Amazon's video doorbell company fires four employees for snooping on customers

Amazon's video doorbell company fires four employees for snooping on customers

Ring, the security camera company owned by Amazon, admitted in a letter to five senators that four employees were fired for improperly accessing customer videos. It is nearly like having a prying eye in your home.

Ring has faced several controversies over privacy and security in recent months.

In November, five Democratic senators sent a letter to Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos with a range of questions about security, including why employees in Ring's Ukrainian office, where it conducts research and development, had access to customer video data. "Each of these individuals involved in these incidents was authorized to view video data", Amazon said in a letter (PDF), but in all cases, "the attempted access to that data exceeded what was necessary for their job functions".

Previously, Ring had granted permission for a group of workers from Ukraine to view user videos.

Huseman's response said that no Ring employees or contractors, including those in the company's Ukrainian research and development offices, have unrestricted access to customer camera data.

"Requiring two-factor for new accounts is a step in the right direction, but there are millions of consumers who already have a Ring camera in their homes who remain needlessly vulnerable to hackers".

Beyond simply firing those that abused their position to access customers' videos, Ring has also allegedly reduced the number of people that even have access to that data, with a grand total of three employees now capable of doing so. The company maintains that it has no inkling of any attacks or breaches that would require informing the government agencies.

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The Ring spokeswoman declined to comment on the terminated employees beyond the details in the letter, which was provided by Wyden's office. But Ring said that employees were only given access to videos made public through its community watch program, Neighbors.

The company also works to monitor and block potentially unauthorized logins, the spokesperson added.

"Our R&D teams can only access publicly available videos and videos available from Ring employees, contractors, and friends and family of employees or contractors with their express consent".

"If hackers or foreign actors were to gain access to this data, it would not only threaten the privacy and safety of the impacted Americans; it could also threaten US national security", the lawmakers wrote.

The company faced a barrage of criticism for security problems, including an instance where a man started speaking to an 8-year-old in her bedroom in MS, saying he was Santa Claus and asking if she wanted to be his friend.

The online retail giant admitted terminating individuals over unauthorized access in a letter dated January 6 that was addressed to USA senators Ron Wyden, Edward Markey, Gary Peters, Chris Van Hollen, and Christopher Coons.

"Amazon needs to go further - by protecting all Ring devices with two-factor authentication", he said in a statement.

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