We all love Amazon, right? It's our perfect partner in an age of instant gratification; we want that new gadget, and we want it now, so God Bless Amazon for their near-instant delivery service! Little did we know that Amazon is also at the vanguard of the authoritarian spectre that's invading and destroying our privacy at an increasingly alarming rate...
To draw a telling contrast here, I'd like to first briefly mention the rapid growth of the popularity of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as well as a relatively new blockchain-powered project I'm about to participate in. Cryptocurrencies built on decentralized public blockchains, written in open source code for everyone to see and inspect is the kind of people-powered network building I'd like to see more of. Bitcoin was designed in response to the 2008 financial crisis and as an antidote to the highly centralized power of corporate ruled government, banks and central banks. It gave people the power to bypass these powerful middle-men and deal directly with each other on a peer-to-peer basis. This is the powerful idea of building people-powered networks, a true implementation of the adage "by the people and for the people".
Recently we've seen expansions on this idea in the form of several projects built on the same principle, all of them coming with their own cryptocurrency and their own people-powered network. There are projects like Akash, that built a network of cloud computing with participants connecting a computer to the network and delegating their computing power to a world computer, with the Akash token used to reward them for this service. The project I'm about to embark on is the Helium network; I've ordered three Helium miners, small machines with an antenna that connect to each other through Radio Frequency signals. This people powered network is supposed to be used by IOT (Internet Of Things) devices to facilitate the data transfers for these devices. The key feature of these networks is, as far as I'm concerned, that they're decentralized which means that there's no central headquarters nor a single point of failure; should one of my machines fail at any time, the network will keep functioning as intended.
Now, here's where Amazon enters the story; Amazon is building a new wireless network of their own called "Sidewalk". This network is not a public, decentralized or built in the open for all to see. It's essentially the same kind of network as the Helium project described above, with some key differences. To start, the hardware needed for Amazon's own RF network is already in your home if you own one of their Alexa, Echo or Ring security camera products; the functionality was already built in those products and you placed them in your home without knowing about it. Did you know that the voice recognition doesn't take place on your Alexa or Echo? No, that's done on Amazon's private Alexa and Echo servers, and all the voice data is stored there indefinitely. When Amazon purchased Ring in 2018, they secured ownership of all your footage on top of all your speech. With the RF network that's now being built between all those devices, Amazon gains unparalleled power to always know where we are, who we interact with, what we say and who we're talking to. Add face- and voice recognition software to the mix, and you realize that Big Brother Skynet has already invaded our homes. OR maybe it'll be in 2024, like this article says: Amazon Sidewalk: Big Brother Bezos...
The trouble is, and that's a good part of the below linked video as well, that most people will hear all this and shrug it off. "Ah well, I've got nothing to hide"... It's amazing how attitudes toward privacy have changed these last couple of decades. George Orwell's "1984" used to be a scary dystopian picture of the future, but it seems that as a society we're welcoming Big Brother into our lives and homes with open arms. Search the internet for Amazon's "Sidewalk" and watch the video; I hope you'll see the urgency here that we really need to do something about this development. Show it to your friends and family as well, especially if they own one of Amazon's doomsday-machines...
Skynet Went Live June 8! Attn: Alexa Echo and Ring Owners
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