Amazon employees use Ring to spy on customers

Occurred: August 2023

Employees at Amazon Ring and a Ukrainian contractor were able to access and download customer videos and use them however they liked. The discovery prompted accusations of privacy abuse and incurred a USD 5.8 million fine.

According (pdf) to the US Federal Trade Commisson (FTC), Amazon’s Ring doorbell unit violated a section of the FTC Act that prohibits unfair or deceptive business practices, with some of its people viewing thousands of videos of female users in their bedrooms and bathrooms until Ring restricted employee access to customer videos in September 2017.

As part of the proposed settlement, Ring is required to delete any customer videos and data collected from an individual’s face that it obtained prior to 2018, and delete any work products it derived from those videos.

Amazon responded to the settlement by saying that Ring had already addressed the privacy and security issues before the FTC began its inquiry.

Developer: Amazon/Ring
Country: USA
Sector: Consumer goods
Purpose: Strengthen security
Technology: CCTV; Computer vision
Issue: Privacy; Security; Surveillance
Transparency: Governance

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Page info
Type: Incident
Published: September 2023
Last updated: November 2023