Amazon agrees to pay $31m after FTC Privacy and Security charges

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Amazon has recently reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and agreed to pay a $31 million penalty in response to two civil complaints. The charges against the retailing giant involved allegations of invading the privacy of its female employees through Ring cameras and failing to delete recordings of children on its Alexa devices.

According to the FTC, evidence was gathered to support claims that Amazon had been recording the activities of its female employees in their bedrooms and bathrooms using Ring cameras. Additionally, the company was found in violation of privacy and security laws by failing to delete voice and location data from recordings associated with children, spanning several years.

Consequently, the US regulator imposed a fine of $5.8 million for the actions related to Ring cameras and an additional $25 million for the failure to delete recordings involving children.

In order to compensate the victims, Amazon will provide refunds and shopping vouchers. The allegations initially surfaced in 2018 when a female employee, assigned to an engineering position on a contract basis, discovered that a male colleague had been accessing a network of Ring cameras to invade the privacy of their female coworkers in work areas, bathrooms, and restrooms.

The situation escalated when the individual responsible for the invasion attempted to justify their actions by claiming that the company was only spying on attractive women, implying that other female employees need not be concerned and should continue with their work.

Following extensive investigations and fact-finding efforts, the FTC publicly exposed the incident and initiated legal action to uncover the truth. In an attempt to avoid further damage to its reputation, the American multinational corporation acknowledged that its employees and certain policies were at fault. Consequently, Amazon agreed to pay $31 million as compensation for breaching the privacy of its employees and violating the privacy of children using its Alexa devices.

It is worth noting that the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection revealed that 55,000 Ring customers experienced serious breaches of their accounts, including 910 cases of deep intrusions such as unauthorized access to live feeds and stored videos. The agency cited the distressing case of an 87-year-old woman residing in an assisted living facility who was physically threatened and subjected to harassment after a hacker gained control of her Ring camera.

The actions of those who install Ring cameras in bedrooms and bathrooms can only be described as disturbing and indicative of a deeply troubling mindset.

BTW who puts a ring camera in bedroom and bathroom…..only the sick minds!

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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