After months of postponements, Amazon finally released Sidewalk. It was released on June 8 and will be a useful service to connect Amazon Echo, Ring and all other connected devices even to the fall of the wireless network.
Amazon Sidewalk | What It Is And How to Disable It?
Of course it will be activated automatically unless you deactivate it. Now I will list the benefits and downsides (from a privacy point of view).
Pros and Cons
Amazon Sidewalk “a new way to stay connected”. Simply put, it creates a small mesh network, a dynamic connection structure that allows the Amazon brand tech products to remain connected even when very far from the router or even with the router turned off.
It can also work at considerable distances,> 2km, and is free for anyone with an Amazon device. Connecting to this network will make it even easier to connect devices in your Smart Home, without having to do those long processes with the application that took so long. Virtually an extra wireless connection.
All very nice if you think about it. But the problem is how this all happens. The mesh network in question is connected to all Amazon devices within 2k range, so even those of your neighbors for example.
If your Amazon ring loses the connection it could connect to the neighbour’s network automatically, but if your neighbor happens the same thing could connect to yours !!!
Location devices (to find keys, phone etc…) will also be connected to Amazon Sidewalk on June 14th. So if they were out of the range of their wifi they could be located using the aforementioned mesh network. If I said to Amazon Echo “find me the keys”, it would respond even if the locator was 2km from the house.
If it sounds familiar, well it is. Apple AirTags announced in late April does the same thing. It uses a combination of low latency Bluetooth and augmented reality to help you find your devices (or anything attached to the AirTag, like keys etc …) and Apple’s “find My” network, which already helps many people find the your phone or laptop.
Airtags and Tile Tracker (Amazon tracking device) work in a similar way, the only advantage of the Apple front is precisely augmented reality.
But are these networks stealing bandwidth connections? Yes, but only partially. Jeff Bezos’ team has already confirmed that the maximum connection will be 80 kbps, or 1/40 of the bandwidth used for a high definition video, therefore a small figure that will not exceed regardless of the task performed.
They also promise not to use more than 500 mb of data per month, so the one used by 10 minutes of streaming video always in high definition.
“Customer privacy and security are the foundation of Amazon Sidewalk,” writes Amazon in a post on the service. “Sidewalk uses three levels of encryption to keep data shared across the network securely, and the same encryption is set for all devices in the network.”
Amazon has also published a “white paper” on privacy and security around the Sidewalk, also to prevent people from thinking about sharing the network with neighbors. The system “will minimize the shared data” which however does not deny the aforementioned criticality.
The white paper demonstrates how this security has been implemented, including a variety of cryptographic algorithms to keep the network as secure as possible: it shouldn’t be possible for others to spy on your network, I stress it should. Everything should go well, but only in theory.
Having said that, in the end the point is: how much do you trust Amazon? They’ve also already said they will send data to third parties for service improvement, so it’s all about trust.
If you have chosen the Amazon brand for some time I would keep it, otherwise, all at your discretion, I would deactivate it.
If you decide to trust it, well your home will be smarter than ever. All services connected and if there will ever be connection drops you will not have any problems. The devices are connected by a bluetooth network therefore without any problems.
How to disable Amazon Sidewalk
If, on the other hand, you have decided not to trust you will have to do something since the service is implemented automatically.
- Open the Amazon Alexa app from your phone.
- Go to More -> Settings -> Account Settings -> Amazon sidewalk.