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A hot potato: It appears that even Amazon workers think Ring is a privacy threat. One of the tech giant’s engineers has blasted the home-security camera firm, which Amazon acquired for $2 billion in 2018, calling for it to be shut down immediately.
Amazon Employees for Climate Justice recently published a Medium post in which 363 workers gave their views on the company’s business. The group organized the September strike that saw more than 900 employees protest the retailer’s failure to take action against climate change, but not every quote in the post was related to environmental issues.
Software engineer Max Eliaser was vocal about Ring and its privacy issues. "The deployment of connected home security cameras that allow footage to be queried centrally are simply not compatible with a free society," they wrote. "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."
Over 340 Amazon employees share our views on company business:https://t.co/x3Z5HAanYK— Amazon Employees For Climate Justice (@AMZNforClimate) January 27, 2020
Ring has suffered a slew of negative publicity over the last 12 months. Back in January 2019, reports claimed its employees had access to customers’ recorded videos and live feeds—something that led to the firing of four workers.
It was also revealed that Ring has partnerships with hundreds of US police forces, allowing them access to Ring doorbell and motion camera footage for use in investigations. Amazon stressed that it only shared the clips after a valid and binding legal demand from authorities and that owners can decline the requests, but that hasn’t placated privacy advocates, especially as non-owners caught on camera can’t opt-out.
The reports of Ring products being hacked haven’t helped the company’s reputation, either. And the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) yesterday announced that it had identified several embedded third-party trackers in the Ring Android app that were grabbing “a plethora” of personal information and sharing it with firms that include Facebook.
Despite the controversies, almost 400,000 Ring devices were sold in December, making it the company's best month to date. The firm said it has "millions" of customers worldwide.