If you have any Echo devices or Ring smart home cameras, you’ll want to keep reading.
On Tuesday, Amazon released Amazon Sidewalk, a shared network that benefits other Sidewalk-enabled devices. It works by pooling small amounts of internet bandwidth from connected devices (called Sidewalk Bridges) in the neighborhood. The goal of the program is to help extend the bandwidth range of working devices, as well as help devices stay online longer in the event of spotty Wi-Fi.
If you own any of the following supported devices, you may have been automatically enrolled in the program.
- Ring Floodlight Cam (2019)
- Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019)
- Ring Spotlight Cam Mount (2019)
- Echo (3rd gen and newer)
- Echo Dot (3rd gen and newer)
- Echo Dot for Kids (3rd gen and newer)
- Echo Dot with Clock (3rd gen and newer)
- Echo Plus (all generations)
- Echo Show (all models and generations)
- Echo Spot
- Echo Studio
- Echo Input
- Echo Flex
According to USA Today, Ring device owners who want to opt out of Amazon Sidewalk can do so by visiting the control center in the Ring app or on the Ring website. Customers who own an Amazon Echo device can make changes in Settings in the Alexa app.
If you’re concerned about the privacy and security aspect of this feature, the company has listed the following PDF on their website.
Cybersecurity comes into play when companies roll out these types of features. Although Amazon claims to have multiple layers of security in place, nothing is 100% foolproof. Not to mention the automatic opt-in for some customers feels a little underhanded.
While creating a more robust network makes sense on Amazon’s end, it could potentially open up doors for cyber attacks and hacking, as well as spying or other unwanted behavior. There’s a greater potential for abuse when more people have access to your network, and thereby your sensitive information.
Remember to disable or turn off features on your devices that don’t align with your security needs.
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