TECH TUESDAY: Amazon Sidewalk will automatically share your Wi-Fi

Tech Tuesday

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Amazon launched a new technology today that shares customer’s internet connections with neighbors, with the goal of boosting performance for some of it’s devices.

The device is called Amazon Sidewalk.

In this week’s “Tech Tuesday,” Kiyerra Lake explains why some privacy advocates are concerned.

Ready or not, Amazon is turning on Sidewalk mode on all compatible devices across the country.

That includes millions of Alexa and Ring devices, maybe even yours.

This means anyone is now able to use your home’s Wi-Fi without your permission. The purpose is to create a shared network within neighborhoods.

“The amount of networks that they say that they’re going to be using is both very low bandwidth and relatively small,” said Jon Callas of Electronic Frontier Foundation.

You can turn it off, but you don’t get a choice on whether it is turned on. People who want to opt out of the shared network can go into their ring or amazon app and turn it off.

“People pay a service fee to their cable provider for these services so for Amazon to help themselves to that bandwidth is pretty questionable, I think,” said Ashkan Soltani, a Former Chief Technologist.

Sidewalk allows devices with spotty wi-fi to stay connected. The wireless network would also work with tile trackers which can be used to locate lost items like keys or pets.  

Amazon said “sidewalk is designed with multiple layers of privacy and security,” and says that all data is encrypted.

Owners of most newer echo devices would be included in the network.  So are certain ring floodlight and spotlight camera users.  Some ring doorbells will be included in the coming months.

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