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“Alexa, Tell Me About Sidewalk” — Block It Today

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Jun 082021
 

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) and state Senator James Maroney (D-Milford), Chair of the General Law Committee, released a statement regarding a recent warning concerning Amazon-made devices such as the Alexa smart speaker and Ring Doorbell.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong warned consumers that Amazon will automatically connect their smart home devices and products to a new shared network called ‘Amazon Sidewalk’ on June 8.

This legislative session, Senators Duff and Maroney have worked together on Senate Bill 893 to establish a consumer data bill of rights to will protect Connecticut residents’ online privacy.

“Amazon’s announcement is yet another attack on consumer privacy,” said Duff. “Large technology corporations continue to hide behind complex legal agreements to use your data for their own profit. The residents of Connecticut deserve a bill of rights to protect their privacy. It is long past time that the government fights back against the abuses of Big Tech.”

“Amazon’s lack of transparency with protecting consumers pushes me harder to pass legislation that secures better online privacy for residents in the state,” Maroney said. “Consumers should have the option to choose if they want their data to be shared. It’s concerning companies are able to instantly share a consumer’s information and my hope with this legislation is that consumers feel more comfortable and have more trust in their mobile devices; that their data isn’t being collected without their knowledge.”

Under Senate Bill 893, companies will be required to clearly cite a privacy policy telling consumers what data is being collected, how it is being used, and why. This way, consumers are aware and have the right of knowing what information is being collected from them, the ability to see and fix any false data that is collected from them, and the right to have any collected data be deleted.

This bill also prohibits companies from discriminating against those who choose to exercise these rights. This bill will also provide protection over user information, thus preventing companies from abusing their data. Senate Bill 893 requires companies to lessen the amount of data they collect and only use it for the purposes they have collected it for; therefore having fewer data breaches and identity theft.

With Amazon automatically connecting consumer’s electronic devices to a new shared network, if a person is unaware this is happening today, they give up their right to protect their personal data. Devices like Alexa are already connected to a person’s home private Internet connection.

When Amazon transforms it to a Sidewalk Bridge, the device creates a new network of its own that’s not WiFi. Instead, it uses common Bluetooth to connect devices nearby. Sidewalk authorizes the device to share a portion of a person’s home’s Internet bandwidth which could count toward a person’s Internet service provider’s data cap.

As people become aware of how much of their personal information is being observed and recorded, more eyebrows have been raised. Numerous people weren’t previously aware that they were being tracked. Apple recently released a new operating system and found that only 2 to 4% of Americans are opting in for tracking.

The International and Internet Society found that 69% of consumers are concerned about how personal data is collected in mobile apps, such as banking or health apps. It was also found that 62% of consumers are concerned about personal data collected through devices such as computers and tablets.

This legislation ensures transparency within companies and consumers, therefore guaranteeing that consumers know just how much of their information is being collected and are given the right to control what is done with that data.

Click HERE to learn how to disable Sidewalk.