After news of several leaks in which hackers broke into families’ security cameras (including one in which a hacker used the speaker to harass an eight-year-old girl), a group of five Democratic senators asked the tech company to clarify its privacy and security practices in November.
As first reported by Bloomberg, Amazon’s vice president of public policy Brian Huseman published a letter addressed to Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon in which he says that the company investigated reported incidents and terminated each employee found to be trying to access data inappropriately. Although Amazon did not specify which type of data was accessed, the company said that at least four employees have been fired for this type of conduct since 2018.
“Over the last four years, Ring has received four complaints or inquiries regarding a team member’s access to Ring video data,” Huseman writes in the letter. “Although each of the individuals involved in these incidents was authorized to view video data, the attempted access to that data exceeded what was necessary for their job functions.”
Ring also announced used this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to announce that it would be introducing new safety measures and limiting data access to a smaller set of employees. One such measure is a new privacy dashboard that allows homeowners to control different cameras centrally and decide whether third-party services and police departments can access video data — another major user concern that plagued the company over the last year.
But while Ring routinely expressed its concern for user safety, some believe that it is not going far enough to ensure that it’s data is not accessed and disseminated by outside parties.
“Amazon […] holds a vast amount of deeply sensitive data and video footage detailing the lives of millions of Americans in and near their homes,” the senators wrote in the original letter. “If hackers or foreign actors were to gain access to this data, it would not only threaten the privacy and safety of the impacted Americans; it could also threaten U.S. national security.”
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