Ring Video Doorbell

Warning: *privacy not included with this product

Ring Video Doorbell

Review date: 11/02/2020

These little HD video capturing, motion-detecting, two-way talking video doorbells let you be Big Brother in your own home. See who is at the door on your phone, tablet, or PC. Ask the UPS person to drop the package off behind the planter when you're still at the office. Or catch video of the neighborhood porch pirate to share with the cops. 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, this video doorbell 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

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

Ring has a webpage dedicated to explaining it's privacy pillars and answering frequently asked questions https://ring.com/privacy

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

Amazon hit with major data breach days before Black Friday
Miles Brignall
Amazon has suffered a major data breach that caused customer names and email addresses to be disclosed on its website, just two days ahead of Black Friday.
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 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, 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.
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.
Amazon Fired Employee for Leaking Customer Emails
Joseph Cox
Over the past few days Amazon has informed some customers that it has fired an employee for leaking customer email addresses to an unnamed third party.

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