US Amazon customers have a week to opt out of Sidewalk -- here's why you should
You've probably heard of Amazon Sidewalk, the company's home networking system. In fact Sidewalk is a bit more than that, it involves devices like Echo speakers and Ring doorbells becoming part of 'mesh networks'.
These networks will, says Amazon, simplify the process of setting up new devices, keep them online even when out of range of home Wi-Fi, and extend the range of tracking devices. However, customers have only a week to opt out if they don't want their devices to be enrolled in Sidewalk.
Why would you want to opt out? Several reasons, there have been concerns over Sidewalk's transparency and there are worries that it may lead to users breaching their internet service provider's T&Cs.
Sidewalk creates a low-bandwidth network of smart home devices, what this means in practice is that, for example, a new Echo can set itself up using a neighbor's Wi-Fi, or a security camera can carry on sending motion alerts when its usual connection to the internet is disrupted, by using the connection of another camera across the street.
All of which is fine if you trust Amazon, but the company doesn't have a stellar record when it comes to keeping its smart devices secure. Having leaked Ring passwords and left feeds open to interception in 2019.
If you want to opt your devices out of Sidewalk you have until June 8th to do so before they're automatically enrolled. Here's what you need to do:
For Echo devices, open the Alexa app and go to: More > Settings > Account Settings > Amazon Sidewalk > Off.
For Ring devices visit the control center in the Ring app or website and disable Sidewalk as a feature.