Amazon will soon automatically enroll customers who have specific devices into its “Amazon Sidewalk” service, which will allow for people nearby to use a share of your internet connection to help them with connectivity.
The good news is, if you’re not into that idea, you have a week to opt-out.
As Ars Technica reported over the weekend, the Amazon Sidewalk program will automatically enroll Amazon devices like Echo, Ring, Tile trackers, and others into the program on June 8.
The retail giant describes the program as sharing a “small portion of your internet bandwidth which is pooled together to provide these services to you and your neighbors.” The goal, Amazon says, is to “help devices stay online even if they are outside the range of their home Wi-Fi.”
While Amazon promises that Sidewalk was “designed with multiple layers of privacy and security to secure data traveling on the network,” the idea of allowing people you may or may not know to have a portion of your bandwidth might justifiably not sit well with people.
In fact, Amazon notes that people would not be able to see whether someone else was connected to the Sidewalk “bridge” they are enrolled in.
Ars Technica notes that wireless technology and Bluetooth, which will be used in Amazon’s Sidewalk program, have a long history of being vulnerable. But even if Amazon’s “multiple layers of privacy and security” are robust, customers still might be wary of participating in the program.
Luckily, it’s pretty easy to opt-out if you don’t want to be involved.
On Amazon’s Alexa app, if you go to the account settings menu and select “Amazon Sidewalk” you can turn the function on or off.
Meanwhile, owners of Ring cameras can visit the app or website and opt-out of Sidewalk.