Amazon’s Ring has been shrouded in controversies thanks to the various privacy and data breaches. Unfortunately for Ring, the problems don’t seem to end as the company had to fire four of their employees for accessing private customer data.
In a letter sent by Ring to the US state senate, the company confirmed that it caught four employees access customer videos. To Ring’s credit, the company immediately fired the employees for the invasion of customer privacy.
Over the last four years, Ring has received four complaints or inquiries regarding a team member’s access to Ring video data. Although each of the individuals involved in these incidents was authorized to view video data, the attempted access to that data exceeded what was necessary for their job functions.
In each instance, once Ring was made aware of the alleged conduct, Ring promptly investigated the incident, and after determining that the individual violated company policy, terminated the individual.
In addition to taking swift action to investigate and take appropriate disciplinary action in each of these cases, Ring has taken multiple actions to limit such data access to a smaller number of team members.
– Ring (via Motherboard)
The Intercept previously reported that Ring had allowed a number of workers in Ukraine to access user videos for research purposes. In the new letter, Ring also talked about the issue and clarified that the team in Ukraine can access only publicly available videos.
The R&D team in Ukraine 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.
Ring sent this letter on Monday in response to a letter sent to the company by the senators back in November 2019. The initial letter didn’t account for the various breaches and hacks that took place in December. Ring did introduce various security features after the incidents but the US senators are still not pleased.
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. Amazon needs to go further—by protecting all Ring devices with two-factor authentication. It is also disturbing to learn that Ring’s encryption of user videos lags behind other companies, who ensure that only users have the encryption keys to access their data.
– Senator Wyden
Ring didn’t comment on whether the company plans to take further legal action on the terminated employees. When asked about the specifics of the termination, Ring told Motherboard that the company does not “comment on personnel matters.”