Amazon’s decision to make Sidewalk an opt-out service rather than an opt-in one is also telling. The company knows the only chance of the service gaining critical mass is to turn it on by default, so that’s what it’s doing. Fortunately, turning Sidewalk off is relatively painless. It involves:
1. Opening the Alexa app 2. Opening More and selecting Settings 3. Selecting Account Settings 4. Selecting Amazon Sidewalk 5. Turning Amazon Sidewalk Off
No doubt, the benefits of Sidewalk for some people will outweigh the risks. But for the many, if not the vast majority of users, there’s little upside and plenty of downside. Amazon representatives didn’t respond to a request for comment.
On June 8, the merchant, Web host, and entertainment behemoth will automatically enroll the devices in Amazon Sidewalk. The new wireless mesh service will share a small slice of your Internet bandwidth with nearby neighbors who don’t have connectivity and help you to their bandwidth when you don’t have a connection.
By default, Amazon devices including Alexa, Echo, Ring, security cams, outdoor lights, motion sensors, and Tile trackers will enroll in the system. And since only a tiny fraction of people take the time to change default settings, that means millions of people will be co-opted into the program whether they know anything about it or not. The Amazon webpage linked above says Sidewalk "is currently only available in the US."
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Of course, sharing your internet with your neighbors is a good thing.
But you don't need Amazon, or any other surveillance company to do it.
My advice is to immediately locate all the Amazon devices in your
household and as a temporary measure unplug them from the electricity.
With that crisis resolved, place them into a box and take them to Free
Geek and have them run through a crusher or similar, to make sure they
can't inflict themselves on others. Joking, not joking.