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LATEST NEWS

  • Marijan Hassan - Tech Journalist

FTC issuing over $5.6 million in refunds to Ring customers affected by privacy breach case


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced today that it would be distributing refunds totaling $5.6 million to Ring customers, as compensation from Amazon. This is after the regulator concluded its investigation into multiple incidents in which Ring customers' privacy was compromised, with cybercriminals and rogue workers able to spy on them through their Ring home security cameras.



Backstory

Last year, the FTC accused Ring of lax privacy protections that allowed any employee or contractor to access consumers' private videos. The company also failed to implement basic privacy and security measures, leaving customers vulnerable to hackers who could take control of their accounts, cameras, and videos.


According to the FTC, cybercriminals were able to gain unauthorized access to Ring accounts due to the absence of adequate security measures. Once inside, intruders could view Ring camera footage and even communicate through the cameras, often using expletives and racial slurs.


55,000 American customers were affected with one user reportedly receiving a death threat.

Moreover, some Ring employees and contractors reportedly accessed and collected private footage without authorization. Customer service representatives could view users' cameras, even if tech support wasn't requested. Even users who explicitly requested help couldn't prevent workers from accessing unrelated cameras, the FTC claimed.


In the most egregious case, one employee reportedly viewed "thousands of video recordings belonging to at least 81 unique female users," according to the FTC. When a coworker reported this behavior, a supervisor allegedly downplayed the issue until realizing the employee was only viewing videos of "pretty girls."


As a result of the FTC's investigation, Ring was ordered to pay $5.6 million, which will be distributed among affected Ring customers. The refunds, totaling $5.6 million, will be sent via PayPal to 117,044 accounts.


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