Attorney General William Tong warned consumers that Amazon will automatically connect their smart home devices and products to a new shared network called Amazon Sidewalk on June 8—raising concerns about consumer privacy and protections.
Amazon is launching a new feature called Amazon Sidewalk that will link smart home devices such as Alexa, Echo and Ring to a shared networking system that will enable them to connect beyond the range of a standard home wi-fi network. Starting on Tuesday, June 8, these devices will be automatically opted-in to contribute a portion of their internet bandwidth to create a shared network with neighboring smart devices. While Amazon Sidewalk will help devices stay online and up to date while outside the home, consumers may have reservations about sharing their network connection with neighbors. Tile—a Bluetooth tracker that helps users locate misplaced items such as car keys and wallets—will be the first third-party device enabled to connect to Sidewalk starting on Monday, June 14.
“Our smart home devices already have access to our most personal spaces and information, and now Amazon wants to use them to form a shared neighborhood network,” said Attorney General Tong in a release on Monday. “This is uncharted territory for the privacy and security of devices like Alexa, Echo and Ring, and existing users of those products will be defaulted into the Amazon Sidewalk network automatically on June 8. Wireless networks are already notoriously vulnerable to hacks and breaches, and families need better information and more time before giving away a portion of their bandwidth to this new system. I urge families to consider the pros and cons of joining Amazon Sidewalk, and to opt-out unless fully confident their privacy and security will be protected.”
Click here for Amazon instructions on how to opt-out of Sidewalk: Amazon.com Help: Enable or Disable Amazon Sidewalk for Your Account