Ring Let Employees Watch Customer Security Camera Feeds

Ring reportedly gave employees access to customer video feeds

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".

Consumer-level smart video doorbells and security cameras have become immensely popular, but some anxious that the video feeds could be hijacked by those with malicious intents. A new report from The Intercept quotes unnamed sources who confirm that engineers and executives at Ring have "highly privileged access" to live customer camera feeds, utilizing both Ring's doorbells as well as its in-home cameras. Thanks to a report from The Intercept, Ring customers should be more anxious about the company's employees watching them than anyone else.

From there, employees could access the footage from anywhere, according to a separate report from the Information. They also described how Ring engineers would check out their coworkers' cameras and tease them when they saw them bringing dates home or show videos to other employees when they saw something of interest.

Employees only need a user's email address to view all the Ring videos associated with it.

The Intercept on Thursday reported that Ring has a team of "data operators" in the Ukraine who manually tag people and vehicles in customer videos as part of an effort to "train" the company's software to be able to detect these objects on its own. Ring is a manufacturing company responsible for producing smart doorbells and cameras. This move granted them complete and unfettered access to every video created by every Ring camera in the entire world (that includes indoor cameras for the home like the Stick Up Cam as well as exterior doorbell and security camera like the Ring SpotCam). At the time, the files were unencrypted because Ring's leaders felt "encryption would make the company less valuable". The smart home company owned by Amazon, which the Internet retail giant shelled out more than $1 billion to acquire, has apparently been violating its customers' privacy in a pretty shocking way.


We take the privacy and security of our customers' personal information extremely seriously. The Intercept writes that neither Ring's ToS or privacy policy mentions that its staff could access users' videos.

'In order to improve our service, we view and annotate certain Ring videos. 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. "In addition, we have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behaviour, we will take swift action against them".

A never-before-published image from an internal Ring document pulls back the veil of the company's lofty security ambitions: Behind all the computer sophistication was a team of people drawing boxes around strangers, day in and day out, as they struggled to grant some semblance of human judgment to an algorithm.

On the other hand, Amazon-owned Ring issued a statement clarifying that their employees only watch videos acquired from Neighbors, the community app.

Why it matters: Another company's privacy and security policies have come under scrutiny.

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