The news just gets worse and worse for Amazon and the P.R. it’s been getting for it’s Ring Doorbell security camera. It’s gone from bad to worse to catastrophic with security issues.
While it started with claims of security problems, it’s only continued to get much, much worse. It’s now so bad that even an employee of Amazon is calling for the Ring to be shut down. It just can’t get much worse than that.
Escalating Security Issues
Those early murmurs of security problems with the Amazon Ring Doorbell just kept getting louder and louder. Then it added in an entirely new factor when it was learned that Amazon was working with police departments and that they had agreed to send user data directly to police without user knowledge. And all the while, the security issues still did not go away.
And now the employees are jumping on the bandwagon to bash the Amazon Ring and its security issues. A group of 350 Amazon employees joined together to write a Medium article that slammed the company for its policies and products. While the latest figures show Amazon to have 750,000 employees, meaning this group is really a small fraction, it’s still hard to ignore the number 350.
But it gets worse than that. One of the employees, software development engineer Max Eliaser, believes the Ring should be shut down. He said, “The deployment of connected home security cameras that allow footage to be queried centrally are simply not compatible with a free society. The privacy issues are not fixable with regulation, and there is no balance that can be struck. Ring should be shut down immediately and not brought back.”
That’s just devastating to the company, and this statement comes amongst news from the Electronic Frontier Foundation that the accompanying app for the Ring gives personal information to third parties such as Facebook.
The investigation by EFF showed that the app gives customer names, private IP addresses, and sensor data to marketing companies who use this information to track and spy on the Ring customers.
But employees aren’t exactly the heroes in this story. There have also been reports that Ring employees spy on customers. U.S. senators stepped in and sent a letter to Amazon pressing them to address the security practices, concerned about the company giving Ukrainian workers access to Ring’s surveillance footage.
Privacy rights organizations and their supporters have issued warnings that coincide with public criticism. More than 50,000 people have participated in Fight for the Future campaigns asking politicians to stop the partnerships between the police and Amazon and asking the U.S. Congress to investigate Amazon.
But Amazon isn’t bending and has actually doubled down on their very popular product. At the beginning of the year, the company announced it was going to aggressively expand its partnership with the police, which is nearing 800 police departments. It’s not only customers in the U.S., either, as the Ring is also offered in Canada and the United Kingdom.
“Report after report provides evidence of the privacy, civil liberty, and security issues associated with Ring. Yet, there has been no action from federal regulatory agencies or elected officials. In their silence, Amazon continues to expand its surveillance empire, and millions of people are left vulnerable to security attacks and rights violations. Lawmakers need to take immediate action to investigate Amazon and put an end to Ring,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future.
“As Amazon’s own employee acknowledged, the issues with Ring are beyond regulation. The dangers with Amazon’s surveillance empire and devices pose an imminent threat to us all. To protect ourselves, we must end Amazon-police partnerships, recall Ring devices, and prevent any future sales both here and abroad.”
Will this Affect Amazon Ring Doorbell Sales?
I’d really like to upgrade my security camera, and a year ago I was very heavily considering the Ring. Now, I wouldn’t touch it. I don’t want to walk into that powder keg, nor do I want the third parties, police, and Amazon employees watching everyone who walks into my home. If there’s a reason for the police to be watching my home, I’ll let them know, not Amazon.
Do you have an Amazon Ring Doorbell? Does this news concern you? Tell us your thoughts and concerns in the comments below.