Ring employees can reportedly access customers' live camera feeds

Ceria Alfonso
Enero 14, 2019

A report published by The Intercept reveals that Ring management is allowing employees to have access over video footages captured by their security cameras. Not only could the team access the videos of people in and around their own homes, but the team also knew precisely who the Ring customers were.

As well as that, some United States employees specifically have access to a video portal of customer cameras to allow them to give technical support; however, according to the report, even employees that didn't deal with customers had access to it.

Amazon acquired Ring for $1 billion last February and, since then, it has put in place heightened security measures to prevent employees from accessing sensitive customer data.

From there, employees could access the footage from anywhere, according to a separate report from the Information.

These employees did not need access, and one source said that there were instances of employees "teasing each other about who they brought home" after dates, as they were easily able to access each others' video feeds. Basically, if someone who had been given this access inside Ring wanted to snoop, all they needed was a user's email address. Low-level employees allegedly still had access to user information and videos as early as October 2018. Amazon-owned Ring has been one of the top players in these niches for a few years, but if you've purchased any of the company's products in the past, you may want to consider unplugging them and getting something else.

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Amazon -owned smart doorbell maker Ring is facing claims that might give some smart home enthusiasts pause.

It's impossible to know if Amazon is running a tight ship with Ring's sensitive user data now, but it's yet another reason to consider the privacy risks posed by smart home devices, particularly surveillance ones.

"We take the privacy and security of our customers" personal information extremely seriously, ' the spokesperson told the Intercept. Having previously reported on such alleged employee access in December, the Information said in its own report that users early on frequently complained of triggered alerts for such innocuous activity as a passing auto. These videos weren't encrypted because of a "sense that encryption would make the company less valuable" thanks to the expense involved. In order to improve our service, we view and annotate certain Ring video recordings.

Ring, in response to The Intercept's enquiry, stated that the videos viewed and annotated by their staff are in fact publicly-shared videos from their Neighbors service, and selected users who've explicitly consented to the sharing of their videos - while not explicitly denying the allegations it does seem to imply that the Ukranian-based development team does not have access to any and all videos. 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.

This included Ring's R&D team based in Ukraine. "In addition, we have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behaviour, we will take swift action against them". Now, Amazon's Ring security cameras have come under fire for just that.

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