Ring security cameras have been marketed as a system designed for indoor or outdoor spaces to help Americans feel safe and protected. But unfortunately according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Ring company employees have been able to access private video footage from customer’s homes.
Ring has marketed internet-connected, video-enabled cameras and doorbells to Americans to help them feel safe and secure at home. But Ring’s millions of customers had no idea their private video footage was being viewed by company employees and contractors. Employees have virtually been permitted to spy on bedrooms and bathrooms. And according to the FTC, “Despite the company’s claims that it took reasonable steps to ensure that Ring cameras were a secure means for consumers to monitor private areas of their homes, the company exhibited a fast-and-loose approach to customers’ highly sensitive information.”
The Ring is marketed on Amazon with this tagline:
“Feel safe knowing your home’s privacy is protected with thoughtful features that put you in control of what Indoor Cam sees—and when you want it active.”
Customers purchase Ring in order to be able to detect break-ins and intruders in their homes, not realizing that the very company they purchased equipment from was also a home intruder.
The FTC noted that while Ring prohibited misusing data, the company never worked to secure private data, giving its employees and hundreds of Ukranian third-party contractors access to personal video footage. If this were not bad enough, employees and contractors could download, view and share the footage as well. The FTC report says,
“Although Ring’s employee handbook prohibited the misuse of data, the disturbing conduct of some staffers suggests that the admonition wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. Rather than limit access to customer videos to those who needed it to perform essential job functions – for example, to help a consumer troubleshoot a problem with their system – Ring gave “free range” access to employees and contractors.”
Over the course of several months in 2017, Ring employees viewed thousands of hours of females in their bedrooms and bathrooms.
Ring camera employees caught spying on the female customers 😪 pic.twitter.com/wT8dxbh48Z
— Gojo's baby mama ➡️ Dreamcon (@aprettyPR) June 6, 2023
The name Ring was supposed to make people feel like “there was a ring of security around their home,” one Twitter user shared; she now recommends dumping the Ring camera system. Besides being subjected to creepy employees accessing their data, Ring customers also were subjected to hackers utilizing their two-way communication systems. Some customers were threatened and cursed at, and others were sexually propositioned.
yet another reason i will always say DO NOT BUY A RING CAMERA and if you have one i honestly suggest GETTING RID OF IT pic.twitter.com/SovDkbtRAW
— cowboy cat (@skeletonpup) June 15, 2023
Between Ring and Alexa privacy violations, both Amazon products, the company will be subjected to a $31 million dollar settlement for infringing on privacy. The FTC and Department of Justice are mandating that Amazon change its practices.
Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said that Amazon has violated Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA Rule) and been deceptive about its data deletion process. He noted,
“Amazon’s history of misleading parents, keeping children’s recordings indefinitely, and flouting parents’ deletion requests violated COPPA and sacrificed privacy for profits. COPPA does not allow companies to keep children’s data forever for any reason, and certainly not to train their algorithms.”
Amazon's agreed to pay $31M to settle @FTC cases re: Ring doorbell cameras & Alexa devices. They alleged Alexa violated the Child Online Privacy Protection Act & Ring contained weak security measures. #onlineprivacy #personaldataprotection #businesslaw https://t.co/ltPHSZYOFl pic.twitter.com/0lVIguR7Pw
— Colligan Law LLP (@ColliganLaw) June 16, 2023