TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Amazon’s popular security system, Ring, is billed as a round-the-clock sentry for homeowners. But lax privacy practices have allowed Ring employees to turn the security cameras into ‘surveillance’ devices, reports claim.
Starting in 2016, according to the Intercept, Ring provided employees based in Ukraine nearly unrestricted access to an Amazon database containing every video created by every Ring camera around the world. The company’s Ukraine team was also reportedly given the ability to link individual video files to corresponding Ring customers.
The Ukraine-based “data operators” use the database to manually tag and label objects that appear in a given video – in what appears to be a years-long attempt to enhance Ring’s self-learning identification software.
The home security company, which sells a range of miniature “smart” cameras that can be mounted on doorbells, garages and even inside homes, was acquired by Amazon for a reported $1 billion in February last year.
A Ring spokesperson claimed that the company only views and annotates videos that are “sourced exclusively from publicly shared Ring videos” or come from a handful of Ring users who have voluntarily provided access to their videos.
“We have strict policies in place for all our team members. We implement systems to restrict and audit access to information,” the statement read.