Amazon: An AWS Network Which Seems Super Juicy

May 13, 2021

At the National Cyber Crime Conference, I ran through the basics of Amazon’s data acquisition method. Over the last four years, I have given six, maybe eight, talks at venues with hundreds of law enforcement and intelligence professionals. I can reveal that many of those at my talks were enthusiastic about Amazon’s data efforts. How excited would those living in a look-alike apartment complex or an emerging slumurbia be? Probably not too keen, but I am speculating. Most people do not pay much attention to the world’s online bookstore other than marvel at speedy delivery.

I would suggest that a curious few, maybe you, gentle reader, take a look at “Welcome to Amazon Sidewalk.” This is a typical Amazon “Hey, gang, here’s what we are doing” description. Here’s an example:

Amazon Sidewalk is a shared network that helps devices like Amazon Echo devices, Ring Security Cams, outdoor lights, motion sensors, and Tile trackers work better at home and beyond the front door. When enabled, Sidewalk can unlock unique benefits for your device, support other Sidewalk devices in your community, and even locate pets or lost items.

And how does this work?

Amazon Sidewalk creates a low-bandwidth network with the help of Sidewalk Bridge devices including select Echo and Ring devices. These Bridge devices share a small portion of your internet bandwidth which is pooled together to provide these services to you and your neighbors. And when more neighbors participate, the network becomes even stronger.

Think of the benefits; for example:

  • Chill or what Amazon calls “peace of mind”
  • Don’t lose that connection
  • Protect your privacy
  • You are in control.

I am not going to comment on each of these benefits. I would ask, “Are there any downsides to a commercial mesh operated by a firm with a data collection mechanism of considerable robustness?”

I would invite you to examine this diagram and think about what Amazon knows about individuals:

image

Interesting, particularly in the context of some of Amazon’s initiatives in the public sector. But that next day delivery is what it is all about, right?

Stephen E Arnold, May 13, 2021

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