Amazon Is Hoping to Share Illinoisans’ Internet Behind Their Back
Amazon is launching a new "skill" that includes nonchalantly sharing your internet with your neighbors and you may not even be aware of it.
This tactic isn't as malicious as it may seem, there is a good reason for it. Still, you may be weary.
Starting this week Amazon is launching a new feature (or setting) called "Amazon Sidewalk." This "skill" will be sitting stealthily in your Amazon device's settings. Alexa, Echo, Ring, Amazon's security cameras, and Tile trackers will all have this new feature.
What Is Amazon Sidewalk?
In short, this is Amazon's attempt at keeping the device in and out of your home functioning even if your wifi disconnects. The idea is to benefit you and your nearby neighbor(s).
Amazon describes how it works in a little more detail,
If you lose connectivity your device would just switch to a neighbor’s signal so the service wouldn’t be disrupted.
Beginning June 8, 2021, this feature will automatically be "on" for all Alexa, Echo, Ring, Amazon's security cameras, and Tile trackers. Amazon says the wifi data within your neighborhood will be pooled and each home won't use any more data than what would compare to streaming a 10-minute video.
Today, total monthly data used by Sidewalk enabled-devices, per customer, is capped at 500MB, which is equivalent to streaming about 10 minutes of high definition video.
According to this news report, only the Alexa app will allow you to opt-out of this setting.
How to 'Turn Off' Amazon Sidewalk:
Open the Alexa app.
Select “Account Settings.”
Select “Amazon Sidewalk.”
Disable “Amazon Sidewalk.”