Yikes! Ring employees were able to spy on customers' camera feeds
14 January, 2019, 08:28 | Author: Sammy Rose
Notably absent from a almost identical statement from the company issued to the Intercept is the claim by the company that "Ring employees do not have access to livestreams from Ring products".
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.
An unnamed source who spoke with The Intercept said that Ring employees in the US are even able to type in a user's email address and get access to the user's camera's live feed. Thanks to a report from The Intercept, Ring customers should be more anxious about the company's employees watching them than anyone else. We implement systems to restrict and audit access to information. Beginning in 2016, according to one source, 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. It's alleged that only an email address was required to view a customer's camera feed. Amazon-owned Ring has been one of the top players in these niches for a few years, but if you've purchased any of the company's products in the past, you may want to consider unplugging them and getting something else. But the Intercept said the Amazon-owned company was also allowing some high-level engineers in the U.S.to view customers' video feeds, while others in the Ukraine office could view and download any customer video file. Or an ex might retain access to a video feed long after a breakup.
Amazon has bought home security startup Ring for a reported £700 million ($1 billion).
To make matters worse, the source claims that the Ukraine team was also granted access to a corresponding database that linked each of those video files to a specific Ring customer. The Ukrainian team manually tagged and labeled objects in a given video as a training process to teach the software to recognize objects on its own. The company says it will abide by Europe's stronger privacy rules, which took effect in May, regardless of where a customer lives. These videos 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. 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. Meaning, the company has been so egregiously lax when it comes to security and privacy that even people outside the company could have potentially done this, using merely an email address to begin spying on customers, according to the report. She warns that companies could potentially sell data to insurance companies who could find, for instance, that someone was drinking caffeine during a pregnancy potentially raising health risks and policy premiums. They also assured that they have zero tolerance for abuse and they will take swift action against anyone violating the company privacy rules.
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