Amazon introduced new technology this week to share the Internet with customers. which the company says will improve the performance of some devices. But there are also privacy advocates involved.
If you own an Alexa-enabled Echo device or some Ring cameras, Amazon will be able to use part of your home Wi-Fi to create a new network..
“Amazon’s sidewalk is an ad hoc mesh network that takes advantage of Amazon’s smart devices,” said CBS News technology journalist Dan Patterson. The new service uses a small amount of WiFi at home with some Amazon products and is used to create a shared network. Within the neighborhood, the so-called Sidewalk Bridge allows devices with unstable Wi-Fi to connect.
Wireless networks also work with tile trackers. This can be used to find lost items such as keys or pets.
Amazon has confirmed that the network has privacy protection.
“Customer privacy and security are fundamental to building Amazon Sidewalk. The pavement is designed with multiple layers of privacy and security to secure data traveling on the network and to keep customers safe and secure. It noted that Sidewalk Bridge owners “did not receive any information about devices owned by others connected to Sidewalk, and Amazon was unable to view the content of messages sent through Sidewalk.”;
Jon Callas of the Electronic Frontier Foundation believes that networks will not affect Wi-Fi speeds. “The number of networks they say they will use is both very low bandwidth and relatively small,” he said. The user will automatically register.
Ashkan Soltani, a former chief technologist at the Federal Trade Commission, has similar concerns.
“This should be a very selective feature,” he said. “People pay cable providers for these services, right? So for Amazon to masturbate with bandwidth is pretty dubious, I think.”
Amazon’s Echo and Ring devices are set to connect to the Sidewalk Bridge. They include:
- Ring Floodlight Cam (2019)
- Wired Ring Spotlight Cam (2019)
- Ring Spotlight Cam Mount (2019)
- Echo (3rd generation and later)
- Echo Dot (3rd generation and later)
- Echo Dot (3rd generation and later) for kids
- Echo Dot with watch (3rd generation and later)
- Echo Plus (all models)
- Echo Show (2nd generation and later)
- Echo Spot
- Echo Studio
- echo input
- Echo Flex
The network is enabled by default. Amazon customers who wish to cancel Sidewalk Bridge can turn it off by following these steps:
- Open the Alexa app on your iPhone or Android device.
- Tap More menu.
- Tap Settings
- touch the amazon pavement
- Toggle the slider to “Off”.