Amazon Owned Security Company Ring Accused of Spying on Customers

Online news publication The Intercept recently published an investigation that accuses a home security company owned by Amazon called Ring of spying on the owners of its own security cameras. Ring denied the allegations.

In the article, The Intercept’s Sam Biddle claimed that, according to sources familiar with Ring’s privacy practices, certain Ring employees with “highly privileged access” were able to access to  Ring cameras as well as video recordings.

Biddle’s source claimed that Ring started to provide its research and development team unrestricted access to every video created by every Ring camera in 2016, in an effort to better the company’s object and facial recognition technology, which, according to the investigation, was not up to snuff. The decision to do so was reportedly taken by Ring founder Jamie Siminoff.

Siminoff denied the allegations and said that he had delegated the decision to make customer video feeds accessible to senior managers.

Speaking to Gizmodo, a Ring spokesperson said the following: “We take the privacy and security of our customers’ personal information extremely seriously. In order to improve our service, we view and annotate certain Ring video recordings. These recordings are sourced exclusively from publicly shared Ring videos from the Neighbors 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 utilize their videos for such purposes. Ring employees do not have access to livestreams from Ring products.”

Repeat Offender

This is not the first time that Ring has been associated with a breach of privacy. Last May, it was revealed that, due to a security flaw, users who were logged into Ring’s app were able to maintain access to the account even after the password was changed. The company claimed that it had fixed the issue last January, but the problem reportedly persisted.