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Ring Fired Employees for Watching Customer Videos


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"We are aware of incidents discussed below where employees violated our policies," a letter from Ring obtained by Motherboard reads.

 

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Amazon-owned home security camera company Ring has fired employees for improperly accessing Ring users' video data, according to a letter the company wrote to Senators and obtained by Motherboard.

 

The news highlights a risk across many different tech companies: employees may abuse access granted as part of their jobs to look at customer data or information. In Ring's case this data can be particularly sensitive though, as customers often put the cameras inside their home.

 

"We are aware of incidents discussed below where employees violated our policies," the letter from Ring, dated January 6, reads. "Over the last four years, Ring has received four complaints or inquiries regarding a team member's access to Ring video data," it continues. Ring explains that although each of these people were authorized to view video data, their attempted access went beyond what they needed to access for their job.

 

"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," the letter adds. As well as firing workers, Ring has also taken steps to limit such data access to a smaller number of people, the letter reads. It says three employees can currently access stored customer videos.

 

As The Intercept previously reported, Ring granted a number of workers in Ukraine access to Ring user video for research purposes. In the new letter, Ring says "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's letter was in response to one multiple Senators sent to the company in November 2019. In that, Senators Ron Wyden, Chris Van Hollen, Edward J. Markey, Christopher A. Coons, and Gary C. Peters asked Ring multiple questions about the security of Ring's systems.

 

In response to a wave of incidents where hackers broke into Ring users' accounts and then harassed customers through their devices, Ring has implemented a number of new security features, such as requiring new signups to use two-factor authentication. In December Motherboard found multiple security issues with the Ring platform, such as Ring allowing logins from unknown IP addresses. Ring has since introduced warning messages when someone logs in from a new location.

 

“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 said in a statement.

 

When asked specific questions on the termination of employees who abused data access, a Ring spokesperson told Motherboard in an email, "We do not comment on personnel matters."

 

Update: This piece has been updated to include a statement from Ring.

 

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A perfect example of how technology just complicates your lives needlessly. I remember in the "so relaxed" 1970s' when the police would actually go to your home during their "Operation Volcan" ,if asked, to point out your homes vulnerabilities.

"Curiosity killed the cat".  Remember that when you are thinking of putting anything in the cloud. There will always be someone who'll want to or can snoop around.

Just look at what happened with my financial institution (Desjardins)

 

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9 minutes ago, lurch234 said:

A perfect example of how technology just complicates your lives needlessly...

The worse side effect is [that] it tends to minimize even further the so-called 10% of brain we (humans) supposedly use.

 

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1 hour ago, lurch234 said:

"Curiosity killed the cat".  Remember that when you are thinking of putting anything in the cloud. There will always be someone who'll want to or can snoop around.

Just look at what happened with my financial institution (Desjardins)

People  spying on people is nothing new it been happening forever  like when they  made cordless phones . People used scanner radios to listen in , it may of been illegal but people still done it  and the Goverment  wiretapped  phones even before  they made cordless phones and they were party lines. If you transmit on the open airways without it being  scrambled someone could  be listening thats one of the caveats with technology in order to communicate you have send a transmission and someone have  to be receiving it and you never know when  it may be a man in the middle.  .

 

it just is worse now instead of it being someone close by they could be anywhere in the world. Long distance use to cost money  but  with computers everyone can talk to most anybody were before the only way to do it for free was shoot DX  on radio bands and  most of that was regulated by the Goverment were it was never dependable  were you needed a lic and so forth so it would never take over the telephone industry . Up tell they made the internet  the airways was controlled by the Goverment and  now they want control of the internet as well. I's all about having power over the people. Apple co founders got there start  by hacking  Long distance selling boxes  that gave it to you for free to get around Government regulation. 

Edited by steven36
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49 minutes ago, steven36 said:

People used scanner radios to listen in

 

My sister could listen to one of her neighbors conversations on her phone when the first cordless crap came along! And not on purpose, even. lol

You only had a few bands to choose from. So...

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2 minutes ago, lurch234 said:

 

My sister could listen to one of her neighbors conversations on her phone when the first cordless crap came along! And not on purpose, even. lol

You only had a few bands to choose from. So...

Any USA technology by Big tech  in  the Cloud is already regulated by the Goverment by the cloud act . That why Germany ban Office 365  in schools . But the thing about the internet you can always use services  not from the USA  but  many other countries have there own data retention laws so you may be no better off unless your very  up on world law. Were screwed regardless  if it not Big Tech employees listening  its some goverment  have access to what you did online.   The USA  don't have data retention laws the reason they have access to your data is tech mines  it for profit . Its up to the service do they want to keep logs .

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