Ring employees may have been spying on your security cameras and doorbells
A lot of smart home products have popped up over the last few years, one of the most popular being smart security cameras and video doorbells. Amazon-owned Ring has been one of the top players in these niches for a few years, but if you've purchased any of the company's products in the past, you may want to consider unplugging them and getting something else.
The Intercept published a report on Thursday, January 10, and in the report, it's said that Ring employees at the company's Ukraine research center have been able to view video footage from customers' cameras and doorbells with nothing more than an email address.
This all started back in 2016, with the report reading as follows:
All of the videos were reportedly left unencrypted, which Ring's execs justified because "encryption would make the company less valuable." Furthermore, Ring employees were given data that connected video files with specific customers.
The report continues:
A Ring spokesperson responded shortly after this story broke, saying:
So, why did Ring give its employees access to all this information in the first place?
According to The Intercept, at least part of it was a result of Ring's facial and object recognition system not being as good as the company wanted. By giving this data to employees, the goal was to improve the software to be better at accurately determining what the cameras were seeing.
Ring supposedly began to be stricter about this practice with its Ukraine employees following a visit from Amazon in May 2018, but that "staffers in Ukraine worked around the controls."
So, what should you do if you have a Ring camera?
Whether or not your own a Ring product now, does this change your thought of the company as a whole? Let us know in the comments below.
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Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.