Ring reportedly gave employees access to customer video feeds – Engadget

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Ring reportedly gave employees access to customer video feeds – Engadget

Last month, The Information described how in 2016, the company granted inexperienced engineers in its Ukraine offices access to a database that contained Ring customers’ video histories. And The Intercept’s sources said that access came via an Amazon S3 cloud storage folder that held every video ever recorded by a Ring product. Sources also told The Intercept that executives and engineers in the US were allowed access to live feeds of customers’ cameras. 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.

The videos were apparently shared to engineers so that Ring’s AI could be more thoroughly trained. But The Intercept notes that Ring’s terms of service and privacy policy fail to mention that staff would have access to customer videos. The company has reportedly boosted its security measures since Amazon’s purchase, preventing staff from downloading videos and restricting their access. But The Information reports that workers were easily able to find workarounds for certain controls.

Last year, Ring came under fire for a bug that let users stay signed into an account even after the password had been changed.

A Ring spokesperson told The Intercept that the videos used to improve its service are sourced from “publicly shared Ring videos from the Neighbors app,” as well as from Ring customers that have consented to such use. The spokesperson also said that the company has “strict policies” regarding its employees’ actions. “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,” they said. “In addition, we have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behavior, we will take swift action against them.”

We’ve reached out to Ring and we’ll update this post if he hear more.

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