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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

A former Ring Doorbell employee spied on female customers in their bedrooms and bathrooms for months, according to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filing.

The employee worked for Ring, an Amazon company that sells doorbells for the home with a camera.

In 2017, an employee was able to access these cameras, which were sometimes placed in bedrooms and bathrooms, to spy on women in their privacy, an FTC court found Wednesday.

Image taken from Amazon

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

It was a co-worker of the employee who noticed his behavior and reported it. The offending employee was eventually fired, reports the New York Post.

The FTC also announced on Wednesday that an agreement has been reached with Amazon, which will have to pay $5.8 million for these privacy violations.

Amazon also agreed to pay $25 million to settle claims that violated children’s privacy rights when it failed to delete Alexa recordings at parents’ request and kept them longer than necessary, according to a Seattle federal court filing that outlined a 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 breaking the law, these regulations put these issues behind us,” Amazon said in a statement.

Image from Facebook | Dylan Vorachith Inthurai

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

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“Because of this dangerously broad access and lax attitude towards privacy and security, employees and third-party contractors have been able to view, download, and transmit customers’ sensitive video data.”

As part of the agreement between the FTC and Ring, which expires after 20 years, Ring is required to disclose to its customers what degree of access to their data the company and its contractors have.

In February 2019, Ring changed its policies so that most of its employees or contractors can no longer access customer videos without their consent.