One of the biggest fears for a connected home is when that connection disappears. We've all experienced internet outages, causing our connected devices to become suddenly useless. For the most part, this is merely an inconvenience. But, what if someone is trying to get into your home and cuts your internet connection - killing your connected devices, such as security cameras? That is exactly the problem that Amazon is hoping to eliminate with its new Sidewalk feature.
The new feature creates a private, local network between Amazon devices. This will include some of the company's Echo, Ring, and more product lines. This private network will allow the devices within the network to switch over to one another's internet connection if the primary connection is unavailable. For some users, this feature will be an exciting addition. However, the company has made a major mistake and one that has caused other companies in the past.
This feature will be turning itself on by default. In fact, while Sidewalk networks are not already running (according to Amazon), the setting to turn it off is already available. You can head to More -> Settings -> Account Settings -> Amazon Sidewalk to turn it off. There are a number of reasons why users might want to consider turning this off.
Of course, there is the obvious issue of data caps, which are going to increase in 2021. If you have a limited amount of bandwidth, giving access to connected devices which are not your own is not a great situation at $10 per additional 50GB of usage. But, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The real situation is that connected devices are notorious for security issues, including Amazon's products. By creating an "accidental" backdoor into your private internet connection, the company is potentially creating a security nightmare for you and your family. For the same reason we have repeatedly fought against the idea of "public access" on consumer routers, we see the potential for abuse.