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Alexa and Ring Security Cameras Compromised – Amazon Fined $31M for Privacy Violations 

Alexa and Ring Security Cameras Compromised – Amazon Fined $31M for Privacy Violations 

Amazon has agreed to pay the US Federal Trade Commission $5.8 million to settle claims that an employee used Ring devices to spy on female customers in their bedrooms and bathrooms. 

The crime(s) took place in 2017 over a time period of several months. 

“Ring’s disregard for privacy and security exposed consumers to spying and harassment,” argues Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. According to the FTC, Ring’s lax security protocols allowed employees and third party contractors to view and even download Ring camera footage. 

Amazon has also agreed to pay $25 million to settle complaints regarding Alexa smart speaker recordings of children being kept longer than parental settings allowed. According to the FTC, such actions violate children’s privacy rules and laws against deceiving consumers. 

The combined $30.8 million in fines sends a “clear signal” to Amazon that their need to collect data is not an excuse to break the law, notes FTC commissioner Alvaro Bedoya. As many have pointed out, however, $30.8 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the tech company’s first quarter profits totaling over 3 billion. 

And of course Amazon admits no fault in either case, stating only that its “devices and services are built to protect customers’ privacy and to provide customers with control over their experience.”

Ring, which was purchased by Amazon in 2018, says that it addressed issues of spying by employees years before the FTC began its investigation. In 2019, the security company added a new policy that prevents Ring employees and third party contractors from viewing private video footage unless granted access by the consumer. It is unclear why this was not a rule from the beginning.

Moving forward, the FTC has proposed new restrictions for Ring that would require the company to delete any data viewed unlawfully, introduce multifactor authentication for added security, and stop using any geolocation or voice information that has already been deleted. 

The FTC is also examining Amazon’s $1.7 billion deal to purchase iRobot Corp., a robotics company that designs and builds consumer robots for a “smarter home.” 


Amazon to pay out $30.8m over alleged spying on customers

Amazon’s Ring doorbell was used to spy on customers, FTC says in privacy case 

Amazon’s Ring used to spy on customers, FTC says in privacy settlement 

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1 Comment

  1. frank stetson

    Alice, note to self, based on your picture, tyvm, I might suggest either moving your door, your camera, or both from eyesight of your shower……better to keep your front door out front…..