Multiple Amazon employees have been fired for spying on Ring owners' cameras

Ring's response to a group of US senators who questioned the company about its privacy practices reveals that the Amazon subsidiary has had to fire multiple employees who were caught spying on customers' surveillance doorbell cameras and other Ring surveillance footage. Read the rest

Amazon used "security" to sell Ring doorbells, then blamed customers when hackers broke into them

[Amazon's surveillance doorbell company Ring sells "security" -- the sense that surveilling your porch or your driveway or your home can make you safe. But when the company experienced a grotesque and completely predictable breach that saw hackers breaking into Ring cameras and spying on and tormenting their owners, Amazon blamed their customers for recycling passwords. In this outstanding Deeplinks post, my EFF colleagues, Cooper Quintin and Bill Budington explain just how odious this victim-blaming really is. -Cory]

Just a week after hackers broke into a Ring camera in a childs’ bedroom taunting the child and sparking serious concerns about the company’s security practices, Buzzfeed News is reporting that over 3,600 Ring owners’ email addresses, passwords, camera locations, and camera names were dumped online. This Includes cameras recording private spaces inside homes. Read the rest

AI Now's annual report: stop doing "emotion detection"; stop "socially sensitive" facial recognition; make AI research diverse and representative -- and more

Every year, the AI Now Institute (previously) publishes a deep, thoughtful, important overview of where AI research is and the ethical gaps in AI's use, and makes a list of a dozen urgent recommendations for the industry, the research community, and regulators and governments. Read the rest

Nulledcast: a podcast where hackers play live audio of themselves breaking into Ring cameras and tormenting their owners

Nulledcast is a realtime podcast streamed on a Discord channel for the hacking forum Nulled: the hosts break into Ring and Nest cameras in realtime, blare sirens at the owners, then torment them with insults and racist slurs, livestreaming their responses to hundreds of listeners. Read the rest

Family puts Ring camera in children's room, discovers that hacker is watching their kids 24/7, taunting them through the speaker

A family in DeSoto County, Mississippi, bought a Ring security camera so they could keep an eye on their three young girls in their bedroom. Four days later, they learned that a hacker had broken into the camera and subjected their children to continuous bedroom surveillance, taunting the children through the camera's built-in speaker. Read the rest

Amazon's Ring surveillance doorbell leaks its customers' home addresses, linked to their doorbell videos

Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "A new investigation from Gizmodo just revealed that anyone, anywhere can get geographic coordinates of Ring devices from Amazon’s Neighbors App. Not only can someone find out where users live, they can use footage to track bystanders, locate children, and monitor people going into buildings, like clinics, for private appointments. Amazon sells these devices under the guise of keeping us safe. They’re lying. Their surveillance devices and network puts us all in danger. We need lawmakers to fully investigate the threats associated with Amazon’s dragnet and its impact on our privacy, security, and civil liberties. Fight for the Future has launched a campaign calling for Congress to investigate Amazon's surveillance practices. You can add your name here." (Image: Dan Calacci/MIT) Read the rest

Amazon secretly planned to use facial recognition and Ring doorbells to create neighborhood "watch lists"

Ring is Amazon's surveillance doorbell division, and a big part of their sales strategy involves terrifying people about the possibility of crime, partnering with police to assist in terrorizing Ring owners, and to provide police with warrantless, permanent, shareable access to surveillance doorbell footage (something the company has repeatedly lied about). Hundred of police departments have now partnered with Ring and they act as buzz-marketing teams for the company in exchange for freebies and access. Read the rest

10,000 people are calling for Congress to investigate Amazon Ring

Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Amazon Ring's surveillance doorbell partnerships with police are spreading like a virus. There are already more than 500 of them across the country. We can fight them at the local level, but at this scale we need Congress to intervene. Amazon is refusing to be transparent about its own policies and relationships with law enforcement. That's why more than 10,000 people have already called on Congress to investigate and demand answers about the impact these partnerships have on our privacy and civil liberties. If you're concerned, you can add your voice here." Read the rest

#NothingButDragnet: EFF calls on @Shaq to stop endorsing police partnerships with Amazon's creepy, surveilling Ring doorbells

Amazon's Ring surveillance doorbells are part of a secretive, nationwide police surveillance network, with cops being offered covert incentives to act as street-teams to buzz market the products, and with Amazon repeatedly misleading the public and reporters about when and how police can gain access to footage from the cameras. Read the rest

Civil rights groups call for a stop to Amazon's doorbell surveillance partnerships with cops

Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "More than 30 civil rights organizations, including Fight for the Future, Color of Change, National Immigration Law Center, and CAIR, have signed an open letter calling for elected officials to investigate Amazon Ring’s business practices and put an end to all Amazon-police surveillance partnerships. This is the first major action taken by groups to pressure lawmakers to address these partnerships and the threats they pose to privacy, civil liberties, and democracy. Our elected officials are supposed to protect us, both from abusive policing practices and corporate overreach. These partnerships are a clear case of both. If you're concerned about Amazon's surveillance partnerships, there's a petition you can sign to your local elected officials here." Read the rest

Amazon wants to draft model facial recognition legislation

Between its line of Ring-brand surveillance doorbells and its "Rekognition" facial recognition product (both of which are used in law-enforcement and immigration-enforcement contexts), Amazon is at the center of the controversy over facial recognition technology. Read the rest

Ring: "We don't use facial recognition"; also Ring: "We have a head of facial recognition research"

One of the most obvious facts I've learned in covering the unfolding scandal of the secret deals between Amazon's Ring surveillance doorbell group and hundreds of US police departments is that Amazon loooooves to play word-games. Read the rest

Prior to Amazon acquisition, Ring offered "swag" to customers who snitched on their neighbors

Amazon is under fire over revelations that it did secret deals with local police departments to buzz-market its Internet of Things "Ring" brand surveillance doorbells, but Ring's shady history predates its acquisition by Amazon in 2017. Read the rest

Amazon's surveillance doorbell marketers help cops get warrantless access to video footage from peoples' homes

Every time I write about the unfolding scandal of Amazon's secret partnerships with hundreds of US police departments who get free merch and access to Ring surveillance doorbell footage in exchange for acting as a guerrilla marketing street-team for Ring, I get an affronted email from Amazon PR, implying that I got it all wrong, but unwilling to enter into detailed discussions of what's actually going on (the PR flacks also usually ask to be quoted officially but anonymously, something I never agree to). Read the rest

Amazon's secret deals with local cops give them access to realtime 911 data for use in scary alerts sent to Ring owners

Mining the results of public records requests relating to Amazon's secret deals with local law enforcement to promote its Ring surveillance doorbells (more than 200 agencies!) continue to bear fruit. Read the rest

Amazon's secret deals with cops gave corporate PR a veto over everything the cops said about their products

Last week, Motherboard broke a story revealing that Amazon had entered into secret agreements with local law enforcement agencies that had the cops pushing Ring surveillance doorbells to the people they were sworn to protect, in exchange for freebies and access to a system that let them request access to footage recorded by the Amazon's industry-leading internet-of-shit home surveillance tools. Read the rest

Cop says Amazon told him they had "partnered" with 200 US police forces to sell and tap into Ring surveillance doorbells

Last week, Motherboard reported on a public record request that revealed that Amazon had struck confidential deals with local police forces to get them to promote the company's Internet of Things "Ring" doorbells, and the accompanying "Neighbors" app that produces a kind of private surveillance mesh overlooking nearby public spaces -- under the terms of the deal, cops would be able to see a map noting locations of Ring surveillance cams and request footage from their owners. Read the rest

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