Amazon is planning to automatically enroll owners of its devices in a program that would share a slice of their internet connection with neighbors, beginning June 8.

Amazon Sidewalk is a low-bandwidth shared network the tech giant says will not only allow your devices to work better, but help locate lost items.

The network shares “a small portion of your internet bandwidth which is pooled together to provide these services to you and your neighbors,” reads a description on Amazon’s website. “And when more neighbors participate, the network becomes even stronger,” it claims.

Amazon says its Sidewalk feature has multiple layers of privacy and security to protect personal information, but users will have the option to turn off Sidewalk if they decide not to participate.

Ring owners with an eligible device can opt out by visiting the control center in the Ring app or Ring website. Customers who own an eligible Echo device can make changes in Settings in the Alexa app.

Amazon says customers who purchase an eligible Echo device for the first time will have the chance to disable Sidewalk during the setup process.

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

And that’s it! Opting out will not (according to Amazon) in any way affect the current function of your devices. But if you decide you do want to opt back in, or you want to opt out sometime in the future, you can come back to the “Amazon Sidewalk” page and use the toggle.

Note that in the same page you’ll see a setting for “Community Finding,” which will share the approximate location of the devices connected by Sidewalk in order to make location-dependent items like Tile more accurate. If you want, you can leave Sidewalk active but disable “Community Finding” by selecting the “Community Finding” link at the bottom of the “Amazon Sidewalk” page and then toggling it off.

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