If you have Amazon devices lying around your home, you may or may not know that they will be automatically added to an experimental wireless mesh service by June 8. Well, of course, unless you opt out of it before then. It looks like Amazon is relying on people not changing settings on their devices to automatically co-opt them into joining this program called Amazon Sidewalk that lets you share part of your internet bandwidth with your neighbors or people passing by on your, well, sidewalk.
If this is news to you, Amazon previously announced that they’re experimenting with something called Amazon Sidewalk. The program will automatically add Amazon devices like Alexa, Ring, Echo, Ring, security cams, outdoor lights, and Tile trackers to the program that will share a fraction of your Internet bandwidth to those nearby that don’t have connectivity and in return, your neighbors and passers-by will return the favor when your connection is acting up.
The problem here is that all Amazon devices are automatically opted-in to the program if you don’t change your settings by June 8. Given that a large percentage of people probably don’t change their settings or may not have heard about the Amazon Sidewalk program so they will most likely not be able to opt-out before then. Amazon has published a white paper about how they will be able to do this of course and if you like reading stuff like this, you can access it here.
Amazon is of course trying to hype up this program and is highlighting the benefits like keeping your devices, especially the ones outside of your house, always connected. But as Arse Technica pointed out, technologies like WiFi and Bluetooth are notoriously not that secure. Plus, you’re leaving your devices and the data that you’ve entrusted to Amazon open to those who may not have the purest of intentions.
So if you have an Amazon device and you may not want to join Amazon Sidewalk, you have a few days to opt-out of it. Go to the Alexa app and open More then go to settings. Choose account settings and then select Amazon Sidewalk. From there it’s just a matter of turning it off and you’re all set. Or rather, not set for Sidewalk.