What You Need To Know
Amazon Sidewalk: A No-Go for Privacy and Security

Millions of folks that have purchased an Amazon Alexa device or a Ring camera opted into a new service from Amazon known as Sidewalk

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Millions of folks that have purchased an Amazon Alexa device or a Ring camera for their homes recently are all about to be opted into a new service from Amazon known as Sidewalk. The online retail giant announced in their hardware events and in a November email to all of their users that the service would be rolling out soon, and users would be “opted-in” by default.

Opting out of data collection

This is a big story, and whether we like it or not, Amazon isn’t the only company on the internet collecting data about our devices, networks, and online browsing habits. Other big tech platforms such as Google, Facebook, and more serve ads and social trackers all over the internet to scoop up those intimate details, as well.

The best defense against bulk data collection about you is to use a trusted VPN. Quality resources such as vpnoverview.com have an extensive collection of info on some of the best VPN providers and how they can help you browse anonymously.

What is Amazon Sidewalk and what does this announcement mean?

Amazon’s new Sidewalk service essentially creates a secondary network apart from your primary home network, used by your Amazon smart devices, including Alexa Echo devices and Ring cameras.

If your neighbors also have these devices this network is shared with them so that in the event that your primary network connection goes down, these devices can create a sort of mesh network of their own and continue functioning.

The problem with this is that the service allocates roughly 500MB of bandwidth all to itself every month. While that might not sound like a lot of data, it can be a good chunk for someone who is on a metered connection and values every kilobyte they can get.

The other issue with this service? Amazon has chosen to opt-in all of its users by default. So if you have an Alexa or Ring device, your devices will be part of the Sidewalk project by default unless you choose to opt out.

Since the information and source code related to Sidewalk is also proprietary, you have no clue whether your devices are really being opted out of the project, whether or not this connected network can be easily hacked, and how much of your own internet bandwidth the devices will siphon over time to share their connections.

Digital privacy and security in your home

While it may seem like online privacy is quickly becoming a thing of the past, there are many things you can still do to preserve it. One of the best and simplest ways you can defend your online privacy is to simply opt out of having any of these smart home gadgets in your home to begin with.

Amazon isn’t a company that is well known for doing everything possible to protect the privacy of its users, and simply choosing not to have an Amazon Alexa device or a Ring camera to begin with is probably the easiest way to avoid being part of Sidewalk and the possibilities of your devices snooping on you. To ensure your online habits are protected, always use a VPN to guard your true location and digital identity.