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.
Can it snoop on me?
What is required to sign up?
Third party account
What data does it collect?
Name, email, phone number, address
Video and voice recordings
Neighbors app network
How does it use this data?
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record for protecting users’ data?
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?
User friendly privacy information?
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
Videos are encrypted in storage and during transmission. Ring is offering end-to-end encryption.
Two-factor authentication is now mandatory after major pressure from Mozilla and other groups.
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
Does the product use AI?
Does the AI use your personal data to make decisions about you?
Does the company allow users to see how the AI works?
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.