Ring $99 - $499
Ring Video Doorbell
Review Date 10/23/19
These little HD video capturing, motion-detecting, two-way talking doorbells let you be Big Brother in your own home. See who is at the door on your phone, table, or PC. Ask the UPS person to drop the package off behind the planter when you're still at the office. See if the person at your door is a Girl Scout selling cookies so you can run down and get your yearly Tagalong fix. Or catch video of the neighborhood porch pirate to share with the cops. Just beware, these doorbells do have some noted potential privacy vulnerabilities that could let someone go Big Brother on you in your own home.
Can it snoop on me?
Device: Yes | App: Yes
Device: Yes | App: Yes
Device: Yes | App: Yes
How does it handle privacy?
How does it share data?
Ring works with 600+ police departments in the US to promote the sale of Ring devices, building a network of neighborhood surveillance and security cameras. Law enforcement has access to the approximate locations of active Ring cameras in a neighborhood and can easily request access to footage with customer consent. Even more alarming, police who download videos from customer cameras can keep them as long as they want and share them with anyone, all without providing evidence of a crime. Ring has also participated in local "sting" operations with police.
Can you delete your data?
You can delete video recordings at any time, but it's unclear whether you can delete your data
Collects biometrics data?
Ring states that it does not use facial recognition technology. However, it has hired a "head of facial recognition research" at Ring Ukraine, so it may have plans to in the future.
User friendly privacy info?
Amazon's privacy information is written in fairly complex legal language and is not maintained in one central location. There is privacy information available in simple language, but that information doesn't give consumers a complete picture of Ring's privacy practices.
What could happen if something went wrong
This product raises a number of red flags for us. Ring, owned by Amazon, has a history of not protecting users' privacy. They stored customer data--including video recordings--unencrypted on an Amazon cloud server and employees could access any of this data. They also have a partnership with local law enforcement that has raised many privacy and civil rights questions (see article below). They aren't as transparent as we would like them to be about their privacy and data deletion practices. They say they don't do facial recognition while having hired a "head of facial recognition research." All in all, this is a security video camera that raises just too many questions about privacy and security, in our opinion.
How to contact the company
The doorbells have eyes: The privacy battle brewing over home security cameras
Police want to register — and even subsidize — private security cameras. That’s just the start of the ethical challenges ahead.
For Owners of Amazon’s Ring Security Cameras, Strangers May Have Been Watching Too
The “smart home” of the 21st century isn’t just supposed to be a monument to convenience, we’re told, but also to protection, a Tony Stark-like bubble of vigilant algorithms and internet-connected sensors working ceaselessly to watch over us. But for some who’ve welcomed in Amazon’s Ring security cameras, there have been more than just algorithms watching through the lens, according to sources alarmed by Ring’s dismal privacy practices.
36 Civil Rights Groups Demand End to Amazon’s Partnerships with Police
When Ring partners with police, the company provides police with a tool called the Law Enforcement Neighborhoods Portal. This tool is an interactive map that allows police to request footage directly from residents, streamlining the process of voluntary evidence sharing.
Amazon Ring doorbells exposed home Wi-Fi passwords to hackers
Security researchers have discovered a vulnerability in Ring doorbells that exposed the passwords for the Wi-Fi networks to which they were connected.
Amazon-Owned Ring Shared Data About Tracking Kids On Halloween
The home surveillance company owned by Amazon bragged on Instagram about taping millions of kids going door to door.
Ring Says It Doesn't Use Facial Recognition, But It Has “A Head Of Face Recognition Research”
More than 10 million Ring doorbells have been installed worldwide, and BuzzFeed News found evidence that the company is working to develop facial recognition technology for its devices in Ukraine.
At Ring’s R&D Team, Security Gaps and Rookie Engineers
At one point during the meeting, Mr. Siminoff asked the team how he could make their jobs easier. One of the engineers in the room said that to improve Ring’s software, the Kiev office needed access to customer video feeds. The information trove contained images from security cameras pointed at home entrances across the globe that could be traced back to individual customers.
Review: Ring Video Doorbell 2
The company, both before and after acquisition, has found itself at the center of a number of scandals in recent years, which are described in their respective sections below.
Police can keep Ring camera video forever, and share with whomever they’d like, company tells senator
Police officers who download videos from homeowners’ Ring doorbell cameras can keep them forever and share them with whomever they’d like without providing evidence of a crime, the Amazon-owned firm told a lawmaker earlier this month. More than 600 police forces across the country have entered into partnerships with the camera giant allowing them to quickly request and download video captured by Ring’s motion-detecting, Internet-connected cameras inside and around Americans’ homes.
How Hackers Are Breaking Into Ring Cameras
Hackers have created dedicated software for breaking into Ring security cameras, according to posts on hacking forums reviewed by Motherboard. The camera company is owned by Amazon, which has hundreds of partnerships with police departments around the country. On Wednesday, local Tennessee media reported that a hacker broke into a Ring camera installed in the bedroom of three young girls, and spoke through the device's speakers with one of the children.
How to secure your Ring security camera (because Amazon won’t do it for you)
If you own a Ring security camera or doobell, turning on two-factor authentication (2FA) is one step you––and everyone in your family––should take right now to secure your household’s device. Here’s how: