(WFSB) - Amazon smart device users may want to turn off a new feature, if they don't want them to essentially become public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong warned consumers that Amazon will automatically connect their smart home devices and products to a new shared network called "Amazon Sidewalk" on June 8.

The automatic enrollment has raised concerns about consumer privacy and protections.

Tong said Amazon Sidewalk will link smart home devices such as Alexa, Echo and Ring to a shared networking system that will enable them to connect beyond the range of a standard home wi-fi network.

Amazon smart device users may want to turn off a feature before Tuesday, if they don't want them to essentially become public wifi hotspots.

Starting on Tuesday, June 8, these devices will be automatically opted-in to contribute a portion of their internet bandwidth to create a shared network with neighboring smart devices.

While Amazon Sidewalk will help devices stay online and up to date while outside the home, Tong said consumers may have reservations about sharing their network connection with neighbors. 

"It's important to keep in mind that broadband, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth are not 100 percent secure. There have been cases in the past of hackers getting into those networks, so we're going to be exposed to some risk," said Attorney General William Tong. 

Tong's office is making people aware because the automatic linking begins on Tuesday and he says transparency could have been better. 

"That's a ton of really important and personal information. Amazon has a lot of information and we want to make sure from a privacy perspective that we're doing everything we can to protect it," Tong said. 

Tile, a Bluetooth tracker that helps users locate misplaced items such as car keys and wallets, will be the first third-party device enabled to connect to Sidewalk starting on Monday, June 14.

"They could get into all my accounts because everything is linked nowadays," said Jessica Jordan. 

To disable Amazon Sidewalk, follow the instructions for the Alexa app here.

Copyright 2021 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(1) comment

Clackakitty

Uh, how about requiring that users opt-in rather than opt-out? Whose side is government on, anyway?

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