Hey Amarillo, Your Amazon Device Is About to Steal Your Neighbors Wifi
I got a love/hate relationship with Alexa... Yes she controls the lights in my house among other things. But there are times when Amazon gives us a nice little surprise that just has me scratching my head simply asking... "Why!?" Amazon's next move may very well ask us, just how well do we know our neighbors?
Amazon is introducing a new service called the "Sidewalk Network" and in a nutshell it's an experimental mesh network that is created by Alexa based devices sharing your and your neighbors' wi-fi with other units should the main wi-fi signal go down. Here's the official language from Amazon
Amazon Sidewalk is a shared network that helps devices like Amazon Echo devices, Ring Security Cams, outdoor lights, motion sensors, and Tile trackers work better at home and beyond the front door. When enabled, Sidewalk can unlock unique benefits for your device, support other Sidewalk devices in your community, and even locate pets or lost items. Amazon Sidewalk creates a low-bandwidth network with the help of Sidewalk Bridge devices including select Echo and Ring devices. These Bridge devices share a small portion of your internet bandwidth which is pooled together to provide these services to you and your neighbors. And when more neighbors participate, the network becomes even stronger.
There's something funny about the line where it mentions "pooling" internet. I don't know about you I don't like sharing things, especially my wi-fi. These devices according to Amazon are secure but how hard is it for someone to get into the Amazon network and use our smart devices as a backdoor into our own home wi-fi networks, and it's not out of the question once someone is in, it's just a matter of what they can get to in our homes. The internet service sharing is also weird to me. If my service is down and most of us on my street are on the same service, how does this work? I get that maybe one person may have a different provider, but it shouldn't be them who picks up the slack.
By the way, what's on your network is only what you get to see. Internet sharing is done outside the normal HTTP and Web protocols and ports so you can't mooch internet or streaming video.
If you want out, you have until June 8th to make your move.
Here's how to opt out:
First open up your Amazon Alexa App:
Click on account settings:
Select "Amazon Sidewalk"
It could be a good thing, I'm not sure. For now I think I'll keep my stuff to myself.