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Amazon plans to connect devices by default

Amazon is getting pushback after announcing a plan that connects Alexa, Ring and other Amazon devices by default to a network that opens people’s broadband connection to shared use by others.

Why it matters: While users can choose to turn off such sharing, most people don’t change default settings, meaning their devices will automatically start sharing bandwidth after June 8.

Driving the news: Amazon’s plan calls for devices to connect automatically to its Sidewalk network and share a small amount of bandwidth to devices that don’t have an active connection.

  • Amazon says the new network will extend its products’ range, “unlock unique benefits for your device, support other Sidewalk devices in your community, and even locate pets or lost items.”
  • Amazon isn’t just putting an “open” sign on your high-speed connection. The company says bandwidth is capped at a pokey 80 Kbps, which it says is about 1/40 of what’s needed to screen a typical HD video. And Sidewalk devices will be limited to using 500 MB per month.

Yes, but: The Amazon devices won’t be sharing a lot of your bandwidth, and the company has also posted a white paper on how it plans to keep such networks safe.

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