Monday, 18 March, 2019

Amazon's Ring let employees watch live footage from customers' cameras, report claims

Ring reportedly gave employees access to customer video feeds Amazon-owned Ring has reportedly been spying on customer camera feeds
Sandy Mccarthy | 14 January, 2019, 08:27

The Ukraine team was also provided with a corresponding database that linked each specific video file to corresponding specific Ring customers.

Months later, Ring transmitted its users videos without encryption.

A source familiar with the troubling practice told The Intercept that Ring also provided senior executives and engineers in the United States with access to unfiltered live feeds from customer cameras - even though having access to such sensitive data was not necessarily required to carry out their jobs. We implement systems to restrict and audit access to information.

According to The Intercept, Ring has been storing videos from all user's smart camera products in an unencrypted cloud folder that is freely available to employees.

In some cases, employees would check their coworkers' feeds and tease them whenever they saw them bringing home dates, the Intercept said.

Graham says Trump isn’t giving in on southern border wall
Eight Republicans also broke rank to vote with the Democrats last week to restore funding to the Treasury Department and the IRS. The Post-ABC poll said a slight majority (54 percent) opposes construction of the wall, with 42 percent favoring it.

The Intercept is today alleging that every video captured by every Ring camera in the world is - or was at some point - accessible to the company's Ukranian-based development team with little to no access restrictions.

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.

Amazon -owned smart doorbell maker Ring is facing claims that might give some smart home enthusiasts pause. It appears that this team is responsible for developing Ring's AI object recognition technology, so it actually makes sense that this team has access to some real-world data, and they employ people specifically for the goal of viewing and annotating these videos. Or an ex might retain access to a video feed long after a breakup. These recordings are sourced exclusively from publicly shared Ring videos from the Neighbours app (in accordance with our terms of service), and from a small fraction of Ring users who have provided their explicit written consent to allow us to access and utilise their videos for such purposes. In order to improve our service, we view and annotate certain Ring 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. Although not everyone from the company has the access to such, all it takes is to have the customers' email address to be able to gain full access to their in-home and doorbell camera footages. They also assured that they have zero tolerance for abuse and they will take swift action against anyone violating the company privacy rules.

California-based Ring first caught the spotlight with a failed quest for funding about five years ago on reality television show Shark Tank. Meaning, the company has been so egregiously lax when it comes to security and privacy that even people outside the company could have potentially done this, using merely an email address to begin spying on customers, according to the report.

The company objected to The Intercept's characterization of the situation, claiming that the training material was culled from public videos via a Ring app called Neighbors, a neighborhood watch app.

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