April 18, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Amazon Smart Camera: An employee spied on customers in their privacy for months

Amazon Smart Camera: An employee spied on customers in their privacy for months

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filing alleges former Ring Doorbell employee spied on female customers for months in their bedrooms and bathrooms

The employee worked for Ring, an Amazon subsidiary that sells home doorbells with cameras.

In 2017, the employee had access to these cameras, sometimes placed in bedrooms and bathrooms, to monitor the women in their privacy, the FTC court filing revealed Wednesday.

Photo taken from Amazon website

The employee viewed videos of at least 81 Ring customers and employees using Ring products.

An employee colleague who noticed his behavior reported him. The offending employee was eventually fired, the New York Post reported.

The FTC also announced on Wednesday that it had reached a settlement with Amazon, which will pay $5.8 million over these privacy violations.

Amazon has agreed to pay $25 million to settle claims that Alexa violated children’s privacy rights when it failed to delete recordings at the request of parents and kept them longer than necessary, according to a Seattle federal court filing that detailed the separate settlement.

Amazon, which bought Ring in April 2018, has vowed to make some changes to its practices.

“While we disagree with the FTC’s allegations regarding Alexa and Ring and deny violating the law, these regulations put those issues behind us,” Amazon said in a statement.

Photo taken from Facebook | Dylan Worachit Inthaure

The FTC said Ring gave its employees unrestricted access to sensitive customer videos.

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“Because of this dangerously broad access and reckless attitude toward privacy and security, employees and third-party contractors can view, download, and transfer customers’ sensitive video data.”

As part of the agreement between the FTC and Ring, which expires after 20 years, Ring must disclose to its customers the level of access to their data that the company and its contractors have.

In February 2019, Ring changed its policies so that most employees or contractors cannot access a customer’s private videos without their consent.

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