Amazon Sidewalk's privacy settings: What to know about sharing your home's Wi-Fi On by default and launching June 8, Sidewalk allows other people's devices near your home to stay connected by borrowing a sliver of your bandwidth.

The Echo Dot, along with the watch, is one of several Amazon and Ring gadgets that will double as a Sidewalk Bridge starting June 8.

this Tuesday, June 8 will launch Amazon Sidewalk, a new feature that promises to keep your home appliances better connected, especially around the edges of your property. The gist is that select Amazon Echo smart speakers and Ring gadgets will serve as bridges capable of connecting with other Sidewalk-enabled devices over long distances using wireless. bluetooth LE Or a 900MHz LoRa signal—plus a tiny fraction of your home Wi-Fi bandwidth. By doing so, these products will become part of a mesh network of sorts, with your Echo acting as a middleman between your home network and, say, those smart lights in the backyard that sit at the edge of Wi-Fi range. .

The sidewalk isn’t just for your outdoor lights and other smart home devices: it’s for everyone’s gadgets. If your neighbor uses a Sidewalk-enabled mailbox sensor that is in range of sidewalk bridges in your home, that sensor may very well be using Your Network to connect to the cloud. Amazon insists that those broadcasts are small in size, fully encrypted, and that no two Sidewalk users will ever be able to access each other’s networks or devices, but the idea is still there. raise a lot of eyebrows.

Even more worrisome for some: the pavement is enabled by default, so if you don’t want to participate you’ll need to navigate to the Account Settings section of the Alexa app to turn it off. When you do, you’ll notice that Sidewalk actually comes with two different privacy permissions: a main toggle for turning Sidewalk on and off, and a second toggle that controls something called “community search.” is. Unlike the main sidewalk permission, the community search permission is turned off by default.

Amazon explains that this is the second permission all about tile trackers and other sidewalk-enabled devices to help people find things.

An Amazon spokesperson says, “If you also enable Community Search, you have the opportunity to help your neighbors by sharing the approximate location of your bridge to provide benefits such as helping you find your pet. option.” “Neighbors using community search will not be able to see the exact address of your sidewalk bridge. They will only see an approximate location. This setting will apply to all of your sidewalk bridges.”

It’s important to note that Amazon anonymizes that location data. If I had Community Finding turned on and someone dropped a wallet with a Sidewalk-enabled Tile tracker outside my home, they would receive an alert with the approximate area where the wallet is located or the nearest nearby intersection. That alert will not identify me or my home, and it will not allow that person to contact me or access my home network.


Amazon Sidewalk is enabled by default but the “Community Search” feature, which shares the approximate location of your home with other people, is off by default.

In a nutshell, here’s what’s and isn’t by default with Amazon Sidewalk:

on by default

  • Localized Bluetooth LE connections between sidewalk bridges and sidewalk-enabled devices in your home
  • Long distance, Bluetooth LE and 900MHz connections between your Sidewalk bridges and Sidewalk-enabled devices outside your home, including other people’s devices
  • Long distance, Bluetooth LE and 900MHz connections between your Sidewalk-enabled devices and the Sidewalk bridges outside the home, including other people’s bridges
  • Sharing bandwidth to send these signals to Amazon’s servers using your home network (no more than 80Kbps per transmission and 500MB of data per month)

Off by default, community search must be opted in

  • Location alerts that share the approximate and unknown location of your home with other users when they lose a sidewalk-enabled device such as a Tile Tracker within range of your sidewalk bridge, or vice versa

For reference, here’s a full list of devices that double as sidewalk bridges, along with the protocols they’ll support. So far, only circular, 4th Generation Amazon Echo, the amazon echo show 10, the Ring Floodlight Cam and wired ring spotlight cam This includes 900 MHz radios, which can connect to devices up to half a mile away. (BLE broadcasts happen at a maximum of 100 meters.) At launch, the only Sidewalk-enabled devices that can connect to those 900 MHz radios are CareBand’s wearable sensors, designed to track people with dementia. but more should follow suit in the coming months.

  • Amazon Echo (Second-Gen, 2017, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo (Third-Gen, 2019, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo (4th-gen, 2020, BLE and 900 MHz)
  • amazon echo dot with watch (First-Gen, 2019, BLE Only)
  • amazon echo dot with watch (Second-Gen, 2020, BLE only)
  • amazon echo dot (First-Gen, 2016, BLE only)
  • amazon echo dot (Second-Gen, 2016, BLE only)
  • amazon echo dot (Third-Gen, 2018, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo Dot (4th-gen, 2020, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition (Third-Gen, 2020, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo Plus (First-Gen, 2017, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo Plus (Second-Gen, 2018, BLE only)
  • amazon echo show (First-Gen, 2017, BLE only)
  • amazon echo show (Second-Gen, 2018, BLE only)
  • amazon echo show 5 (2019, BLE only)
  • amazon echo show 8 (2019, BLE only)
  • amazon echo show 10 (2020, BLE and 900 MHz)
  • amazon echo spot (2017, BLE only)
  • Amazon Echo Studio (2018, BLE only)
  • Ring Floodlight Cam (2019, BLE and 900 MHz)
  • Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019, BLE and 900 MHz)

How to Adjust Your Sidewalk Settings

To turn off Sidewalk (or turn on Community Finding), open the Alexa app and tap more icon bottom right.

Tap Settings> Account Settings > Amazon Sidewalk To find the main toggle for Amazon Sidewalk.

Tap community search To find the second toggle for location sharing.

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