3 Amazon privacy settings you need to change now
Amazon Sidewalk is a neighborhood Wi-Fi-sharing feature that helps your Echo speakers and Ring cameras stay connected when they're out of range or the internet is down. (Photo: Amazon)
I wondered how much money I have spent on Amazon.com, and maybe you’d also like to see your stats. There’s an insider trick to getting a detailed report from Amazon.Tap or click here for the steps to see every single thing you’ve purchased and when on Amazon.com.
Amazon is way more than just shopping. The Echo smart speaker is a helpful tool around the house. If you’re stuck just asking for weather updates, check out these 20 smart new commands to try.
As with all things Big Tech, you can’t skip the critical steps to ensure your privacy. Keep reading to tackle three of the biggest ones.
Yes, you have an Amazon public profile
This tip always catches people off guard. As an Amazon customer, you have a profile visible to other Amazon users, created automatically.
It contains comments and ratings you have left on products purchased on the site, your biographical information, and other site interactions. Thankfully, your public profile doesn’t include your purchases or browsing history, but it’s still very telling.
Here’s how to control what’s shown on your profile:
• Sign in to your Amazon account. Click Account and Lists.
• Under Ordering and shopping preferences, click Your Amazon profile.
• Click the orange box marked Edit your public profile.
Here, you’ll see Edit public profile and Edit privacy settings.
Click through the various options to review. You can adjust the about me section, shopping lists, wish lists, any pets you added, etc. Check your community activity section, too.
Check your Echo’s Drop In settings
One of the Echo’s best features is Drop In. It connects you to an Echo speaker or display for an instant conversation. “Alexa, drop in on the garage Echo Dot.” If you have multiple Echo devices in your home, you can use this command to make an announcement. “Alexa, drop in on all devices.”
But you can’t forget the Echo speaker or display goes both ways. It also lets someone immediately listen in or watch what’s going on in the room after 10 seconds. It’s best to control these options unless you don’t mind someone hearing or watching what you’re going.
Take a look at which contacts you’ve approved for Drop In:
• Open the Alexa app on your phone.
• Tap Communicate at the bottom of the screen, and on that page, tap the contacts icon at the top right.
• Scroll through your contacts and make sure Allow Drop In is toggled on for only the right people.
Next, set permissions to enable or disable for a specific device.
• In the Alexa app, select Settings > Device Settings and choose the device you’d like to turn on/off Drop In.
• Tap Communications and then and select Drop In. Here, you can select On for permitted contacts only, My Household to drop in on only devices on my account, or Off, which means nobody can Drop In.
If you’d like to disable Drop In altogether, open the Alexa app on your phone and follow the above steps for each of your Echo devices. When you get to the Drop In page for each Echo device, select Off. That’s it, now Drop In is disabled on each of your devices.
Amazon's Echo speakers have a broadcast feature that will help you send a message to family members that might be scattered around the house.
Don’t sidestep Sidewalk
Sidewalk is essentially a mesh network that extends your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection range by up to a mile. It turns your Echo speakers and some Ring gadgets into bridge devices to give internet-connected tech a boost.
Amazon says the total monthly data is capped at 500MB per account or the rough equivalent of streaming 10 minutes of HD video. That’s not much at all.
Not so fast, though. What about your privacy? Amazon says the Sidewalk network uses three layers of encryption and that your neighbors won’t be able to see your data.
They might say that, but the Internet of Things is notorious for insecure devices and no updates. There is no standard. I switched it off.
If you want to opt-out, open the Alexa app.
• Tap More followed by Settings.
• Tap Account Settings, followed by Amazon Sidewalk.
• Turn Amazon Sidewalk off if you do not want to participate.
Note: This only applies to some devices, including Ring’s Floodlight Cam, Spotlight Cam Wired and Spotlight Cam Mount from 2019 or later, along with most Echo models (including the Dot, Plus, Show, Dot for Kids and Studio) made after 2016.
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Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.
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