Amazon spies on its customers through a smart camera

10.12.2019     /     News author: Oksana

Amazon spies on its customers through a smart camera
© Instagram / Amazon
In spring, the news broke that Amazon, the multinational owned by Jeff Bezos, had access to voice recordings of users who have an Alexa-compatible device, the company's virtual assistant. Later, it was learned that other technologies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft or Facebook, also employed human teams that reviewed the audios of people who made use of their service.

Now, according to "Bloomberg", we have known that Amazon has workers in charge of studying the recordings of its surveillance camera, Cloud Cam, when it picks up some error. Each employee of the team - reports - is able to view up to 150 videos (between 20 and 30 seconds) a day. Although they recognize that only the recordings of those devices in which a problem is recorded are studied, in “Bloomberg” they point out that Amazon does not explain at any time that the video clips captured by Cloud Cam are studied by other people.

The team in charge aims to find out if the alarm goes off because of a real problem, such as an attempted robbery, or if it is a failure in the detection of movement, which could be caused, for example, by a pet. That is, at least, what five ex-workers of the program have explained to "Bloomberg." Regarding the number of operators in charge of this work, the portal indicates that they are counted by tens and that they are located in India and Romania.

The media collects, in turn, that Amazon said through a spokesman that the company only reviews the recordings of the surveillance camera of employees of the company responsible for testing the service. It also recognizes that those clips that are sent to them to solve a technical problem are displayed.

The terms of use of the smart camera include that the company reserves the right to "modify the recordings" of Cloud Cam and review them in order to provide technical assistance. However, as the media points out, "nowhere in the terms and conditions of use of the Cloud Cam does it explicitly state that there are human beings behind its motion detection software."

In turn, from the Amazon Customer Service page, referring to Cloud Cam, the following is explained regarding who has access to the recordings: «Only you or the people with whom you have shared your account information can see your clips, unless you choose to send us a clip directly for troubleshooting. Customers can also choose to share clips via email or social networks ». Although it is not noted who is in charge of reviewing the videos in case a failure is recorded; If a person or a machine.

But this is not the worst. According to two different sources pointed out to "Bloomberg," teams have seen recordings that camera owners probably didn't want to share. Thus, they claim to have seen, although rarely, videos in which users appear having sex.

Amazon has ensured that only customers can view their videos. «We take privacy seriously and put Cloud Cam customers in control of their video clips. Only users can view their clips and can delete them at any time by visiting the "Manage my content and devices" page, company sources said in a statement sent to ABC.

By using the "comments" option from the application, users can share a specific video with Amazon to improve the service. «When a customer chooses to share a clip, it can be annotated and used for supervised learning to improve the accuracy of Cloud Cam vision systems. For example, supervised learning helps the system to better distinguish different types of movement so that we can provide more precise alerts to customers, ”added the same sources.

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