Ring makes doorbells and security cameras

The Amazon-owned company Ring, which makes home-security devices, has admitted firing four employees for accessing users’ videos.

It was revealed in a letter sent to US senators, in response to questions about the company’s security practices.

In each case, the employees were authorised to view videos but access “exceeded what was necessary for their job functions”.

Ring faces questions about the security and privacy of its devices.

In November, five Democratic senators sent a letter to Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos with a range of questions about security, including why employees in Ring’s Ukrainian office, where it conducts research and development, had access to customer video data.

In a detailed response, Amazon said the team based there could watch only publicly available videos and videos from employees, contractors and their friends who had consented to be part of the programme.

In addition, a “very limited number of employees (currently three) have the ability to access stored customer videos for the purpose of maintaining Ring’s AWS [Amazon web services] infrastructure”.

It had received four complaints over the course of four years about employees watching customers’ videos, Amazon said, had investigated each one and terminated their contracts.

“Although each of the individuals involved was authorised to view video data, the attempted access to that data exceeded what was necessary for their job functions,” it said.

Amazon did not reveal any more details about who complained, who the individuals were or where they were based but said it was always working to limit the number of people with access to video feeds.

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