[Ed. – Oh, and it’s more than a local network: it will be linked to and controlled by Amazon. For some reason, Amazon never told you this was going to happen. If you have an Amazon smart device in your home, look for the word “Sidewalk.”]
There’s an eyebrow-raising technology buried inside millions of Amazon Echo smart speakers and Ring security cameras. They have the ability to make a new kind of wireless network called Sidewalk that shares a slice of your home Internet connection with your neighbors’ devices.
And on Tuesday, Amazon is switching Sidewalk on — for everyone.
I’m digging into my settings to turn it off. Sidewalk, which is built into Amazon devices dating back to 2018, raises more red flags than a marching band parade: Is it secure enough to be activated in so many homes? Are we helping Amazon build a vast network that can be used for more surveillance? And why didn’t Amazon ask us to opt-in before activating a capability lying dormant in our devices?
Sidewalk will blanket urban and suburban America with a low-bandwidth wireless network that can stretch half a mile and reach places and things that were once too hard or too expensive to connect. … [B]y participating, you also have no control over what sort of data you’re helping to transmit.