Ring LLC is a manufacturer of home security and smart home devices, with its headquarters in California, USA. Previously Doorbot, it underwent a rebranding to become Ring, a name that has become synonymous with smart doorbells, home security cameras, and alarm systems. Ring was purchased by Amazon in 2018 for over $1 billion.
The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disclosed these disturbing privacy violations as it announced a $5.8 million settlement with the company. The breach of trust and invasion of privacy occurred when a former Ring employee viewed videos made by over 80 female customers, with the spying activities going unnoticed by the company for months.
According to Reuters, Amazon also agreed to a separate settlement, paying $25 million in response to allegations that it violated children’s privacy rights. The incident arose from Amazon’s failure to delete Alexa recordings upon parents’ requests and retaining the recordings for a longer duration than necessary.
Alexa is an advanced voice-activated system, designed to provide users with a wide range of capabilities and real-time information. Acquired by Amazon in 2013, Alexa has become a powerful tool for natural language processing tasks like playing music, creating to-do lists, setting alarms etc.
The breaches at Ring and Alexa’s privacy violation have raised concerns about the vulnerability of smart home devices and the potential for unauthorized access to users’ private spaces.