HOUSTON — Amazon's latest feature, Sidewalk, has raised concerns about security risks because it will automatically enroll anyone who owns one of the company's devices into a program to share their internet connection.
Let's connect the dots.
Wireless sharing with other device holders
Sidewalk takes a small portion of your internet bandwidth and pools it together with small chunks of bandwidth from your neighbors, according to Amazon. The company said it will make its devices work better and help with locating lost items.
This affects people who have not just Echo devices but also Ring floodlight and spotlight cameras.
Sidewalk will be launched on June 8. For now, it's only available in the United States, the company said.
Extend range of Amazon devices
The whole point of this is to extend the range of low bandwidth devices, so if your network goes down, your Echo Dot can still work by sharing connectivity with neighbors who have similar devices. It will also help tile trackers work better. The little devices designed to keep track of important items can use Amazon Sidewalk to be more efficient and accurate.
How to disable or enable
Obviously, some people have raised security concerns about this sharing situation. Amazon said it has multiple layers of privacy and security to protect your personal information, but customers also have the option to opt out. If you have a Ring device, go to the control center on the app or their website. If you have an Echo device, go to settings in the Alexa app.
Instructions for Alexa app:
Instructions for Ring app:
- Open the Ring app
- Go to Control Center by tapping the three-lined icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen
- Select Sidewalk and use the toggle icon to opt out
- It will ask you to confirm you opt-out. Users can opt back in the same way.