Amazon Sidewalk is Sharing Your Internet Connection with Neighbors
Posted By: Ryan Richardson - 6/2/2021 12:00:00 AM

If you own Amazon products such as Echo devices, Ring Video Doorbells, Tile Trackers, or certain Alexa enabled lights and motion sensors, starting June 8th, 2021, Amazon is automatically opting you in to share part of your internet bandwidth with your neighbors. This is part of Amazon Sidewalk – An initiative to link all Amazon devices across the US, to allegedly help your devices work better inside and outside of your home, and help you locate lost items or pets. 

In a statement from Amazon, they describe the benefits of this service as follows,

“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.” 

To make this work as intended, Amazon needs as many people as possible to participate. You could reasonably speculate that this is why they are choosing to make people opt out of Sidewalk, rather than opt-in. This obviously raises some questions about security and privacy. Sidewalk connects to your home wifi and uses a very small fraction of your bandwidth for this service, so does this leave your home network more vulnerable?

Amazon has said that these networks are protected by multiple layers of security and encryption and that you won’t have access to your neighbor’s information, however, this information is vague and you wouldn’t be wrong for having some hesitations or concerns. Fortunately, it is easy to opt-out of Sidewalk from your Android or iPhone: 

How To Opt-Out:

  1. Open the Alexa app

  2. Open More and select Settings

  3. Select Account Settings

  4. Select Amazon Sidewalk

  5. Turn Amazon Sidewalk Off

 

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