Employees At Amazon's Ring Have Apparently Been Spying On Customers

Amazon's Ring Gave Employees Access to Customer Security Camera Feeds Report

The Intercept report claims that since acquiring Ring, Amazon has since put more restrictions on access to videos, however employees can still get around this. Setting up an at-home panopticon might feel more secure, but know you might not be the only one keeping a watchful eye on your home.

While this was happening with the Ukraine team, executives and engineers were granted overreaching access to live feeds from some customer cameras. Thanks to a report from The Intercept, Ring customers should be more anxious about the company's employees watching them than anyone else.

It's not the first time privacy concerns have been raised about smart home systems, and Ring especially, but this is something we're going to have to deal with more in the coming years. The source also claims that Ring unnecessarily gave engineers and executives in the USA access to the technical support video portal the company operated, which gave those people unfiltered, around the clock access to live video feeds from some customer cameras with no regard to whether the Ring employees needed access to that data for their job.

The source also recounted instances of Ring engineers "teasing each other about who they brought home" after returning from a romantic night on the town.

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All that's apparently required to tap into the live feeds is a customer's email address. Low-level employees allegedly still had access to user information and videos as early as October 2018. Ring is a manufacturing company responsible for producing smart doorbells and cameras. At this time, the video files were unencrypted due to the "sense that encryption would make the company less valuable" expressed by leadership at the company. The company says it will abide by Europe's stronger privacy rules, which took effect in May, regardless of where a customer lives. It's not clear that participants in the Neighbors app are aware that their videos are being reviewed manually by Ring's "data operators" in Ukraine. That group has reportedly had access to the videos since 2016. We hold our team members to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our policies faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties.

According to The Intercept, Ring's Neighbours service struggled with object identification, leading to the employment of the Ukrainian team to help teach the cameras to identify things correctly. The company claims the videos used for annotation were publicly shared via the Neighborhood app and customers "who have provided their explicit written consent to allow us to access and utilize their videos for such purposes". Ring security cameras, which are made by an Amazon-owned company and can be installed on doorbells, garages, and bookshelves, reportedly gave unrestricted access to the camera feed and video recordings of a customer's home and property to the company's research and development team and a small bunch of other employees as well.

'We have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behavior, we will take swift action against them, ' they added.

Whether or not your own a Ring product now, does this change your thought of the company as a whole?

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