The proposed order, which must be approved by a federal court, will require the home security camera company to delete data products from videos it unlawfully reviewed, implement a privacy and security program, and pay $5.8 million in consumer refunds, the FTC said in a Wednesday (May 31) press release.
This settlement follows FTC charges that Ring allowed employees and contractors to access consumers’ videos and failed to implement basic privacy and security protections to counter hackers, according to the press release.
“Ring’s disregard for privacy and security exposed consumers to spying and harassment,” Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in the release. “The FTC’s order makes clear that putting profit over privacy doesn’t pay.”
Responding to the settlement, Ring said in a Wednesday blog post that the allegations are years old, that Ring addressed the issues on its own and that the FTC complaint ignores the protections Ring has in place.
In a statement emailed to PYMNTS, the company said: “Our focus has been and remains on delivering products and features our customers love, while upholding our commitment to protect their privacy and security. Ring promptly addressed these issues on its own years ago, well before the FTC began its inquiry. While we disagree with the FTC’s allegations and deny violating the law, this settlement resolves this matter so we can focus on innovating on behalf of our customers.”
The FTC charged that Ring failed to restrict employees’ and contractors’ access to videos taken by its home security cameras and doorbells, used videos to train algorithms without customers’ consent, and failed to implement safeguards against well-known online threats, according to the FTC press release.
Ring said in its blog post that it implemented mandatory two-step verification for all its customers in 2020, launched support for authenticator apps in 2021 and now restricts employees’ access to both livestreams and stored videos.
Amazon acquired Ring in February 2018.
Ring founder and CEO Jamie Siminoff announced March 1 that he was stepping down to take on the role of “chief inventor” at the video doorbell company on March 22.