- Amazon has dozens of workers reviewing clips recorded by its Cloud Cam security camera, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
- Amazon only reviews clips that Cloud Cam owners submit for troubleshooting, or footage that comes from employee testers, the report says.
- But two of Bloomberg's sources said that the clips reviewed sometimes include private interactions, such as recordings of sexual activity.
- The discovery comes after Amazon had come under scrutiny following a separate Bloomberg report revealing that Amazon contractors manually annotate Alexa recordings.
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Dozens of Amazon workers in India and Romania have been reviewing footage captured by the company's Cloud Cam home security camera, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Natalia Drozdiak, Giles Turner, and Matt Day.
The findings have surfaced after the online retail giant came under scrutiny earlier this year following a separate Bloomberg report revealing that human reviewers annotate Alexa recordings, allowing them to sometimes listen in on private conversations.
Amazon reviews these video recordings to improve the performance of its Cloud Cam, helping it to better distinguish between an intruder and normal household activity. Amazon's review team has in some cases assessed up to 150 video clips per day that are usually 20 to 30 seconds long, according to Bloomberg.
Amazon only reviews clips that are submitted by Cloud Cam owners for troubleshooting purposes, as well as those from employee testers, according to Bloomberg. However, two of the people Bloomberg spoke with said that footage submitted for review in rare cases included private interactions, such as recordings of sexual activity.
Such clips are flagged and discarded, and Amazon implements tight security protocols for workers that are tasked with reviewing Cloud Cam clips, according to Bloomberg.
"We take privacy seriously and put Cloud Cam customers in control of their video clips," Amazon said in a statement to Business Insider. "Only customers can view their clips, and they can delete them at any time by visiting the Manage My Content and Devices page."
Customers can share a specific clip with Amazon to improve the device's performance through the Cloud Cam's feedback option, the company says. When a clip is shared, Amazon says it "may get annotated and used for supervised learning to improve the accuracy of Cloud Cam's computer vision systems."
Amazon's terms of service agreement for the Cloud Cam doesn't explicitly say that the company's workers may view footage recorded by the camera. It does, however, say that the customer grants Amazon permission to "review your Cloud Cam recordings to provide technical support."
The report sheds further light on the role that human reviewers play when it comes to assessing the performance of internet-connected smart home products and AI assistants amid growing privacy concerns. Apple issued a rare apology in August over its methods for improving the performance of its Siri virtual assistant after a report from The Guardian revealed that company contractors overhear private conversations. Following the report, the company suspended the process and said it will make changes to how it reviews Siri's performance.
Amazon has introduced new privacy features following the initial report from Bloomberg revealing that its contractors listen to Alexa interactions. The company has, for example, launched a new voice command that makes it possible for users to erase recordings from their Echo by saying "Alexa, delete everything I said today."
Privacy was also a key theme at the company's big fall event on September 25. "Privacy is foundational to everything we do," Amazon's Dave Limp said on stage before unveiling a slew of new Alexa-enabled devices, like earbuds and smart glasses.