Amazon recently paid about $30 million to settle lawsuits over privacy concerns in relation to Ring cameras and Alexa. The bulk of the money, around $25 million, was paid to settle allegations of violating children’s rights. The lawsuit says Amazon kept a profile of children’s voices and sounds for a longer period of time than necessary. Another $5.8 million was paid to settle allegations of the mishandling of customers’ videos from Ring cameras. The allegation states that when ring camera videos made their way to the cloud, and hired engineers had to work on them, these engineers were given access at times when they shouldn’t. In essence, engineers had access to Ring camera videos at any time.
The dollar amount to settle these lawsuits is meaningless to a mega company like Amazon. Jeff Bezos can simply write this off after writing a small check. The larger issue is with the privacy of people. An NBC News anchor said that one of their friends has nine Ring cameras, both inside and outside of their home. If third-party contractors that Amazon/Ring hires have access to all videos from these devices at all times, there is no telling what they may have seen or heard. The issue of Big Tech and privacy has been on fire as of late, especially with the specter of TikTok possibly being banned in the United States for this very reason.
Amazon to pay over $30M in settlements over Ring, Alexa violations – YouTube
Amazon to pay over $30 million to settle claims Ring, Alexa invaded user privacy : NPR
Amazon settles Alexa, Ring spying, data claim with $30 million
Amazon to pay over $30 million for Alexa, Ring privacy violations
Amazon to pay over $30 million in Ring, Alexa FTC privacy settlements