Amazon has flipped a switch that automatically enrolled millions of its users in a program that will share Internet bandwidth between neighbors – expanding the company’s ability to track devices.
Dubbed Amazon Sidewalk, the internet-sharing program links nearby devices via Bluetooth and radio frequencies so they can stay connected to the internet via other Sidewalk-enabled devices even when disconnected from home WiFi networks.
The program already existed inside Echo and Ring security cameras dating back to 2018 and remained dormant until Tuesday.
While users do have the option to turn Sidewalk off, it has drawn scrutiny from critics concerned about the amount of data that will pass through devices to and from neighbors connected to it.
There are also concerns that the program will enable Amazon to track more users outside of their individual homes.