Amazon will share your internet with others near your home, after June 8, 2021 - should you opt-out?

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Amazon Sidewalk introduces a new form of a mesh network

amazon sidewalk



Benefits of Amazon Sidewalk

Based on Amazon, "Amazon Sidewalk creates a low-bandwidth network with the help of Sidewalk Bridge devices including select Echo and Ring devices." This network is formed when more and more users buy into the Echo and Ring line of products. The more users have these devices with this new feature enabled, the stronger the signal will be therefore more people will have access to wireless internet while traveling near this "mesh" network. 

Other benefits include the ability to now provide wireless access to security cameras, doorbells, and other devices which live outdoors which have been a problem in the past. Amazon says this technology is designed to protect your privacy using multiple layers of encryptions.


Extend the range of wireless network

Though a mesh network technology already existed for some time now, it is pretty cool for Amazon to enable this feature considering that in the average home, there may be several Amazon Echo devices that can benefit from this feature. This feature will extend the signal using low bandwidth. According to Amazon, "the maximum bandwidth of a Sidewalk Bridge to the Sidewalk server is 80kbps, which is about 1/40th of the bandwidth used to stream a typical high definition video." The maximum total monthly data used per account will be capped at 500MB. This may not seem much but this can be significant for those users whose ISP adds a cap to their monthly data usage.


Security concern

The fact that this new mesh network is enabled by default starting on June 8, 2021, and requires those users who are not in favor to have to navigate to the settings using the app to opt-out, raises privacy and security concerns in my professional opinion. Amazon has released this [white paper published by Amazon] which states its privacy and security policy of the Amazon Sidewalk program but this document raises some more security questions. When it comes down to security, it's best practice to disable wireless access when not in use. With the Amazon Sidewalk, this means in order for this to function, you will need to keep your wireless network-enabled at all times. In addition, it appears that this new product/technology has not been tested by many recognized security experts.


Disable Amazon Sidewalk from Alexa app:

  1.   Open the Alexa app
  2.   Open Moreand select Settings
  3.   Select Amazon Sidewalk
  4.   Turn Amazon Sidewalk Onor Offfor your account

Disable Amazon Sidewalk from Ring app:

  1.   Open the Ring app
  2.   Go to Control Centerby tapping the three-lined(sandwich menu) icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen
  3.   Select Sidewalkand use the toggle icon to opt out
  4.   Confirm you want to opt out.