Tech | December 29, 2019 12:21 pm

Ring Hacks Lead to Lawsuit for Amazon

The latest in a series of setbacks for the video doorbell

Ring doorbell
Following a number of high-profile hacks, Amazon now faces a lawsuit over its Ring doorbells.
Ring/Creative Commons

It’s been a year of ups and downs for Ring, Amazon’s popular video doorbell. For every viral video recorded there, there were an equal number of critiques of what Ring might mean in terms of privacy and surveillance. And that’s not even getting into the high-profile hacks that have bedeviled the service, along with other issues surrounding the technology powering Ring.

Now, those hacks have moved beyond the realm of technology news and entered a legal frontier. Recode reports that one Ring owner whose device was hacked has filed a class action lawsuit against Amazon.

At Recode, Sara Morrison writes that the issue at hand is whether Amazon was aware of the security vulnerabilities that enabled the plaintiff, John Baker Orange, to be hacked. Orange’s lawsuit contends that an unknown person hacked the Ring on his garage and used it to speak to his children while they were playing basketball. When Orange learned of this, he enabled two-factor authentication on the device, leaving the hacker unable to make further contact.

“Much of the suit seems to rest on whether or not Amazon knew its Ring devices were susceptible to hackers and that it didn’t implement security measures to protect users,” Morrison writes.

Morrison also notes that “Ring’s terms of service include a class action waiver and require arbitration in its place, so the case may be dismissed before it gets very far.” But even if the lawsuit itself doesn’t make it very far, it’s another in a series of public blows to the reputation of Ring as a safe and secure product for home use. Alternately: it’s not outlandish to think that a video doorbell should stop breaches of security, not enable them.

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