During the previous year, many people got more Amazon deliveries than ever before. But on June 8 Amazon stealthily delivered something to you that you should reject.
If you use Alexa, Echo or other Amazon devices, Amazon just enrolled you in a bandwidth-sharing service called Amazon Sidewalk. While it theoretically could have some benefits to a few, the potential risk is simply not worth it— in my opinion.
Simply put, Amazon will share your bandwidth with your neighbor’s devices when it deems it appropriate. So, Amazon will tout white papers saying Sidewalk is secure and tug at your heartstrings about the possibility of Sidewalk helping you find a lost pet. But if it was that beneficial why wouldn’t Amazon persuade us to sign up instead of forcing everyone into the system and making those who do not want it opt out? I strongly suggest opting out today. If it turns out you are missing something great, you can opt in again later.
But even if you assume it is totally secure today, Sidewalk is obviously a great target for hackers and with what we pay for bandwidth today, maybe we do not want to share any with our neighbors. Wasn’t that one reason we set up WiFi passwords at home? It is possible Sidewalk could prove beneficial. But I believe lawyers, who often work at home on confidential client matters, should opt out of this coerced sharing now until convinced there is a reason to opt in. We love our Echo, but we keep it unplugged mostly for similar reasons.
Opting out of Sidewalk is simple:
- Open the Alexa app
- Open More and select Settings
- Select Account Settings
- Select Amazon Sidewalk
- Turn Amazon Sidewalk Off
For more information, read Amazon devices will soon automatically share your Internet with neighbors from Ars Technica.
This is not to say Sidewalk is a terrible. You may decide to opt in later. But lawyers need to be very sensitive to any sort of bandwidth or data sharing because of the highly confidential information we hold.