If you have an Amazon Echo or Ring security camera, you should opt-out of your device being lumped into a shared wireless network now. Known as Amazon Sidewalk, the plan is geared toward making sure Amazon's smart home devices have connectivity even when your home WiFi isn't in range. The company plans to achieve this by taking a slice of your internet bandwidth and pooling it with that of your neighbors to create a low-bandwidth network. "When more neighbors participate, the network becomes even stronger," says the company in a press release. As of today (June 8), your devices will automatically be enrolled unless you opt-out first. If you don't like the sound of that, you're not alone.

Here are some additional articles about Amazon Sidewalk and how to opt-out of it:

  • The Guardian: "At its simplest, it means that a new Echo can set itself up using a neighbor's WiFi, or a security camera can continue to send motion alerts even if its connection to the internet is disrupted, by piggybacking on the connection of another camera across the street."
  • Ars Technica: " experiment that leaves your personal privacy and security hanging in the balance."
  • USA Today provides a good overview of devices that support Sidewalk
  • CNET has a basic overview of how it works.
  • The Verge details the opt-out process.
  • Gizmodo advises "Do it (opt-out) now."

Tim Wampler - Owner
VEI Protective Services