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Amazon Sidewalk is... LIVE! Will you turn it off?

If you're one of those people who made the decision to invest in an Amazon product, you may be thinking twice about that decision with the launch of Amazon Sidewalk. After this post, I hope to leave you better informed about keeping the service enabled or disabling it for personal reasons.

Amazon Sidewalk is software that uses IoT devices by way of turning them into a wireless hub for various smart devices. It uses your internet connection... which it should if the IoT device belongs to you, but the problem is that the Amazon Sidewalk allows others to use your internet connection through your devices (as part of a mesh network)... via their devices. Yeah... WTF, right?

When I first heard about it, my first thought was... "This is a security breach just waiting to happen", even if Amazon ensures that there are multiple layers of encryption and limited access will be granted only to the IoT devices via the Sidewalk Bridge, it's fair to be concerned.

The encryption may give some of you solace, but for me... I don't know if the risk is worth the benefit. 

While it's cool that this could essentially provide you with a city-wide mesh network for the IoT's that help you track a missing pet, or notify you of your car alarm going off at a significant distance, it's only a matter of time before someone potentially messes it up for everyone else. That's the annoying thing about hackers, they're like that hideous pimple that shows up on your big day (whatever the occasion)... but they're far worse.

That's my concern, and I don't know how anyone would be able to do it... but I'm sure there are hackers out there cracking their knuckles ready to figure it out.

Amazon Sidewalk is a feature in the following devices (it was dormant until... today):

Echo Show

Echo Plus

Echo Dot (2nd Gen & Up)

Echo (2nd Gen & Up)

Echo Studio

Ring Floodlight Cam (2019)

Ring Spotlight Cam (2019)

Ring Car Alarm

Tile + More to come!

Oh... and another thing, I know it's a benefit to users, but what is Amazon getting out of this? I suspect that they will be able to get a boost in terms of  logistics at no cost to them. So the product that you bought from them, which wasn't given to you free in exchange for this initiative could also potentially help them by way of this mesh network if you choose to keep your IoT devices enabled.

I can't say that for sure, but it's easy to assume that they will take advantage of the Sidewalk Bridge in some way even if it sells more of the products that will use this a lot. If you choose to leave it enabled because it's no big deal to you, that's cool... but consider any potential data caps you may have because if you're about to hit your limit... would Amazon know you're at your limit? They couldn't possibly know that, which could send you over... possibly for a complete stranger. It will only use 500MB per month, but that's something to keep in mind if you don't disable Amazon Sidewalk.

If you aren't comfortable with the internet sharing lovefest, you can opt-out by going to your Settings > and then your Account Settings > and then your Amazon Sidewalk settings> from there... turn it off!

I like some of the Amazon deals, I use select Amazon services, buy groceries every blue moon + other products including Prime deals where you can score a Fire TV for $99.99... so I'm not just some hater of Amazon. I do have a problem with things like what may potentially happen with Amazon Sidewalk.

So do what you will with the information, I personally haven't purchased any of the Echo products, and... the same can be said about the Facebook Portal or Google's Nest Speaker (because you never know what a company or a hacker will do).

Since I lean in the direction of... no, check out this video from TWiT that leans towards a... yes!

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