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Is it safe to open up Amazon’s sidewalk to third-party developers?

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Is it safe to open up Amazon’s sidewalk to third-party developers?

Amazon announced last week that it would open its sidewalk protocol to third-party programmers. This was an interesting development. Although the program was first discussed in secret in 2019, it was not officially launched until June 2021.

The question is: Is it safe to allow third-party developers to manage the technology, given that Sidewalk powers thousands upon thousands of devices for homeowners across the USA?

How does Amazon Sidewalk work?

Sidewalk’s working model is essential to understand how this new change could affect your privacy. Sidewalk uses smart home appliances like Amazon Echo and Ring to create a mesh network that allows your devices to stay connected, even if your Wi-Fi is down or farther from the WiFi.

These home appliances act like network bridges, ensuring that multiple devices are connected. The more bridges in your area, the better the connection.

You can connect Ring lights to your Sidewalk, for example, if they are to be installed on your driveway. The lights will still work with WiFi, even though they are far from your router.

Here’s where privacy concerns come in. Sidewalk networks connect all smart devices in your home. All data is transferred through the network. This increases the risk of data leakage.

The forced opt-in was not well received by customers, which ultimately dampened Sidwalk’s launch and acceptance.

After the initial concerns, there has not been a major security issue with Amazon Sidewalk. However, it would be interesting if that changes after opening the protocol to third parties.

Users were initially concerned about Amazon Sidewalk because they were forced into opting in. The feature was activated in all devices, even for customers who are already logged in.

Amazon also sent an email explaining how to opt out of the service. However, this move has been criticized as not everyone checks their emails. It was also difficult to find the settings to turn it off in the Alexa App.

Are You Concerned About It?

Amazon is only adding third-party developers as part of its Sidewalk-compatible device protocol. These developers will help to identify bugs that Amazon’s in-house developers cannot fix. Although the privacy protocols appear to be sound on paper, we will see how they work out later.

It has yet to meet with reality. Some problems will arise when all these things meet reality.John Callas is the director of public interest technology for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Sidewalk has multiple layers of encryption to protect you. To prevent unauthorized users entering, each developer will be assigned a unique identity to link their apps with devices.

If you are still concerned about the safety of the service, it is best to opt out.

There is no immediate concern. It all depends on your comfort level with third parties accessing your network that includes all of your devices.

There have been several instances when Amazon has made mistakes. It doesn’t have a service records for Amazon Ring Cameras and Surveillance. Amazon’s AWS cloud services are a bright spot. They have never been subject to any serious security issues.

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