Report: Amazon Ring Gave Employees Unrestricted Access to Footage of Customers’ Homes

Jeff Bezos arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Ring, a home security camera company owned by Amazon, allowed employees unrestricted access to the cameras inside people’s homes, according to a report from the Intercept.

The Intercept reported last week that Ring “provided its Ukraine-based research and development team virtually unfettered access to a folder on Amazon’s S3 cloud storage service that contained every video created by every Ring camera around the world.”

“This would amount to an enormous list of highly sensitive files that could be easily browsed and viewed. Downloading and sharing these customer video files would have required little more than a click,” the Intercept explained, adding that “the video files were left unencrypted,” and the “Ukraine team was also provided with a corresponding database that linked each specific video file to corresponding specific Ring customers.”

Ring also reportedly provided similar access to “executives and engineers in the U.S.” allowing “unfiltered, round-the-clock live feeds from some customer cameras, regardless of whether they needed access to this extremely sensitive data to do their jobs.”

An unnamed source told the Intercept that if an engineer “knew a reporter or competitor’s email address, [they] could view all their cameras,” and claimed employees joked around by spying on their co-workers’ home cameras.

As advertised on Ring’s website, Ring allows you to “monitor your home from your smartphone, tablet or PC,” with the added ability to “speak to anyone on your property from anywhere,” through built-in microphones.

“Ring’s customizable motion sensors let you focus-in on the most important areas of your home. You’ll get instant alerts as soon as Ring detects motion, so you’ll always be the first to know when anyone steps foot on your property,” the company boasted. “Ring lets you monitor every corner of your property. With a Video Doorbell at your door and Stick Up Cams around the house, you can create a Ring of Security around your entire home.”

Ring has denied the claims in the Intercept’s report, with a spokesman declaring, “Ring employees never have and never did provide employees with access to livestreams of their Ring devices.”

 

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