The risk with having an IP enabled security camera inside your home is that some hacker might get access to it and see into your home at will. That’s not far fetched as that has happened. But bad as that is, the fact that the people who make said camera can do exactly the same thing is worse. Case in point is Amazon owned Ring. The Intercept is reporting that Ring employees had unfettered, unnecessary access to customer camera feeds with the only thing being required is a email address.
This apparently stared in 2016 when Ring allowed its Ukraine-based research team to access every video created by Ring cameras around the world. What’s worse is that the videos were not encrypted, could browsed easily and viewed just as easily, and as mentioned above, tied to specific customers via an email address. And what is really, really bad is that this is apparently still going on to this day.
Now Ring had this to say when asked about this:
We take the privacy and security of our customers’ personal information extremely seriously. In order to improve our service, we view and annotate certain Ring videos. These videos are sourced exclusively from publicly shared Ring videos from the Neighbors app (in accordance with our terms of service), and from a small fraction of Ring users who have provided their explicit written consent to allow us to access and utilize their videos for such purposes
So in short, Ring users who opt into the Neighbors system, which allows for sharing of videos to “create safer videos” are unknowingly opting in to potentially having those videos viewed by Ring employees. That’s a #EpicFail. I guess the take home messages are as follows:
- If you value your privacy, don’t use Ring’s Neighbors system.
- If you really value your privacy, don’t buy a Ring camera as clearly they do not take privacy seriously regardless of what they say.
- How many other companies who make IP enabled cameras do this?