Ring Security Cams

Warning: *privacy not included with this product

Ring Security Cams

Review date: 11/02/2020

Amazon Ring's indoor and outdoor security cameras have all the usual--HD video, night vision, motion activation--to put your house under 24-hour surveillance. Monitor the video through an app on your phone or your Amazon Echo Show home hub. Ask Alexa to show you what's happening in your backyard, and boom, there it is. Just beware, even though Amazon Ring did address some of our privacy concerns with updates earlier in 2020 like adding mandatory two-factor authentication, these cameras still have some noted potential privacy issues that worry us. Ring gives law enforcement access to video captured through Ring cameras through its Neighbors Public Safety Service. This still raises a host of concerns around public safety and racism.

What could happen if something goes wrong

This product raises a few red flags for us. Ring, owned by Amazon, has a history of not protecting users' privacy. At one point they stored customer data--including video recordings--unencrypted on an Amazon cloud server and employees could access any of this data. They have gotten more transparent in their privacy and data deletion practices, which we appreciate. And Ring, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, has come out and stated they will not sell facial recognition technology to law enforcement. This past year Amazon's Ring has been pushed hard to change by Mozilla and others and we are happy to see them moving in the right direction. And while Amazon says they are distancing themselves from law enforcement access to users' video, they are still facilitating that access with this product and that leaves us concerned. All in all, these security video camera still raise questions about public safety and racism, in our opinion and we feel could come with *Privacy Not Included.

Privacy

Can it snoop on me?

Camera

Device: Yes

App: Yes

Microphone

Device: Yes

App: Yes

Tracks Location

Device: Yes

App: Yes

What is required to sign up?

What data does it collect?

What is the company’s known track record for protecting users’ data?

Needs Improvement

According to a Forbes article, Amazon's workers viewed video clips from one of its home CCTV services to improve its AI analytics. While Amazon said that the clips were offered voluntarily by the customers, a Bloomberg article mentioned that the clips in question are not the kind that homeowners would want to share. Some video clips included obscene content and private moments of homeowners. Ring improved its security measures in January 2020 after reports of hackers accessing Ring cameras in December 2019 to harass people in their own homes.

Can this product be used offline?

No

User friendly privacy information?

Yes

Links to privacy information

Security

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?

Yes

Videos are encrypted in storage and during transmission. Ring is offering end-to-end encryption.

Encryption

Yes

Videos are encrypted in storage and during transmission. Ring is offering end-to-end encryption.

Strong password

Yes

Two-factor authentication is now mandatory after major pressure from Mozilla and other groups.

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Amazon has a bug bounty program, which means that anyone who finds a security issue and discloses it responsibly may get paid. https://hackerone.com/ring

Privacy policy

Yes

Although Ring has a privacy policy, there is a general lack of transparency around Ring's privacy practices.

Artificial Intelligence

Does the product use AI?

Yes

Does the AI use your personal data to make decisions about you?

Yes

Does the company allow users to see how the AI works?

Yes

Ring cameras use camera-based motion detection to start recording. A leaked survey allowing Beta testers to rank features included "face detection." Ring doesn't currenty use facial recognition technology, but things could always change.

Company contact info

Phone Number

800 656 1918

Email

No

Twitter

ring

Updates

Ring doorbells to send live video to Mississippi police
Jane Wakefield
Police in Jackson, Mississippi, are asking residents to connect their smart doorbells to a real-time surveillance centre, in an effort to fight crime. The mayor said the video streams would only be looked at if a crime was committed in the area. Amazon, which owns the best-selling smart doorbell Ring, said that it was not an official partner in the scheme
Ring's new privacy and security features prove that hardware isn't the only important thing
Megan Wollerton
Smart home device maker Ring has been one of my biggest challenges as a product reviewer to date. It certainly isn't alone: Facebook, I'm looking at you. But testing Ring doorbells and security cameras has raised so many additional questions for me about a reviewer's role in recommending -- or not recommending -- a product.
Amazon's helping police build a surveillance network with Ring doorbells
Alfred Ng
If you're walking in Bloomfield, New Jersey, there's a good chance you're being recorded. But it's not a corporate office or warehouse security camera capturing the footage -- it's likely a Ring doorbell made by Amazon. While residential neighborhoods aren't usually lined with security cameras, the smart doorbell's popularity has essentially created private surveillance networks powered by Amazon and promoted by police departments.
Poll: How Americans Feel About Nextdoor, Neighbors, and Police Partnerships
Mozilla
The United States is in the midst of a reckoning with racism and policing. At the same time, an array of neighborhood-based social platforms — like Nextdoor and Neighbors by Ring — purport to keep American neighborhoods safer by partnering with local police. But often, these platforms and partnerships deepen division rather than quelling it.
Ring, 2FA, and a Win for Consumers
Ashley Boyd
Today, Amazon announced that two-factor authentication (2FA) is now mandatory for all Ring users. In recent months, several stories have emerged about Ring users being hacked, harassed, and spied on. This extra layer of security will help prevent further episodes.
Amazon’s Ring Is a Perfect Storm of Privacy Threats
Matthew Guariglia
Doors across the United States are now fitted with Amazon’s Ring, a combination doorbell-security camera that records and transmits video straight to users’ phones, to Amazon’s cloud—and often to the local police department. By sending photos and alerts every time the camera detects motion or someone rings the doorbell, the app can create an illusion of a household under siege. It turns what seems like a perfectly safe neighborhood into a source of anxiety and fear. This raises the question: do you really need Ring, or have Amazon and the police misled you into thinking that you do?
Inside the Podcast that Hacks Ring Camera Owners Live on Air
Joseph Cox and Jason Koebler
A blaring siren suddenly rips through the Ring camera, startling the Florida family inside their own home. "It's your boy Chance on Nulled," a voice says from the Ring camera, which a hacker has taken over. "How you doing? How you doing?" "Welcome to the NulledCast," the voice says.
Ring Doorbell App Packed with Third-Party Trackers
Bill Budington
Ring isn't just a product that allows users to surveil their neighbors. The company also uses it to surveil its customers. An investigation by EFF of the Ring doorbell app for Android found it to be packed with third-party trackers sending out a plethora of customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). Four main analytics and marketing companies were discovered to be receiving information such as the names, private IP addresses, mobile network carriers, persistent identifiers, and sensor data on the devices of paying customers.
About the Advanced Motion Detection System Used in Ring Devices
Amazon
Ring uses two different types of motion detection systems in its doorbell and security camera products. While both are very effective at what they do, they both work on different principles and are optimized for different purposes. This article will explain the differences between the two different types of motion detection systems and what products they are found in.

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