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Amazon wants to turn your neighborhood into a surveillance state

That’s going to be a “no” from me.

Amazon sidewalk
Image: Amazon

Amazon wants to blanket your neighborhood in location-tracking, network-attached devices, under the name Amazon Sidewalk. The system will link everything from smart home devices and floodlights into one huge network, able to pass updates between devices or even track things like Bluetooth trackers, all using Bluetooth Low Energy.

It’s designed to be used at scale, covering great swathes of neighborhoods into one ultra-connected network. Amazon products such as the Echo, smart floodlights, and other IoT devices will all turn into network bridges, handling data and updates from a central hub, enabling the system to be built out in record time. I mean, how many people in your apartment building do you think owns an Echo device? We’ve got three in our one-bedroom apartment, and that’s without counting the number of third party IoT devices that Amazon could conceivably get on board.

One of the early adopters is Bluetooth tracker maker, Tile, with what seems like a perfect pairing. Amazon provides the tracking network, Tile provides the things to be tracked. Everyone’s happy, right? The only problem with Tile currently is that pesky Bluetooth max range. What if there were enough devices within Bluetooth range, that could all pass the location of your forlorn keychain back to your smartphone before you even leave the area? Nifty.

Amazon also says that Ring cameras, outdoor lights, and motion sensors could also be networked together. Wait, those Ring cameras that keep getting coverage about security holes? That Bluetooth, that has a major security issue currently that won’t be mitigated until all devices are using Bluetooth 5.2 or newer? Umm, I’m suddenly rethinking Amazon Sidewalk and the ease of finding my keychain once I drop it.

What do you think? How would you feel about a network being built out by Amazon in your neighborhood? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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