Amazon's Ring sued over 'lax security standards' leading to hacks

Amazon and its home security subsidiary Ring are facing a federal lawsuit in California over allegations that its “lax security standards” led to a series of invasive and frightening hacks over the past year.

The lawsuit, which alleges Ring security cameras have been hacked six times across the U.S., comes as Amazon’s Ring faces a barrage of scrutiny from lawmakers, privacy advocates and the public over its cybersecurity standards and widespread partnerships with local police departments. 

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The plaintiff, John Baker Orange, is claiming in federal court that his Ring security camera was hacked while his children were playing basketball outside. 

“Recently, Mr. Orange’s children were playing basketball when a voice came on through the camera’s two-way speaker system,” the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, reads. “An unknown person engaged with Mr. Orange’s children, commenting on their basketball play and encouraging them to get closer to the camera.” 

It’s only the latest in a series of similar allegations after a hacker was able to speak to an 8-year-old girl in Mississippi by using a Ring camera installed in her bedroom. 

Orange is claiming that Ring has not taken proper steps to protect the privacy of its users and the security of its devices.

“Ring promises its customers ‘peace of mind’ with its Wi-Fi enabled smart security systems,” the lawsuit reads. “Unfortunately, Ring’s cameras fail to deliver on its most basic promise. Lax security standards and protocols render its camera systems vulnerable to cyber-attack.” 

The lawsuit accuses Ring of negligence, invasion of privacy, breach of the implied warranty, breach of the implied contract, unjust enrichment and violation of unfair competition law. 

In a statement, a Ring spokesperson said the company does not comment on legal matters. 

Several Democratic senators have raised concerns about Ring’s doorbell cameras, which have been tapped by more than 400 local police departments to create “neighborhood watch” systems, allegedly with little regard for consumer consent or privacy. 

Ring’s partnerships with police forces allow authorities to obtain footage from millions of cameras across the country. 

Amazon bought Ring last year. 

Updated at 12:43 p.m.

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