Last week, Amazon opened its Sidewalk protocol to third-party developers. Sidewalk is a large mesh network that draws on people’s home internet connections across the US. It’s a service that requires a lot of trust, and so far, most of the devices on it happen to be Amazon’s own products. But that’s about to change — and as a result, Sidewalk’s privacy safeguards are about to be tested at a much larger scale.
No connected device is ever truly 100 percent private or secure. But so far, despite some initial concerns, Sidewalk has avoided any major privacy disasters. Here’s a rundown of how Sidewalk works, the risks it might pose to you as a user, and what we know about Amazon’s plans to defuse them.