Privacy experts are concerned about a new offering from Amazon called Amazon Sidewalk — at least according to The Guardian.
Amazon says Sidewalk is “a shared network that helps devices work better.” The free offering, Amazon says, “can help simplify new device setup, extend the low-bandwidth working range of devices to help find pets or valuables with Tile trackers, and help devices stay online even if they are outside the range of their home wifi.”
However, “Sidewalk has come under fire for the apparent lack of transparency with which Amazon has rolled out the feature, as well as the limited time available for users to complete the tricky process required to opt out,” The Guardian reports. That time frame is one week from today.
The Guardian continues that some critics "have expressed concerns that failing to turn the setting off could leave customers in breach of their internet service provider’s terms and conditions.”
Amazon states that “Sidewalk is designed with multiple layers of privacy and security to secure data traveling on the network and to keep customers safe and in control. For example, Sidewalk Bridge owners do not receive any information about devices owned by others connected to Sidewalk.”
Still, the Guardian charges that “Sidewalk would turn every Echo speaker and Ring security camera in the US into a shared wireless network, as part of the company’s plan to fix connection problems for its smart home devices.”
The company’s devices would be used as “a springboard to build city-wide 'mesh networks' that help simplify the process of setting up new devices, keep them online even if they’re out of range of home wifi, and extend the range of tracking devices such as those made by Tile,” the Guardian says.
Amazon states that Sidewalk “helps your devices get connected and stay connected. For example, if your Echo device loses its wifi connection, Sidewalk can simplify reconnecting to your router.”
It adds: “For select Ring devices, you can continue to receive motion alerts from your Ring Security Cams and customer support can still troubleshoot problems even if your devices lose their wifi connection.”