Maybe ‘Amazon’s Choice’ is a Poor Choice for No-Name, Hackable Security Cameras?

Unlike USDA’s Choice label for meat, quality (and security) doesn’t matter for Amazon’s Choice.

Maybe ‘Amazon’s Choice’ is a Poor Choice for No-Name, Hackable Security Cameras?

When it comes to the "Amazon's Choice" label, where's the beef?

The “Amazon’s Choice” label might very well be a great strategic mark for the online retailer, but is it wise to apply it to cheap, no-name products with big implications for safety and security?

We should know implicitly that the label doesn’t necessarily stand for quality or “no security vulnerabilities here.” Even so, it would not be a stretch to assume a modicum of vetting was performed by Amazon before the mark was applied.

Apparently that’s not the case.

The Website “Which” performed a test of cheap Internet-connected cameras and found, “More than 50,000 internet-connected cameras being sold at Amazon and other retailers could have critical security flaws putting consumers’ privacy at risk.”

No big news there. No big surprise.

What’s troubling to me is that some of these products were labeled “Amazon’s Choice” (not any longer, it appears), and consumers very likely take the “Choice” label to signify that someone at Amazon tested them and found them good enough to earn the Choice badge.

“Choice” makes me think of meat. The USDA provides specific guidelines for grades of meat, applying Prime, Choice and Select labels that are “highly regarded as symbols of safe, high-quality American beef.”

This (erstwhile) Amazon “Choice” camera is easily hacked.

Amazon “Choice” is not the USDA equivalent for gadgets. Instead, it stands for popular, highly rated, and competitively priced.

“There appears to be little to no quality control with these sub-standard products, which risk people’s security yet are being endorsed and sold on Amazon,” says Adam French, a consumer rights expert at Which. “Amazon and other online marketplaces must take these cameras off sale and improve the way they scrutinize these products. They certainly should not be endorsing products that put people’s privacy at risk.”

I’m not suggesting that Amazon test all net-connected devices for security issues, but for something as important as security cameras, maybe require that “admin” not be the default user name and password before applying the “Choice” label.

Either that, or change the “Choice” badge altogether to something more innocuous like “Popular.”