Amazon has started switching Sidewalk settings from OFF to ON, without asking, to share your Internet WiFi with the public

Amazon Echo owners have begun confirming that Amazon is switching the Amazon Sidewalk setting in the Alexa app from OFF to ON without asking or notifying them. As mentioned earlier this week, this setting allows Amazon to share your internet access with the public. People are saying that they are sure the setting was disabled last week and are now finding that it has enabled itself.

AFTVnews commenter Nate saysthe Amazon Sidewalk feature was turned on within my Alexa app after I confirmed it was off in the prior four days.” He continues to say that he can’t find an email or other message to notify him that the feature was flipped on. Nate is not alone as comments on Reddit and Twitter are indicating the same thing, such as one person sayingI’m 100% sure that it wasn’t enabled when I got the email last week and checked it then but tonight it was.

There are also reports of a new Amazon Sidewalk step during the initial setup of Amazon Echo smart speakers. The step asks if you want to enable Sidewalk or skip setting it up. One person says that “I hit skip but then a minute later I was going through my setting and Sidewalk was enabled,” so it seems like choosing to skip the feature also doesn’t ensure it stays off.

Amazon Sidewalk, when enabled, allows your Echo and Ring devices to share your internet access with both your devices and the devices of anyone else who happens to be within range. Amazon says that a Sidewalk device, which includes nearly all Echos, Echo Dots, and Echo Shows, will use up to 80Kbps of bandwidth when sharing internet access. The total monthly data that Amazon Sidewalk can use is 500MB per account. Proponents of the feature argue that it is a small amount of data that will go unoticed, while those opposed to it feel that it should strictly be an opt-in feature, regardless of the amount of data it consumes.

To check on your Amazon Sidewalk setting and/or to disable it, open the Alexa app and tap the “More” button in the lower right corner and then select “Settings” from the side menu. From there select “Account Settings” and then “Amazon Sidewalk” to see the toggle that lets you enable or disable the feature.

31 comments
  1. Ken says:

    Thanks for this. After reading the article about Sidewalk setting, last week,i checked out to make sure it was turned off. It was. Funny thing, I checked again today and it was on. I find that extremely irritating. (OK, I’m pissed.)
    So the question is, besides turning this off again and checking iy once a week, what can we do about this? I’d love to hear suggestions.

  2. Lvmykyds says:

    Thank you. Sharing this to my friends.

  3. Keith says:

    But Amazon will apologize and really mean it…until the next time they do something shady.

  4. RENE W. POIRIER says:

    I just read this article and checked my settings. Sure enough it was active!
    That is just wrong!
    What can we do about this to stop this?

  5. Alex D says:

    Why would Amazon do this? Why is it even a “feature”?? This seems like a huge security flaw waiting to be exploited.

    The only “Alexa” devices I have is a Gen 1 FireTV. Maybe a silly question but this setting doesn’t apply here right? Even more reason to switch that out for the new Google TV.

    • LDBetaGuy says:

      Like you, the only Alexa device I have is a Fire TV (4K Stick). While I don’t think the sidewalk setting applies to Fire TVs (or does it?), this has completely made me lose faith in Amazon and any Alexa enabled device. I also have a Roku Ultra and Apple TV 4K in my main system. As soon as I finish posting this message, I’m unplugging my Fire TV and putting it away. I won’t miss it. Amazon has gone way over the line.

  6. Al517 says:

    Thanks for the great info. I checked the Alexa app and Sidewalk was on. I would have never known without you help, thanks so much !!!

  7. Scott says:

    When I checked after the announcement, I also saw mine was already off. I decided to switch it on and then off again to confirm. Doing this appears to have kept it off since it is still off as of today.

  8. Charlie_ says:

    This should be a class action lawsuit in the making.

  9. Jim says:

    I dont even have a sidewalk option

  10. Jim says:

    Elias, what happened to the “older posts” tab that used to be at the bottom of your front page? Or maybe I missed in an ad? I always like to scroll back and read articles that I missed

  11. Agent17 says:

    I had not checked the Sidewalk settings in my Alexa app until now, it was indeed on.

  12. Nate says:

    Elias, thanks for bumping this issue (and my comment) back up to the top of your front page. Anecdotally, I have now confirmed the exact same scenario (Sidewalk initially being off, now being turned on in the past 4 days without a notification email) for three other households that I have set up Amazon equipment for.

    To see this exact same issue being confirmed on Reddit en masse is very concerning. I hope Amazon makes a statement on this soon.

  13. djino says:

    I never checked this setting until now and noticed it on as well.

  14. Ujn Hunter says:

    Bogus! Turned it off again… Lawsuit if they flip it back on again?

  15. David Fleetwood says:

    I hadn’t opened the app in weeks, went and checked and sure enough it was on. It looks like I need to segregate these devices onto their own SSID, this is not okay.

  16. TechyChris says:

    Mine is still off, it was originally on, I turned it off as soon as I got the email from Amazon a couple weeks ago.

  17. TheBigDarbowski says:

    What if i only have a Fire Tv Cube 2 in my house?

    • TechyChris says:

      If you only have a Cube 2 it shouldn’t be an issue… For now. But if you want full control over ALL Alexa settings I would install the Alexa app on a mobile phone/device and link your Cube to it. Personally I feel there is a disconnect in settings visibility between what you can see on the Cube and what you can see on the actual Alexa app, but maybe that’s just me.

  18. Lvmykyds says:

    How do you check for the sidewalk settings on a windows browser? My parents have an Echo Show but they do not use the phone or fire app.

  19. Joe says:

    Doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, community finding is disabled by default as far as I can tell. I do appreciate this article and letting people know.

  20. Al says:

    Will fire sticks be impacted? I haven’t found any settings linked to sidewalk in the phone or TV apps.

  21. Ujn Hunter says:

    Just checked my settings today after it was supposed to “Go Live” (?) and thankfully my Sidewalk is still set to “Disabled”.

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