Amazon Sidewalk, the company's new shared mesh network that helps devices like Amazon Echo devices, Ring Security Cams, outdoor lights, motion sensors, and Tile trackers work better around the house and beyond, will be switched on next week. Tens of millions of Americans own Amazon devices, and the experimental network will turn users into guinea pigs next week, according to ArsTechnica.
On June 8, users who don't opt-out will be automatically enrolled in "Sidewalk." The mesh network, created by Echoes, cameras, and other smart devices under the Amazon brand, will use a small amount of bandwidth and broadcast to nearby neighbors and or city streets.
"Amazon Sidewalk creates a low-bandwidth network with the help of Sidewalk Bridge devices, including select Echo and Ring devices. These Bridge devices share a small portion of your internet bandwidth which is pooled together to provide these services to you and your neighbors. And when more neighbors participate, the network becomes even stronger," Amazon's website said.
While Amazon does provide a white paper detailing the technical foundations of the shared mesh network, it's likely many users won't be too excited. Some might find it helpful as others don't want their networks exposed to possible security flaws.
ArsTechnica wrote a cautionary note:
There are enough theoretical risks to give users pause. Wireless technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have a history of being insecure. Remember WEP, the encryption scheme that protected Wi-Fi traffic from being monitored by nearby parties? It was widely used for four years before researchers exposed flaws that made decrypting data relatively easy for attackers. WPA, the technology that replaced WEP, is much more robust, but it also has a checkered history...
Consider the wealth of intimate details Amazon devices are privy to. They see who knocks on our doors, and in some homes they peer into our living rooms. They hear the conversations we're having with friends and family. They control locks and other security systems in our home. Extending the reach of all this encrypted data to the sidewalk and living rooms of neighbors requires a level of confidence that's not warranted for a technology that's never seen widespread testing.
There is no doubt, the benefits of Sidewalk for some, but users will be guinea pigs. To protect the network security of your home network and even your family, you may want to opt-out of the program before next week.
"Amazon Sidewalk opt-out" is the first on this web search query.
Google Search Trends shows rising search trends for people trying to figure out how to disable Sidewalk.
Turning off Sidewalk is easy:
- Opening the Alexa app
- Opening More and selecting Settings
- Selecting Account Settings
- Selecting Amazon Sidewalk
- Turning Amazon Sidewalk Off