Amazon Sidewalk to share your network with strangers

Amazon Sidewalk is meant to give better connectivity to all the gadgets that make our lives easier, but some worry it could put your security at risk.

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All users of Amazon devices such as Echo, Show and Ring doorbells will automatically be enrolled.

The shared networks will start on June 8, but were announced back in 2019, Geek Wire reported.

It will allow bandwidth to be pooled with that of your neighbors to create a web of connectivity.

“When more neighbors participate, the network becomes even stronger,” Amazon promises, according to USA Today.

The tech giant says Sidewalk has privacy and security built in to protect your personal information, but if that’s not enough for you to take part, then you’ll have to opt out of Sidewalk, CNET reported.

“Data shared over the Sidewalk network is protected with three layers of encryption, only accessible by the devices you choose, and automatically deleted every 24 hours to protect your privacy,” Amazon said.

The Sidewalk service is free, Amazon said.

For Ring owners, you opt out by going to the control center of either the Ring app or website.

For Echo devices, you have to change the settings in the Alexa app.

Amazon has a list of supported devices that will connect to Sidewalk:

  • Echo Show
  • Echo (third gen and newer)
  • Echo Dot (third gen and newer)
  • Echo Dot for Kids (third gen and newer)
  • Echo Dot with Clock (third gen and newer)
  • Echo Plus
  • Echo Spot
  • Echo Studio
  • Echo Input
  • Echo Flex
  • Ring Floodlight Camera (2019)
  • Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019)
  • Ring Spotlight Cam Mount (2019)

Tile devices will also be supported starting June 14, Geek Wire reported.

Eventually, a system called CareBand, a wearable device for people living with dementia, will be able to tap into Sidewalk for activity tracking and calling for help, doing away with the need of pairing the device with a smartphone or Wi-Fi network, CNET reported.

For more on the Sidewalk network, click here and here.