Ring’s response to a group of US senators who questioned the company about its privacy practices reveals that the Amazon subsidiary has had to fire multiple employees who were caught spying on customers’ surveillance doorbell cameras and other Ring surveillance footage.
Recent Ring privacy scandals saw the company forced to admit that it gave Ukrainian subcontractors access to Ring footage; that it had secretly partners with hundreds of US police forces and that it was deceiving its customers and the public about when and whether police could access stored footage from customers’ devices; that hackers were exploiting weak security practices to spy on customers and their children and livecast audio of themselves taunting Ring owners through the speakers in their surveillance cameras (Ring blamed its customers for the security breaches).
Ring has since promised to massively expand its private surveillance dragnet and partner more aggressively with law-enforcement to give them pervasive access to their customers’ security camera footage.
The letter to the senators was meant to be confidential, but Motherboard obtained and published it.
It admits that in four instances, Ring caught its own employees abusing their access to its customers’ in-home cameras. Ring says it fired the employees. The company declined to give any more detail to Motherboard, sending them a statement that read, “We do not comment on personnel matters.”
Presumably, the company would not be any more forthcoming to the customers’ whose cameras were abused by its employees.
“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.
Ring Fired Employees for Watching Customer Videos [Joseph Cox/Motherboard]
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