Why Is Amazon Sidewalk Bad?

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Amazon Sidewalk is a shared network developed by Amazon that uses a small portion of your internet bandwidth to connect low-power devices like pet trackers, smart lights, door locks, and more to the internet. While there are potential benefits to this service, such as improving the coverage and functionality of smart devices, there are several reasons why some people have concerns about Amazon Sidewalk. In this article, we will delve into these concerns in detail and provide an in-depth look at the potential downsides of Amazon Sidewalk.


Amazon Sidewalk can be viewed as “bad” due to concerns about privacy, potential misuse, lack of visibility into the data stream, the opt-out default setting, potential bandwidth issues, lack of data control, and risks associated with third-party developers. Despite Amazon’s security measures, these concerns have led some users to opt out of the service.

Privacy Concerns

One of the main concerns about Amazon Sidewalk is related to privacy. Amazon Sidewalk uses your Echo and Ring devices to route data from other devices through your home WiFi network. This means that your devices are connecting to and sending data across a network made from bandwidth borrowed from strangers. While Amazon has implemented three layers of encryption to secure data, some people are still uncomfortable with this arrangement.

Potential for Misuse

There are concerns that devices like Tile trackers, which are part of the Sidewalk network, could be misused for stalking. For example, someone could drop a Tile tracker in another person’s bag and use the Sidewalk network to track their movements.

Lack of Visibility

Security experts have highlighted potential security risks due to a lack of visibility into the data stream of the Sidewalk network. This lack of visibility could make it difficult for IT teams to mitigate potential risks, as they may not be able to see what is happening in the Sidewalk tunnel.

Opt-Out Default

Amazon Sidewalk is an opt-out service, meaning it is enabled by default on compatible devices. This has led to criticism that Amazon is effectively forcing users to participate unless they actively choose to opt out. Some people may not even be aware that they are part of the Sidewalk network.

Potential Bandwidth Issues

While Amazon has stated that Sidewalk uses only a small portion of your internet bandwidth and is unlikely to slow down your internet connection, some users may still be uncomfortable with the idea of their bandwidth being used for this purpose.

Data Control

There are concerns about the lack of data control with the Sidewalk service. Questions have been raised about where the data goes and what risks this may introduce.

Third-Party Developers

Amazon has opened its Sidewalk protocol to third-party developers, which could potentially uncover bugs and other vulnerabilities that have not been considered. There are also questions about how Amazon plans to ensure developers comply with Sidewalk’s privacy policies.

While these concerns exist, it’s important to note that Amazon has taken steps to address privacy and security issues. For example, it has implemented multiple layers of encryption to secure data and has a process in place to revoke access to specific devices or an entire product line if a third party fails to act in good faith. However, if you’re uncomfortable with these potential issues, you can opt out of Amazon Sidewalk through the settings in your Amazon Alexa or Ring app.

In conclusion, while Amazon Sidewalk may offer benefits for some users, there are valid concerns about privacy, security, and data control that need to be considered. It’s important to weigh these concerns against the potential benefits and make an informed decision about whether or not to participate in this shared network.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I opt out of Amazon Sidewalk?

You can opt out of Amazon Sidewalk by going to the settings in your Amazon Alexa or Ring app. For Alexa, go to Settings -> Account Settings -> Amazon Sidewalk, and switch it off. For Ring, go to Control Center -> Sidewalk, and then disable it.

What types of devices can connect to Amazon Sidewalk?

Amazon Sidewalk can connect to a variety of low-power devices such as pet trackers, smart lights, door locks, and Ring security cameras. It can also connect to Tile trackers, which are small devices that can be attached to objects like keys or bags to help locate them if they are lost.

Does Amazon Sidewalk cost anything to use?

No, Amazon Sidewalk is a free service provided by Amazon to extend the coverage and functionality of compatible devices.

What is the maximum bandwidth that Amazon Sidewalk can use?

Amazon Sidewalk is designed to use a small portion of your internet bandwidth. The maximum bandwidth of a Sidewalk Bridge to the Sidewalk server is 80Kbps, which is about 1/40th of the bandwidth used to stream a typical high definition video.

Can I choose which devices connect to Amazon Sidewalk?

No, you cannot choose which devices connect to Amazon Sidewalk. If you have Sidewalk enabled, all compatible devices can potentially connect to your network.

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