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Ring Doorbell’s Security Cameras, Strangers May Have Been Watching Too

The Ring doorbell may be one of the leading doorbell cameras in the DIY installed home security market, but customers are quickly catching on to questionable privacy practices by the company.  The Intercept wrote that according to their source beginning in 2016, “Ring provided its Ukraine-based research and development team virtually unfettered access to a folder on Amazon’s S3 cloud storage service that contained every video created by every Ring camera around the world.”  With a simple click, your video from your Ring could be shared with anyone around the world.

While this may not seem like a cause for alarm for some thinking who cares if they can see the people who come to your home, remember that the Ring also takes video of you walking up to the door, your children walking up to the door, your pets, and from there anyone with access can assess your patterns.  Patterns such as when you are home, when you leave the house, when your children are home alone, when your children are at school, your approximate age, your approximate weight, your children’s approximate ages, weights, and features, and it goes on.  They know where you live, what you look like, what your family looks like, when you are there, and when you aren’t.  Concerning?

The intent for Ring to have an R&D team (in Ukraine?  Isn’t Amazon a U.S.-based company?  Why Ukraine?) with access to all customer video footage is to improve on home security.  But, theinformation.com, which has been critical of Ring, reports that this R&D team is comprised of rookie engineers and has some serious security gaps.  What’s more, according to a source for theintercept.com, “only a Ring customer’s email address was required to watch cameras from that person’s home.”

Another source for theintercept.com, with direct knowledge of Ring’s video-tagging efforts, said “the video annotation team watches footage not only from the popular outdoor and doorbell camera models, but from household interiors.”  The source noted that Ring employees “at times showed each other videos they were annotating and described some of the things they had witnessed, including people kissing, firing guns, and stealing.”  So, if you have a Ring, you’ve unwittingly invited a paid peeping Tom into your personal life.

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Image Source: https://theintercept.com/2019/01/10/amazon-ring-security-camera/

Speaking of consent, in an examination of Ring’s customer privacy policies, theintercept.com found no mention of image or facial recognition, no warning that those who use the feature are opting in to have their homes watched by individuals in a Ukrainian R&D lab, and that the facial recognition practices buried in the privacy policy simply state, “you may choose to use additional functionality in your Ring product that, through video data from your device, can recognize facial characteristics of familiar visitors.” Additionally, theintercept.com found that there was no mention of manual video annotation by humans or that Ring employees will have access to your videos on demand in neither the terms of service nor the privacy policy.

Superior Brand Spotlight: BSG ‘s Alarm.com Skybell Video Doorbell

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Ring may be one of the most cost effective and DIY installation friendly doorbell models out there, but what is the real cost?  Everything has a price.  There are other more secure models of doorbell cameras out there, such as the SkyBell fully integrated with the Alarm.com smart home platform, which we can install and integrate here at BSG Builders Systems Group.  To learn more about SkyBell Video Doorbell as an option for you, please contact us.

To read the full article from The Intercept: https://theintercept.com/2019/01/10/amazon-ring-security-camera

To read the full article from The Information: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/at-rings-r-d-team-security-gaps-and-rookie-engineers

2019-07-11T15:30:57+00:00July 11th, 2019|Blog|
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