Published: Fri, January 10, 2020
Tech | By

Amazon’s Ring Fired Staff for Trying to Access Customer Data

Amazon’s Ring Fired Staff for Trying to Access Customer Data

Amazon's Ring has been shrouded in controversies thanks to the various privacy and data breaches.

"Over the last four years, Ring has received four complaints or inquiries regarding a team member's access to Ring video data", wrote Brian Huseman, a vice president for public policy at Amazon, in the letter penned earlier this week to five US senators.

Ring, the security camera company owned by Amazon, admitted in a letter to five senators that four employees were fired for improperly accessing customer videos. However, the company claims that the video feeds were of Ring employees, contractors and explicit permission had been obtained for the same.

Beyond simply firing those that abused their position to access customers' videos, Ring has also allegedly reduced the number of people that even have access to that data, with a grand total of three employees now capable of doing so.

Ring conceded that it had been alerted to incidents involving four employees who viewed video content outside the scope of their job.

Each incident was investigated by Ring, and the individuals were terminated once it was determined they violated company policy.


The Intercept also recently claimed Ring gave it Ukraine-based R&D team unfettered access to an Amazon web server that held all Ring customer videos. It is not known whether any of the employees gained access.

The letter further says research and development teams can only access publicly available videos as well as camera feeds which customers have explicitly agreed to share for troubleshooting issues.

The company's response this week follows questions from lawmakers over the company's privacy and security measures, as well as its growing number of data-sharing partnerships with hundreds of local police forces across the United States. This has included giving punters redesigned privacy settings to manage permissions, and requiring two-factor authentication on new accounts.

It's also claimed that "executives and engineers" in the USA were given "highly privileged access", allowing them "unfiltered, round-the-clock live feeds from some customer cameras".

"Requiring two-factor for new accounts is a step in the right direction, but there are millions of consumers who already have a Ring camera in their homes who remain needlessly vulnerable to hackers", Silicon Ron pointed out. In recent weeks, it has also implemented security features to help prevent strangers or hackers from accessing a Ring user's videos.

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