Strangers Might Be Watching Your Ring Videos

January 10, 2019, 8:41 PM UTC

If you have a Ring doorbell, you might not be the only one watching the videos from it.

Ring may be storing the video shot from your doorbell in an unencrypted format and then allowing staff to access that video, reports The Intercept.

According to the site, one of the biggest concerns is with a group of Ukrainian researchers that are using the videos to improve the doorbell’s facial recognition tools. The ultimate goal of that group is to turn the doorbells into a private surveillance grid called Neighbors, where doorbell owners might be notified whenever there’s a questionable passerby near their homes. That group has reportedly had access to the videos since 2016.

In the United States, employees are allegedly able to pull up videos from the doorbells at will, with only the email address associated with the doorbell’s account. Employees have then used that access to spy on each other, and see whom other employees have “brought home” for the evening.

Amazon acquired Ring in February of last year. While the details of the deal were not shared, reports suggest Amazon likely paid $1.2 billion for the company as part of an effort to expand its footprint in the connected home space.

Update: In a statement to Fortune, Ring said employees “view and annotate” some Ring video recordings in order to improve its service, but employees do not have access to any of live streams from Ring products.

“These recordings are sourced exclusively from publicly shared Ring videos from the Neighbors app (in accordance with our terms of service), and from a small fraction of Ring users who have provided their explicit written consent to allow us to access and utilize their videos for such purposes,” the Ring spokesperson said, adding that it has strict policies for team members and systems in place to restrict and audit access to information. “We hold our team members to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our policies faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties. In addition, we have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behavior, we will take swift action against them.”