Ring Settles Privacy Case with $5.8M Fine, Faces Strict Security Measures

Published by
Matthew Martins
  • Ring, the Amazon-owned maker of video surveillance devices, will pay $5.8 million as part of a settlement with the FTC over allegations of privacy violations.
  • Ring employees and contractors had unrestricted access to customers’ video data, leading to unauthorized viewing, downloading, and sharing of sensitive content.
  • The settlement requires Ring to establish a comprehensive data security program, disclose employee and contractor data access, and pay the fine, aiming to address privacy concerns and enhance customer trust.

Ring, the Amazon-owned maker of video surveillance devices, has agreed to a settlement worth $5.8 million after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought claims against the company regarding unauthorized access to customers’ videos. The settlement, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday, follows a detailed investigation by the FTC into Ring’s practices. The allegations revolve around Ring employees and contractors having unrestricted access to customer video data, leading to concerns over privacy and security.

According to the FTC’s complaint, Ring allowed its employees and third-party contractors, including those located in Ukraine, access to customers’ video footage without appropriate restrictions. This access granted personnel the ability to view, download, and share sensitive video data without customers’ consent or a legitimate business need. The FTC described this level of access as “dangerously overbroad” and criticized Ring’s lax attitude toward privacy and security.

The complaint also highlighted two specific incidents in which Ring employees allegedly misused their access to private Ring videos, particularly targeting women. The FTC discovered that the unauthorized surveillance went undetected by Ring for months. These instances underscore the potential risks associated with Ring’s failure to adequately monitor and control access to customer data.

Ring’s handling of account security also drew scrutiny from the FTC. The complaint revealed that the company had failed to address multiple reports of credential stuffing—a method employed by hackers to gain unauthorized access to accounts by using stolen credentials from other breaches. Ring’s acceptance of easily guessable passwords, such as “password” or “12345678,” made it easier for attackers to breach user accounts. The FTC estimated that over 55,000 Ring customer accounts were compromised between January 2019 and March 2020, with some hackers maintaining control over accounts for more than a month.

In response to these allegations, Ring has agreed to pay $5.8 million to settle the claims brought by the FTC. As part of the settlement, the company has also committed to establishing and maintaining a comprehensive data security program, subject to regular assessments, for the next 20 years. Moreover, Ring will be required to disclose the extent of access granted to employees and contractors regarding customer data.

Ring spokesperson Emma Daniels issued a statement in response to the settlement, expressing disagreement with the FTC’s allegations and denying any violation of the law. However, despite the denial, Ring has chosen to settle the matter to avoid prolonged legal proceedings.

The settlement and associated obligations aim to address the serious privacy concerns raised by the FTC’s investigation. By implementing a robust data security program and ensuring transparency regarding access to customer data, Ring seeks to regain the trust of its users and demonstrate its commitment to safeguarding privacy.

Matthew Martins

Published by
Matthew Martins

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