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Amazon's Ring Doorbell Used to Spy on Customers, FTC Says

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on Wednesday that it has reached a $5.8 million settlement with Amazon over privacy violations related to its Ring doorbell camera unit.

The FTC's complaint alleges that a former Ring employee used his access to customer data to spy on female customers for months in 2017. The employee allegedly placed cameras in bedrooms and bathrooms, and then viewed and recorded the footage without the customers' knowledge or consent.

The FTC also alleges that Ring gave employees unrestricted access to customers' sensitive video data. This allowed employees and third-party contractors to view, download, and transfer customers' video data for their own purposes.

As part of the settlement, Ring is required to implement a number of new privacy measures, including:

  • Prohibiting employees from accessing customer data for personal reasons

  • Requiring employees to undergo training on privacy and security

  • Implementing a system for tracking and auditing employee access to customer data

  • Disclosing to customers how much access Ring and its contractors have to their data

The settlement is the latest in a series of privacy concerns raised about Ring doorbell cameras. In 2019, Amazon was criticized for allowing police to access Ring footage without a warrant. And in 2020, it was revealed that Ring had been sharing customer data with Google.

The FTC's settlement with Ring is a significant victory for privacy advocates. It sends a message to companies that they will be held accountable for violating consumers' privacy. It also provides consumers with more information about how their data is being used and gives them more control over their privacy settings.

If you have a Ring doorbell camera, you should review your privacy settings and make sure that you are comfortable with how your data is being used. You can also contact Ring to learn more about the company's privacy practices.

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