PSA: Amazon Sidewalk Rolls Out June 8th

Whether you own any Amazon surveillance devices or not, we know how much you value your privacy. So consider this your friendly reminder that Amazon Sidewalk is going live in a few weeks, on June 8th. A rather long list of devices have this setting enabled by default, so if you haven’t done so already, here’s how to turn it off.

Don’t know what we’re talking about? Our own Jenny List covered the topic quite concretely a few months back. The idea behind it seems innocent enough on the surface — extend notoriously spotty Wi-Fi connectivity to devices on the outer bounds of the router’s reach, using Bluetooth and LoRa to talk between devices and share bandwidth. Essentially, when Amazon flips the switch in a few weeks, their entire fleet of opt-in-by-default devices will assume a kind of Borg hive-mind in that they’ll be able to share connectivity.

A comprehensive list of Sidewalk devices includes: Ring Floodlight Cam (2019), Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019), Ring Spotlight Cam Mount (2019), Echo (3rd Gen), Echo (4th Gen), Echo Dot (3rd Gen), Echo Dot (4th Gen), Echo Dot (3rd Gen) for Kids, Echo Dot (4th Gen) for Kids, Echo Dot with Clock (3rd Gen), Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen), Echo Plus (1st Gen), Echo Plus (2nd Gen), Echo Show (1st Gen), Echo Show (2nd Gen), Echo Show 5, Echo Show 8, Echo Show 10, Echo Spot, Echo Studio, Echo Input, Echo Flex. — Amazon Sidewalk FAQ

Now this isn’t a private mesh network in your castle, it’s every device in the kingdom. So don’t hesitate, don’t wait, or it will be too late. Grab all your Things and opt-out if you don’t want your doorbell cam or Alexa machine on the party line. If you have the Alexa app, you can allegedly opt out on all your devices at once.

Worried that Alexa is listening to you more often than she lets on? You’re probably right.

41 thoughts on “PSA: Amazon Sidewalk Rolls Out June 8th

  1. The link “here’s how to turn it off” does not have the correct instructions anymore. They moved the setting from where that article says it is. I’m not sure where they moved it to.

    They have moved settings before when people get freaked out and they don’t want people turning off things. They have done this before, moved the setting to a new location in order to hide it.

    1. Probably need to update the app as they likely added the menu setting option recently. My dad has a dot and I turned his off a few days ago using similar instructions and his alexa app was updated to the newest version.

  2. Somebody that hails me on the street often with my single word handle will be triggering one of there devices going online and now I will be causing a bigger impact and also getting tracked more! Great.

    Play hockey with those spying pucks, shooting practice on the beer can word burglars.

    1. Cause they know most people are too stupid or lazy to opt out, and if it’s opt in, that same level of stupid and lazy means nothing will ever get opted in. I guess they don’t believe in their offering enough to let it stand on it’s own and attract users. They have to force it all down our throats.

    2. In €urope too?
      If not, why?
      In €U they even need to actively opt in for the spy cookies.

      𝕮𝖊𝖙𝖊𝖗𝖚𝖒 𝖆𝖚𝖙𝖊𝖒 𝖈𝖊𝖓𝖘𝖊𝖔 𝕬𝖒𝖆𝖟𝖔𝖓 𝖊𝖘𝖘𝖊 𝖉𝖊𝖑𝖊𝖓𝖉𝖆𝖒.

        1. Reads like in €U you have to actively opt out too.
          That may be a problem with €U’s privacy law(s).

          What’s next?
          Amazon adds a wideband SDR to each digital spy for not missing any transmissions any more?

          I don’t use such datakraken toys but they may start to spy at me without me even being able to opt out!

          Time to fight back!

        2. Interesting read, I liked the “Amazon Sidewalk Privacy and Security Whitepaper” that was linked to, which actually contains some technical information:

          Protocols used:
          LoRa and/or
          frequency-shift keying (FSK), and/or
          Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

          900 MHz (LoRa and FSK)
          2.4 GHz band (BLE and ?LoRa?)

          data usage:
          The maximum bandwidth of a Sidewalk Bridge to the Sidewalk server is 80Kbps. Today, total monthly data used by Sidewalk enabled devices, per customer, is capped at 500MB.

          ( 80kbps by 60 seconds by 60 minutes by 24 hours by 30 days is roughly 26 GB or 24 GiB, which I would see as an eventual target ).

    1. Agreed. It’s sad that we live in a time where such draconian stupidity is allowed by law. How does this not break wire-tapping laws here in the US?
      In my state we have a legal right to privacy in our own homes, and cannot be legally spied on through our windows. That means that if a neighbor installs a doorbell cam that looks through my windows, they are potentially in violation of the law as I understand it (I’m not a lawyer).

      It’s a very sad day for society when government snooping is allowed into our own homes and the people welcome it gladly. I don’t understand why anyone would allow this.

      1. > It’s a very sad day for society when government snooping is allowed into our own homes and the people welcome it gladly.

        Now, now, don’t exaggerate. It’s not government doing the spying, it’s a private company doing the spying. Totally different.

        You want to know about the relationship between the private company and the government, and how much they collaborate and share information and resources? Why, that’s just none of your business! That’s private! You can’t just go violating a private company’s privacy!

  3. Whether you own any Amazon surveillance devices or not, we know how much you value your privacy.

    If they bought Amazon electronics, they obviously couldn’t care less, or are willfully ignorant of technology.

    1. Not ignorant, just don’t care. My life isn’t interesting enough for Amazon to do anything troublesome with their information about it.

      I don’t close most of the curtains in my house, either (except in the most obvious rooms).

  4. Looks like it’s time to switch out to MyCroft for a smart speaker.
    I have a Echo Dot 2nd Gen in the Garage and for the past month or two it has been acting weird. As in she will connect at random to a audio receiver via Bluetooth.

  5. So if they are connecting via Lora and providing network connectivity. What’s the ETA to people stealing your internet over Lora? I mean the router doesn’t even know these extra devices are on the network, it just looks like the ring doorbell is sucking down crazy amounts of data which spy devices already do anyway.

    I’m curious how they ensure that only Amazon devices connect to the mesh network. I’m also curious how hard it would be to pull the firmware off some cheap amazon device and start copying it’s credentials.

  6. So, even if you keep the Amazon spy devices out of your own home, ‘smart’ appliances you don’t wish to connect to the internet may still connect anyway via a neighbor’s Amazon device. Now we have to either physically disable the antenna on the ‘smart’ device, or jam the Zigbee signal. Nice.

    1. I think you’ve misunderstood the article… and the meaning of ‘smart’. It’s going to affect Amazon devices which need an internet connection to operate, presumably if you don’t want Amazon devices in your home you already don’t have Amazon devices in your home.

  7. If you have find my device activated on your Apple devices, you are a network node for their overlay network as well … currently just for their location tags, but I wouldn’t be surprised for that to expand.

  8. Just because the ‘On Air’ sign isn’t lit up, doesn’t mean cameras and microphones, aren’t still active, and recording…

    Your preference is important, and we will take note, but we wouldn’t have added all this function and features, if it wasn’t in you best interest. I’m doubtful, that going into settings, always effects a change, other than make you feel good, safe, and secure.

    With updates, settings are sometimes reset to default… How many updates do you get? And how long, before you notice, that you have to go back and change the defaults, back to what you prefer? Even disabling automatic updates, doesn’t stop some ‘critical’ updates…

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