Amazon pays $5.8M over Ring worker placing cameras in bathrooms to spy on women
Amazon’s Ring doorbell camera unit has been fined $5.8 million by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after a former employee spied on female customers for several months in 2017 by placing cameras in their bedrooms and bathrooms. The monitoring division also gave employees unrestricted access to customer’s sensitive video data, allowing them to view, download and transfer homemade recordings. Alongside this, Amazon settled a lawsuit over allegations that it violated children’s privacy rights for $25 million. The case was brought by regulators in Washington state, which claimed that Amazon kept children’s voice and location data. The fines represent a fraction of Amazon’s first-quarter 2021 profit of $3.2 billion.
1. How did Amazon violate children’s privacy rights?
As per the FTC complaint filed against Amazon, the company violated rules protecting children’s privacy and rules against deceiving consumers who used Alexa. For example, Amazon told users that it would delete voice transcripts and location information upon request, but then failed to do so.
2. What did the FTC say about Amazon’s Ring doorbell camera unit?
The FTC criticized Ring for its “dangerously overbroad access and lax attitude toward privacy and security”. Employees and third-party contractors were able to view, download, and transfer customers’ sensitive video data. A former employee was caught spying on female customers by placing cameras in their bedrooms and bathrooms.
3. How did Amazon respond to the FTC settlements?
Amazon released a statement denying any violation of the law and reiterating its pledge to make some changes in its practices. The company also stated that it disagreed with the FTC’s claims regarding both Alexa and Ring, but that the settlements put these matters behind it.
4. What changes has Ring pledged to make?
As a part of the FTC agreement with Ring, which expires after 20 years, Ring is required to disclose to customers how much access to their data the company and its contractors have. In February 2019, Ring changed its policies so that most employees or contractors could only access a customer’s private video with that person’s consent.
Ring worker placed cameras in bathrooms to spy on women, Amazon pays $5.8M in settlement.
Amazon has reached two settlements with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), totaling $30.8 million, over allegations of privacy violations and breaches of children’s privacy rights. The FTC accused Amazon’s Ring doorbell camera unit of allowing a former employee to spy on female customers in 2017. Cameras were placed in the customers’ bedrooms and bathrooms. The FTC also said that Ring had given employees unrestricted access to sensitive video data, resulting in employees and contractors viewing, downloading and transferring customer’s data. Amazon has denied the claims but pledged to make changes in its practices. Amazon also agreed to pay $25 million to settle allegations that it violated children’s privacy rights when it failed to delete Alexa recordings at the request of parents and kept them longer than necessary. The fines represent only a fraction of Amazon’s $3.2 billion first-quarter profit.