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Home security company Ring responds to claims of privacy violations

The smart home security company, Ring, has responded to claims that it allowed employees to access the camera feeds of customers using its smart video doorbells and other security camera devices.

A statement from a Ring spokesperson reads: "We take the privacy and security of our customers’ personal information extremely seriously. In order to improve our service, we view and annotate certain Ring video recordings." 

"These recordings are sourced exclusively from publicly shared Ring videos from the Neighbors app (in accordance with our terms of service), and from a small fraction of Ring users who have provided their explicit written consent to allow us to access and utilize their videos for such purposes. Ring employees do not have access to livestreams from Ring products."

A report by The Intercept claimed that Ring gave its employees full access to its customers' live camera feeds – inside, and outside the home – with some Ring employees having seemingly unfettered access to customers' live camera streams. Apparently, one team was set up to improve object-based recognition capturing “people kissing, firing guns, and stealing.”

The new Ring Door View Cam launched at this year's CES show.

The new Ring Door View Cam launched at this year's CES show.

Alarming news

The spokesperson went on to say that" We have strict policies in place for all our team members. We implement systems to restrict and audit access to information. We hold our team members to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our policies faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties." 

"In addition, we have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behavior, we will take swift action against them."

The company hasn't yet responded to the claims that a team of Ukrainian engineers had access to a folder containing “every video created by every Ring camera around the world", as well as a “corresponding database that linked each specific video file to corresponding specific Ring customers.”  

Ring also hasn't shed any light on the claims that Ring employees only needed a customers' email address to gain access to their camera feed.

A source told The Intercept that, “I can say for an absolute fact if I knew a reporter or competitor’s email address, I could view all their cameras”. The source went on to talk about engineers “teasing each other about who they brought home” after romantic dates. 

The news follows a triumphant week for Ring at CES 2019 , where it revealed a total of 13 new products, showcasing everything from its latest peephole camera to a new range of outdoor smart lights.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia is TechRadar's Audio & Music Editor, covering everything from headphones to smart speakers. Based in TechRadar's London offices, she previously worked in the music industry for a few years before finding her calling in journalism. In her spare time Olivia loves playing retro video games, hanging with her cat Ethel and golden retriever Dora, and bingeing on Netflix.