Ring employees reportedly had open access to customer’s video feeds

Ring employees reportedly had open access to customer’s video feeds

Ring employees reportedly had open access to customer’s video feeds

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.

Neighbours is an app that links Ring users in a single neighbourhood so that an event that occurs at one house can trigger a notification that proliferates throughout the other members of the community. However, citing sources familiar with Ring's privacy practices, the Intercept reported that employees who were reportedly granted "highly privileged access" were able to gain access to video recordings as well as to Ring cameras in- or outside an individual's home, depending on where the devices were positioned, using only that person's email address. Customers can choose to share some information - such as photos of the hair cut they got last time they visited a salon - but the businesses can't access anything stored in user profiles unless users specifically allow them to.

Starting in 2016, according to the Intercept, Ring provided employees based in Ukraine almost unrestricted access to an Amazon database containing every video created by every Ring camera around the world. This has also been something of an open secret within the company, with Intercept sources recalling how engineers sometimes teased each other about who they brought home after dates. It was given access to the company's Amazon S3 cloud storage, which contained every Ring customer video and a database that detailed who the video belonged to. This process is reportedly still utilized to this day.

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Amazon's popular security system, Ring, is billed as a round-the-clock sentry for homeowners. 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 Intercept reported that the R&D group has been working on this project since 2016.

We take the privacy and security of our customers' personal information extremely seriously.

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Best known for its smart video doorbells, Ring was acquired by Amazon in 2018 for over $1 billion, and recently debuted its new Ring Door View Cam at CES 2019, which turns your door's peephole into a security camera.

Although Ring said many of these troubling policies have changed, a former employee in Ukraine claimed that the system, which gave employees access to this data, "could still be accessed from any computer, at home, or anywhere". 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. Asked by Gizmodo whether this apparently became the case before or after reporters began researching the alleged employee access to livestreams, a spokesperson said: "Ring employees do not and have never had access to customer live streams".

While it sounds like Ring may not have taken user privacy very seriously in the past, that attitude appears to have shifted upon the company's acquisition by Amazon a year ago. In addition, 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.

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Ring said that the videos used to improve its service come from "publicly shared Ring videos from the Neighbors app", along with customers who have given explicit written consent for their use.

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