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Amazon Sidewalk mesh network is coming: Here’s how to opt out

Amazon Sidewalk
(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon's Sidewalk mesh network is set to come online on June 8. Your Amazon-related devices are about to become part of the company's initiative to share some of your network's bandwidth with neighbors. 

Your devices will be enrolled by default into the new system on June 8, meaning millions of users will be unwittingly enrolled or co-opted into the program. The Sidewalk program is meant to extend the range of the company's low-bandwidth devices if your network goes down; it can then piggyback onto your neighbor's system until your network is back up and running. 

This is a legitimate feature, but in today's world of rampant criminal hacking and the use of ransomware attacks on the rise, any loose ends or exposed bandwidth from our personal networks is scary. Now, here comes Amazon opening the doors. Although the company promises Sidewalk will be secure in a whitepaper, we're here to show you how to opt out. 

Using the Alexa app

  • In your Amazon Alexa app, select the “More” icon at the lower right-hand corner of the screen
  • Go to “Settings” > “Account Setting” > “Amazon Sidewalk.” (Just a note: if you’re not connected to any Echo or Ring devices, you will probably not see this option.)
  • Use the toggle to disable Sidewalk

Using the Ring app

  • In your Ring app, go into your Control Center by tapping the three-lined icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.
  • Select “Sidewalk” and use the slide button to opt-out.
  • You’ll be asked to confirm your opt-out. You can opt back in the same way.

According to Amazon, opting out will not affect how your devices function, but you can do so via the Amazon Sidewalk page if you wish to opt-in at a later time. As a side note, on the same page, you will find a setting for Community Finding, which shares the location of devices connected to Sidewalk as a way to help locate items easier and more accurately. If you so choose, you can leave Sidewalk active but disable this feature by selecting the Community Finding link at the bottom of the Sidewalk page.

However, be prudent and remember to check your settings occasionally. One reader of The Verge stated she had opted out via her Alexa application only to find out later that she was opted back in again without her knowledge. So please remember to check both of your apps if you happen to have them. 

via The Verge