FTC sues Amazon’s Ring doorbell unit over privacy issues

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The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday sued Amazon-owned smart doorbell maker Ring over privacy issues.

The agency alleged that Ring violated a portion of the FTC Act that prohibits unfair or deceptive business practices.

While Ring has claimed its products help keep customers safer with its doorbell security cameras, the FTC alleged that Ring instead comprised customer information by giving third-party contractors access to customer videos, even when it was unnecessary to perform their jobs.

Ring employees and those who worked for a third-party contractor in Ukraine could access and download every customer’s videos, with no technical or procedural restrictions on the practice before July 2017, the FTC alleged.

Amazon acquired Ring for a reported $1 billion in 2018 and the company now operates as a subsidiary of Amazon. The deal has helped Amazon grow its presence in the smart home and home security categories. But Ring has also been a source of major scrutiny for Amazon due to its security protocols and controversial partnerships with police departments.

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