What is Amazon Sidewalk?
Amazon Sidewalk is a feature built into and has recently launched on your Amazon devices (such as your echo or ring doorbell) that turns them into a small connection hub for other devices, referred to as bridges, to use enabling the smart home to extend beyond Wi-Fi coverage. Some, however, are questioning the security of network model.
How does it work?
With Sidewalk you and your neighbors each share a little bit of your internet bandwidth making one combined low frequency Bluetooth network for everyone to use. Sidewalk can use this network in a variety of ways. For instance, your Amazon devices or bridges could be used to help a neighbor locate a set of keys or pet equipped with a tile tracker. Although, you won’t be sure who is using your device as a bridge, Amazon says even though neighbors may be using a small portion of your bandwidth (or vice versa) when connected, the user won’t be able to see or access the network they are bridging from. Amazon states their overall goal is to create a very wide-range of coverage that could cover whole cities.
What are Sidewalk Bridges?
According to support.ring.com there are currently 13 devices that can be used as bridges. These are: “Ring Floodlight Cam (2019), Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019), Ring Spotlight Cam Mount (2019), Echo (3rd gen & newer), Echo Dot (3rd gen & newer), Echo Dot (3rd gen & newer) for Kids, Echo Dot with Clock (3rd gen & newer), Echo Plus (all generations), Echo Show (2nd gen & newer), Echo Spot, Echo Studio, Echo Input, and Echo Flex.”
Can I Opt Out?
Yes you can opt out of Sidewalk anytime. As soon as the program launches it will go live on your devices. So if you do not want to be a part of Sidewalk then you will have to disable it yourself. Click here to see step-by-step directions on how to disable Amazon Sidewalk for your account if you have an Amazon Echo device.
How much does it cost?
Other than your standard data rates from your internet provider, Amazon will not charge you anything to participate in Sidewalk.
How will Sidewalk affect my privacy?
According to Amazon, they’ve built Sidewalk to be safe and secure. They say that your information traveling on the network will be safe and that your device information will not be shared with other Sidewalk Bridge owners.
For the full Amazon Sidewalk Privacy and Security Whitepaper click here. Throughout these pages you can see a breakdown of Amazon Sidewalk Privacy and Security.
In conclusion, Amazon has basically created yet another smart device and that is…the smart cities. Some people may get a lot of use out of Sidewalk while others may not. Amazon claims this is a very secure system that can only make our lives easier. However, if you feel uncomfortable at any time about your privacy don’t forget you do have the option to disable it.