A class action filed in California alleges that Ring’s home security devices allegedly contain security vulnerabilities that permit hackers to spy on and harass the company’s customers in their homes. In the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that hackers used a Ring device in their 8-year-old daughter’s bedroom to call her racial slurs. The hacker allegedly played the Tiny Tim cover of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” — a song used in the horror film “Insidious” — through their newly installed Ring camera’s two-way talk feature. As the daughter investigated the source of the music in the room she shared with her two sisters, the song “abruptly stopped, and a man’s voice rang out: ‘Hello there,'” LeMay and Blakeley said in the complaint. The hacker then began shouting racial slurs at their daughter and “encouraging her to misbehave,” they said.

The plaintiffs allege negligence, breach of implied contract, intrusion upon seclusion and public disclosure of private facts, among other claims. They’re looking to represent a class of potentially thousands of individuals who purchased indoor security cameras from Ring during the applicable limitations period. Additionally, they’ve proposed a subclass of all individuals who purchased Ring’s indoor security cameras and whose Ring accounts were accessed by an unauthorized third party.

The suit comes about a week after a similar putative class action was filed in California federal court. According to that complaint, the children of the named plaintiff were playing basketball outside when a voice came through the Ring speaker and instructed the children to get closer to the camera.

The two plaintiff’s experiences are part of a larger problem, the Ring customers said, pointing to similar hacks that have been reported across the country. There’s even a “widely streamed podcast” in which hackers live stream themselves “taking over people’s Ring smart-home cameras and using the two-way communication function to talk to and harass their owners,” they said.

The case is Ashley LeMay et al. v. Ring LLC, case number 2:20-cv-00074, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.

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