Tech giant Amazon has agreed to settle multiple lawsuits that allege the company violated users' privacy through its Alexa voice assistant and its Ring doorbell cameras.

KWWL reports that the settlements Wednesday with the Federal Trade Commission claim that Amazon retained Ring videos and Alexa voice recordings, along with the related location information, for years, in many cases without consent and despite requests from consumers for their data to be deleted. In addition, KWWL reports that lax policies at Amazon meant that the information could often be accessed by unauthorized parties, and often was especially Ring doorbell footage.

amazon alexa voice mimic
Nicolas Leclercq via Unsplash

Despite disagreeing with the FTC's decision, Amazon has agreed to settle the lawsuits wanting to "put matters behind us." KWWL reports that the company will pay $30 million in the settlement.

In a complaint accompanying the settlement, KWWL reports that the FTC claimed Ring gave employees unrestricted access to videos from customers' home security systems. In one instance, a Ring employee viewed thousands of videos from at least 81 female users. An initial complaint from another employee was not taken seriously. KWWL reports that it wasn't until a supervisor noticed that the employee was only viewing videos of "pretty girls" did it rise to a report of misconduct.

The FTC complaint goes on to say that "bad actors" gained access to hundreds of thousands of videos of consumers' homes including the bedrooms of children. Excuse me...why is the penalty ONLY $30 million? This is a huge invasion of privacy and something to consider the next time your doorbell rings.

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