Amazon “spies” on security camera footage: what’s going on

New tile on Amazon: after the news of the past months regarding the company's employees who listen to Alexa recordings to check the effectiveness of responses, now it turns out that other employees watch the footage of Amazon Cloud Cams, the IP cameras connected to the servers of the e-commerce giant.

This is reported by Bloomberg, which has learned of internal Amazon departments, located in India and Romania, made up of dozens of workers who are tasked with watching footage captured by Cloud Cams to teach the artificial intelligence algorithms how to behave. In essence, all of this is necessary for the AI to be able to distinguish a burglar who has intruded on our home from our cat who moves freely around the living room jumping from the couch to the armchair. Amazon, however, denies everything and provides a very different version of the facts.

Bloomberg's version

Bloomberg reports, after hearing from multiple anonymous sources inside Amazon, that the typical day of one of these employees in India and Romania consists of watching about 150 clips, 20-30 seconds each, and noting what happened and what the AI figured out. It's basically the same work that's already going on with audio clips recorded by Alexa, but applied to video clips.

Amazon's version

Interviewed on the matter by Bloomberg, Amazon said that these two teams in India and Romania really exist, but the clips they analyze come from the Cloud Cams of other employees who are acting as testers, or from ordinary users who send specific clips in case of technical problems (for example, in case of poor quality footage). No one, according to Amazon, would therefore be spied on in their home by unknown employees of Jeff Bezos' company. "We take user privacy seriously - explains an Amazon spokeswoman to Bloomberg - and we give users full control of the Cloud Cam. Only customers can see their recordings".

Amazon spies on you in intimate moments?

However, to deny what Amazon affirms there would be some declarations of the anonymous sources listened by Bloomberg. According to what these undercover employees said, in fact, it is very unlikely that what Amazon claims is not entirely true because, among the footage, there are also some that an average user would hardly show to anyone. For example, footage of when the user is being intimate with their partner. Even worse: despite the fact that Amazon makes this work of analyzing Cloud Cam clips in special and almost armored spaces, where no other employee who doesn't work on this testing program can enter, there would already be cases of clips being circulated outside the company.