at all to us.


I don’t have “Amazon Sidewalk” on Account Settings in my Alexa app. Maybe my device is too old (registered in November 2018) to support it?

The county’s holding an electronics recycling event this weekend, perhaps I’ll just ditch it altogether.

My TV (Roku) has never been plugged in to Ethernet and never connected to WiFi. I will gladly pay the premium for Apple TV.


My xBox One is online because I trust Microsoft a hell of a lot more than I trust Amazon

I just got a nice Samsung TV and I love the remote (I’ve got a really old Apple TV with the Al remote, it’s rubbish).
I’m seriously wondering if I should get a new Apple TV and disconnect my Samsung from the Internet entirely (I really don’t see why I’d need to update its firmware, but I’m not a console user).

The only thing that gets me worried about being spied on is in the insane amounts of money companies seem to be able sell data for.

Two things:

  1. If you “have to” connect your TV to the Internet, and it has Ethernet, use that instead of Wi-Fi, and then unplug the Ethernet cord when you’re done.

  2. My eero will let me “pause” access to the Internet for certain devices. My TV (which does not have Ethernet) always has its Internet paused. Every 6 months or whenever I remember it or so, I unplug the TV from the UPS, turn on the Internet, and plug the TV in. My thought is that they are probably designed to check for updates when they first get power and/or Internet, so by providing both at once, I hope that I am “forcing” it to check for updates. However they are very rare, so it’s hard to know if I am “behind” in my updates or not.

That being said, everything we watch is through the Apple TV, so I don’t worry too much about my TV telling anyone anything meaningful about me.

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I don’t think this is intended in a sinister way. I think they want people to share some low-bandwidth bluetooth power on these devices to spread the internet.

But this does edge up to what a FaceBook executive called “The Creepy Line” – especially as regards the very low-key, zero-publicity way they’re rolling this out.

This looks to me like the similar system that BT rolled out in the UK a few years ago with Fon (BT Fon).

If you had BT internet, you could activate a secondary wifi network that other BT customers could connect to for free. It also allowed others to pay to access the BT Fon network on a pay per day type affair. It’s been going for years now I believe, as I recall paying to use my neighbours internet when I moved to a new building and mine was going to take ages to install.

However, I guess one of the differences here is that the network was entirely seperate. It was a different WiFi and didn’t have access to anything else on the host network.
I think it was also speed limited and I know if you choose not to enable it on the BT Homehub (or didn’t use the HomeHub as I didn’t when I was on BT), then you couldn’t make use of it yourself.

did he mean working at Facebook?

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Functionality seems to be the same as our ISP’s have been doing for years (like @drezha explains above)
I’d find it creepy if it were a. silent onboarding (no opt-out) and b. commerialising your data. I’ve seen no evidence of that over here. Of course our ISP’s have a somewhat different regulatory regime (they do not have the right to sell data like in the US) so that might bring my creep-o-meter down a bit.

I use it with my ISP, they take some small amount of up/down bandwidth from my connection (that is not taken from my bandwidth btw) and in turn I get free wifi all over the country where it is available. It’s a separate connection just using my ISP modem’s wifi antenna (which I don;t use anyway) to transmit.

So with the amazon deal: I’d look at the T&C’s before opting in or out.

It’s not in the UK yet, but I’ll ask my girls to disable it on theirs when it comes.

It seems very wrong to just open up a space on your Wifi (no matter the “protections” in place) without your explicit permission. What next? Kindles? This should definitely be opt in, but of course then people wouldn’t do it and it would be useless.

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I get the idea, your internet connection becomes unavailable for whatever reason, but your Ring Doorbell will still work.

I think it’s just wrong to assume it’s OK to route via someone else’s network without explicit permissions. (No matter what “protections” have been put in place.)

There’s nothing to stop you temporarily plugging your TV in once a month to gain updates, then disconnecting it again.

@tjluoma You do know that some TVs pattern match what’s on the screen by “fingerprint” instead of send EPG info?

Oh FFS. Really? Seriously? This is what someone want to spend their lives doing?

Why can’t these people at least try to do something that makes the world a better place?

Well, at least they’re making good money, I assume that’s all some of the care about.

Truly sad.


When you see that Vizion (I think that I got that right) make approx $38m a year from selling TVs and $32m a year from selling data it gives you a clue to their motivation.

But it is a silent on-boarding. You’re opted in by default, and have to explicitly opt out. Amazon is turning this on automatically without asking you. If you aren’t keeping tabs on tech news, you won’t even know that it’s happening.


That’s the big thing. I’m not horribly un-informed, but this thread on this forum was the first I’d heard of this.

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Ah, understand the problem.
I was talking about our ISP’s, regulation over here would probably bankrupt someone trying silent onboarding.

In case of Amazon: that’s just despicable, and to be true: to be expected…
It’s all in the tradeoff: you want to pay next to nothing for products? Expect next to nothing in return…,