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A Dad Is Suing Amazon's Ring Because He Says A Hacker Terrified His Kids

The complaint, filed Dec. 26, seeks a class-action against the home surveillance company owned by Amazon.

Posted on December 27, 2019, at 1:38 p.m. ET

Glenn Chapman / Getty Images

Ring security cameras are displayed at Amazon headquarters in Seattle, Sept. 25.

Home surveillance company Ring and its parent company Amazon were hit with a lawsuit on Dec. 26 following a string of high-profile hacks that compromised its camera systems.

The complaint, which was first reported by TMZ, alleges that the companies were negligent by not ensuring that the Wi-Fi-enabled cameras were “protected against cyber-attack.” Filed in the Central District of California, the complaint also says that the companies violated an “implied contract” laid out on the privacy page of Ring’s website, respecting customers’ rights to privacy and security.

"The ramifications of Defendant’s failure to properly secure their cameras and attendant access protocols may be felt for years to come,” the complaint says. Although a Ring customer could disconnect their cameras, “hackers have had access to information derived from those cameras for years, including but not limited to intimate details of household members, work schedules, and property contents.”

"As a result of the Defendants’ actions, Plaintiff and Class Members have been damages and can no longer trust the integrity of the Ring cameras or believe in security it claims to provide," the complaint says.

Two law firms — based out of Los Angeles and Tampa, Florida — filed the complaint on behalf of John Baker Orange, a Jefferson County, Alabama, man who claims to be the victim of a Ring hack. The complaint said that a hacker spoke to Orange's children through the Ring camera while they were playing basketball and tried to coax them into getting closer to the Ring camera.

The complaint includes a request that the lawsuit be certified as a nationwide class of Ring customers.

“Ring does not comment on legal matters,” a Ring spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

BuzzFeed News’ reporting was cited in the complaint.

The personal information of over 3,000 Ring log-in users were compromised last week, including emails, passwords, time zones, and the names given to specific Ring cameras. Using the information, an intruder could access a Ring customer’s home address, telephone number, payment information, live camera footage, and a 30- to 60-day video history, depending on the user’s cloud storage plan.

In one high-profile incident in Mississippi, hackers broke into a Ring camera in the room of an 8-year-old girl and claimed to be Santa Claus. Other Ring camera hacks identified in the lawsuit include incidents in Connecticut, Florida, New York, Georgia, and two incidents in Texas. Some hackers livestreamed their Ring camera hacks on a podcast.

"Ring places the blame squarely on its customers suggesting these hacks are possible because people are using weak passwords that have previously been compromised,” the complaint said. “By doing so, however, Ring ignores the fact that it allows its products — whose very purpose is to provide customers with safety and security — to be set up in a manner that makes it unreasonably susceptible to hacking.”

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.