Ring Ring, We See You: Ring doorbells potentially storing videos of you

April 1, 2020

2 min read

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What's going on here?

It has been reported that Amazon has been storing all motions detected by users of the popular Ring doorbells.

What does this mean?

Ring doorbells are cameras which can be installed within, or outside of, a customer’s house. The connected app  allows customers to easily obtain video footage of individuals who visit their house, and this footage can be viewed remotely. The purpose behind the doorbell was to create security for homeowners, yet the privacy concerns highlight that there may be more security risks behind-the-scenes which customers are unaware of. The BBC carried out an inquiry and found that data was stored by producers for approximately 30 days. Alarmingly, it was reported in December 2019 that an 8 year old girl’s bedroom Ring camera was hacked in Mississippi. US Senator Ed Markey made a statement in November 2019 where he mentioned that “the lack of privacy and civil rights protections for innocent residents is nothing short of chilling”.

What's the big picture effect?

Within the US, Ring has also been working with over 900 local police forces and allowing them indefinite access to video footage from customers. It is possible that this practice could be used within the UK, which may see growing concerns domestically for better protection of customer rights to privacy. The doorbell records data within a certain vicinity, and so passersby or delivery men are likely to be unknowingly caught on camera, which presents a major violation of privacy rights. 

In January 2020, Brian Huseman (Amazon’s Vice President of Public Policy) wrote to US Senators with an outline of its investigation into employees abusing their access to camera data. Moreover, violations may become possible by Google and Facebook employees as investigations have highlighted that Ring has been sharing data with these tech giants. There are already privacy concerns in regards to Amazon’s Alexa device which detects when it is being communicated to and replies with information taken from the internet. 

Law firms are rapidly modernising and innovating their services in order to deal with these complex, technological security concerns and the Ring doorbell is likely to be the newest centre of attention for consumers. Recently, Huawei and its 5G networks has been the greatest concern in the UK (see our article on that here), with Trump even referring to the 5G systems as a “national security threat”, but will Ring take over as the newest security threat?

Report written by Sophie Hardava

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