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Amazon Alexa or Google Nest

Thanks All, have decided to get a 3rd generation Echo.
Given that you have decided on an Echo, I would recommend an Echo Show 5 or Show 8 (with the camera switched off). As per my post up thread, I have retired and replaced five other Echo devices in favour of the screens.

Watch out for Amazon price reductions... they come around fairly frequently and the reductions are significant. Right now for instance, a Show 5 is down £20 to £59.99 delivered but different devices enjoy different price cuts at different times.
 
ALEXA SIDEWALK

Had an email today from Amazon telling me all about how I would be enrolled into 'SIDEWALK', how it share some of my bandwidth with the neighbours anonymous devices and how I can opt out (rather than opt in).

Cue much harumphing and incomprehensible mumbling from YT and lo and behold, it is (for the time being) US only and should not have been circulated to UK users...

Amazon sorry for Sidewalk 'confusion'

Amazon has apologised after UK customers received an email announcing the launch of a service available in the US only.



THE EMAIL for anybody interested in Sidewalk...

A new feature is launching on your Echo device: Amazon Sidewalk: Amazon.com: Amazon Sidewalk: Amazon Devices & Accessories

Amazon Sidewalk is a shared network that helps devices work better. For example, if your device loses its wifi connection, Sidewalk can simplify reconnecting to your router and help set up new Echo devices. Sidewalk can also extend the coverage for Sidewalk-enabled devices, such as Ring smart lights and pet and object trackers, so they can stay connected and continue to work over longer distances.​

When enabled, Sidewalk uses a small portion of your Internet bandwidth to provide these services to you and your neighbors. This setting will apply to all of your supported Echo and Ring devices that are linked to your Amazon account.​
Sidewalk is coming to your Echo device later this year, but you can disable this feature at any time from the Amazon Alexa app.​
To disable this feature, follow these instructions. You must have the latest version of the Alexa app on your phone to proceed.​
1. Navigate to the appropriate link below on your mobile device to get the latest version:​
- iOS: ‎Amazon Alexa
2. To open the Alexa app, tap "Open." Or tap "Install" or "Update," then "Open" when complete.​
3. Sign into your Amazon account, if prompted.​
4. Tap More > Settings > Account Settings > Amazon Sidewalk.​
5. Turn Sidewalk off.​
The Amazon Echo Team​
=====================================================================​
 

endure

GCM
It sounds as though it works in a similar way to Virgin's shared internet app where you can poach a little bit of bandwidth on your phone from Virgin routers that you happen to be near to.
 
It sounds as though it works in a similar way to Virgin's shared internet app where you can poach a little bit of bandwidth on your phone from Virgin routers that you happen to be near to.
Not heard of that but then, I have never been a VM mobile phone subscriber.

I suspect that the Amazon thing though is much much more about data harvesting than anything else.

A much larger effort than the connected Ring doorbell networks 'sold' as a Neighbourhood Watch type of scheme.

An article from Pocket-Lint.com
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
Not heard of that but then, I have never been a VM mobile phone subscriber.

I suspect that the Amazon thing though is much much more about data harvesting than anything else.

A much larger effort than the connected Ring doorbell networks 'sold' as a Neighbourhood Watch type of scheme.

An article from Pocket-Lint.com
BT do a similar thing, you need to use the provided router for it to work, the default config is for it to be turned on - they're not sharing 'your' broadband, it's 'theirs' - and 'their' router.... you can turn it off though.
 
BT do a similar thing, you need to use the provided router for it to work, the default config is for it to be turned on - they're not sharing 'your' broadband, it's 'theirs' - and 'their' router.... you can turn it off though.
Amazon though is not a broadband supplier. Any bandwidth it takes (+/- 500MB/month) is not actually theirs to take. By extension then, the router is not theirs either but the network will form through one or more owned Amazon devices rather than directly through an ISP provided router.

From the Pocket-Lint article

Amazon says Sidewalk will use a small portion of internet bandwidth equivalent to around 500MB per month - there are some privacy questions here because Sidewalk could help with the connection to devices you don't own

It’s academic for the time being but as somebody Echo’d up to the hilt I would certainly be opting out. Their Ring Doorbells broadcasting unencrypted wifi network passwords is enough to cause concern about Amazon devices.
 
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endure

GCM
Not heard of that but then, I have never been a VM mobile phone subscriber.
You don't need to be a Virgin mobile phone subscriber. You do need to be a Virgin broadband subscriber. It doesn't matter who your mobile supplier is.

You download an app onto your phone and log into your Virgin account and when you're out and about and come within range of a Virgin router the phone uses its wifi instead of the mobile signal.
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
Amazon though is not a broadband supplier. Any bandwidth it takes (+/- 500MB/month) is not actually theirs to take. By extension then, the router is not theirs either but the network will form through one or more owned Amazon devices rather than directly through an ISP provided router.

From the Pocket-Lint article



It’s academic for the time being but as somebody Echo’d up to the hilt I would certainly be opting out. Their Ring Doorbells broadcasting unencrypted wifi network passwords is enough to cause concern about Amazon devices.
At least the BT implementation is rate-limited and runs in a separate network allocation, as I'd hope does the VM implementation, given Amazon & Google's implicit 'trust' of their own devices and built-in methods to circumvent network security (hard coded DNS, DoH / DoT etc.) never mind the recording & storing of voices, I suspect any encryption is only to prevent the competition scraping 'their' harvested data.

BTW, the BT stuff isn't new, it goes back at least fifteen years in my experience.

ETA - Apple are no better - the log below is an iPhone 11 trying to bypass the local authoritative DNS

[service blocked: DoT] from source 192.168.1.116, Tuesday, November 24, 2020 21:21:49
[service blocked: DoT] from source 192.168.1.116, Tuesday, November 24, 2020 21:21:34
[service blocked: DoT] from source 192.168.1.116, Tuesday, November 24, 2020 21:21:14
[service blocked: DoT] from source 192.168.1.116, Tuesday, November 24, 2020 21:18:34
[service blocked: DNS] from source 192.168.1.116, Tuesday, November 24, 2020 21:18:33
[service blocked: DoT] from source 192.168.1.116, Tuesday, November 24, 2020 21:18:33
 
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You don't need to be a Virgin mobile phone subscriber. You do need to be a Virgin broadband subscriber. It doesn't matter who your mobile supplier is.
That lets me out of that then. No VM cables where I live although trenches were being dug on their behalf a few miles away recently so one day they may get here.
 
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