There’s a new kind of wireless network that has been hiding inside Amazon Echoes and Ring Doorbells. If you have these devices, Amazon is going to use them to create a network called “Sidewalk”. Basically, it will use a slice of WiFi from these devices to create a low-bandwidth wireless network that can be used up to half a mile away.

Amazon is switching Sidewalk on tomorrow.

Sidewalk will come with the benefit of providing WiFi for hard-to-reach places. It might also help you connect smart devices in places where your own WiFi doesn’t reach.

But, tech experts have a laundry list of concerns and criticisms. For starters, Amazon is creating their own, closed Internet using the WiFi YOU pay for. If this sounds fine to you, don’t worry about opting-in. You ALREADY opted in when you bought your Amazon device.

But not everybody IS fine with this arrangement. A multi-billion dollar tech company owned by the world’s richest man using a utility YOU paid for rubs some people the wrong way. The fact that Amazon didn’t even bother to TELL people about this is just the rotten cherry on this putrid cake.

So, Echo and Ring Doorbell owners, you’re already opted in for this program that, again…STARTS THIS WEEK (Tuesday, June 8, to be exact).

You can shut it down (at least that’s what they WANT us to believe). Here are 3 easy steps to keep all of your precious WiFi to yourself:

  • 1.) If you’ve got an Amazon Echo, go to the Alexa app on your phone
  • 2.) Tap the MORE icon.
  • 3.) Tap on “Settings”
  • 4.) Tap on “Account Settings”
  • 5.) Tap on “Amazon Sidewalk”
  • 6.) Set the “Enable” button to off

But that’s not all! If you have a Ring device there’s a whole separate process:

  • 1.) Open the RING app on your phone
  • 2.) Tap the 3 bars at the top left corner. This will open the “Menu”
  • 3.) Tap “Control Center”
  • 4.) Scroll down to “Amazon Sidewalk”
  • 5.) Switch the “Enable” widget to the Off position.

Wow. If I didn’t know better, it almost seems like Amazon is trying to make it DIFFICULT for people to NOT share their Wifi.

Also, some people have reported that even after turning Sidewalk off, it restarts on its own. Amazon says it was a bug that they’ve fixed but, given the shady nature of this whole thing, I think I’d still check it later to make sure it STAYS off.

 

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