The new Amazon feature called “Sidewalk” launched this month. It connects your Amazon Echo, Ring doorbell camera system, and other Amazon and Google wireless internet devices to those of your neighbors to form a new, sprawling network.
That network of information is then collected by Amazon unless the owner disables it.
According to PCMag.com, Sidewalk operates like a “low-energy network that surrounds your residence” with a potential range of half a mile.
Reacting to Amazon and Sidewalk, Dan Gainor of MRC TechWatch compares them to the feared Stasi secret police in East Germany during the Cold War.
“I don’t want to have everything I do recorded,” he tells One News Now. “If you’ve got Amazon at home, it’s recording everything. I just want you to think through what that means.”
The article by PCMag predictably jumps into technical jargon about radio spectrums and Bluetooth Low Energy, and the Sidewalk Bridge that performs the actual snooping. The article then goes on to address the issue of privacy:
Amazon, like any good data-miner, will know who’s walking by the house, knocking on the door, or unlocking a door if they happen to use or just have a Sidewalk device on their person. Talk about targeted advertising opportunities.
PCMag says Amazon has already created privacy concerns with facial-recognition technology and after partnering with police departments across the country to access video footage from Ring.
Because the Sidewalk technology was designed by Amazon to make a customer of every user, the online article includes a how-to guide to disable Sidewalk.
“I’ll be honest with you,” Gainor says, “the people you need to fear are not the government here. You need to fear private business.”
Remember, this feature automatically enrolls you, so how do you opt-out if that’s your choice? It’s easy and can be done in six quick steps.
- Open your Alexa app.
- Tap “more” in the lower left corner.
- Tap “settings.”
- Tap “account settings.”
- Tap “Amazon Sidewalk.”
- Switch it to the left, which disables it. It should then say disabled and will remain off until you turn it back on.
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.