Broader connectivity can come with a price
Ring. Nest. Tile. Echo. Consumers love being connected while enjoying seamless integration. Smart homes have led to smart neighborhoods — and it’s even extending beyond those borders. Amazon recently unleashed Sidewalk — a new low-bandwidth Internet of Things network that mashes together multiple homes’ internet connections to provide widespread public connectivity.

By allowing Echo speakers, Ring security products, Tile trackers and other connected devices to share data using low-energy Bluetooth wireless and 900Mhz radio signals, urbanites and suburbanites with Sidewalk-enabled devices can effectively tap into a neighbors’ online connections on-demand. 
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   Discover more details here     Designed to help ensure that smart locks, smart lights and smart alarms stay connected, even if your in-home Wi-Fi signal disconnects, these features now come auto-enabled on Amazon devices. Strangers can’t see your network, personal data or individual connected in-home devices, but by tapping into this network of mini-networks, they can still access a sliver of your home’s internet connection — presenting potential privacy concerns.

By using Sidewalk, you might find yourself sharing more activity and information on personal habits and preferences than you realize — even your finances. Although data sharing is limited and encrypted, cybercrime is now the fastest-growing form of criminal activity. It’s best to be guarded where you can when sharing any kind of information on the internet.

Want to opt out of this uninvited upgrade? Just download Amazon’s free Alexa app for smartphones, select Settings from the menu, tap “Account Settings“ and then toggle the slider switch on Amazon Sidewalk to “Off.“ Likewise, you’ll also want to disable “Community Finding“ features (located right below) if activated to shut down location-tracking features. After all, it’s one thing to be a good neighbor — it’s quite another to let random strangers come traipsing into your digital home.
- Scott Steinberg