Democrats raise privacy concerns over Amazon home security system

Democrats raise privacy concerns over Amazon home security system
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A group of Senate Democrats raised concerns on Wednesday around the data security practices of Amazon's home security company, Ring.

In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosAmazon's 0K donation to Australian fire relief draws criticism World's richest 500 people saw their wealth jump 25 percent in 2019 Top 2020 Democrats target Amazon while spending big money on it: report MORE, Democratic Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care: Progressives raise red flags over health insurer donations | Republican FTC commish backs Medicare negotiating drug prices | Trump moves to protect money for religious groups Senate Democrats launch investigation into Trump tax law regulations Senate approves Trump trade deal with Canada, Mexico MORE (Ore.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenOvernight Defense: GAO finds administration broke law by withholding Ukraine aid | Senate opens Trump trial | Pentagon to resume training Saudi students soon GAO finds Trump administration broke law by withholding Ukraine aid Lobbying World MORE (Md.), Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsDemocrats scramble to rein in Trump's Iran war powers Administration officials defend Trump claims, Soleimani intelligence as senators push back on briefing Sunday shows - Administration officials grilled on Trump's Iran claims MORE (Del.), Gary PetersGary Charles PetersJohn Lewis to miss Martin Luther King Jr. Day event Hillicon Valley: Trump turns up heat on Apple over gunman's phone | Mnuchin says Huawei won't be 'chess piece' in trade talks | Dems seek briefing on Iranian cyber threats | Buttigieg loses cyber chief Democrats sound election security alarm after Russia's Burisma hack MORE (Mich.), and Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOvernight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 Here are the 10 senators who voted against Trump's North American trade deal Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate implications MORE (Mass.) questioned Amazon having access to the personal data of millions of Americans who use the Ring system in their homes.

“Ring devices routinely upload data, including video recordings, to Amazon’s servers,” the senators wrote. “Amazon therefore holds a vast amount of deeply sensitive data and video footage detailing the lives of millions of Americans in and near their homes.”

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The senators noted that “if hackers or foreign actors were to gain access to this data, it would not only threaten the privacy and safety of the impacted Americans; it could also threaten U.S. national security.”

The Ring system includes internet-connected doorbells that also serve as cameras, home monitoring systems and other safety systems.

The senators sent the letter in response to reports last week that the Ring doorbell system had a vulnerability that left Wi-Fi networks of users exposed to hackers, a vulnerability that has since been patched. The senators also cited concerns related to a January report from The Intercept that found that Ring executives were given access to the company’s technical support video portal, which includes videos of customers' homes.

“These reports raise serious questions about Ring’s internal cybersecurity and privacy safeguards, particularly if employees and contractors in foreign countries have access to American consumers’ data,” the senators wrote.

The Senate Democrats asked that Bezos respond to a series of questions, including whether Ring deletes uploaded video footage generated from its devices, what security measures are in place to protect sensitive customer data, and Ring’s involvement in facial recognition technologies. 

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The senators gave Bezos until Jan. 6 to respond to their questions. 

"Our team is currently reviewing the letter from the senator, but I don't have information to share at this time," an Amazon official told The Hill.

Updated at 1:53 p.m.