Senators Investigate Ring Video Doorbells

A group of Senators has released their findings of an investigation of Ring video doorbells. The investigation began in September and focused on Ring’s partnerships with over 400 police departments across the United States. On Senator Edward J. Markey’s website, the investigation’s findings are posted, which include:

  • Ring has no security requirements for law enforcement to access user footage
  • There are also no restrictions for how law enforcement can share user footage with third parties, or how long they can keep the shared video footage
  • Ring doesn’t have a standard for how law enforcement requests user footage from Ring video doorbells
  • Ring would not commit to not selling users’ biometric data.

Amazon owns Ring, a smart security company that makes security cameras and systems along with its video doorbells.

Related: Ring Delivers Peephole Cam

Ring Video Doorbell 2
Ring Video Doorbell 2

Currently, Ring’s privacy policy says that the police must ask users if they can use their footage in an ongoing criminal case. However, the press release from Senator Markey’s website also said that Ring uses “targeted language” to help law enforcement access Ring footage, which can lead to “discriminatory information-gathering practices”. Senator Markey said,

“Amazon Ring’s policies are an open door for privacy and civil liberty violations. If you’re an adult walking your dog or a child playing on the sidewalk, you shouldn’t have to worry that Ring’s products are amassing footage of you and that law enforcement may hold that footage indefinitely or share that footage with any third parties. Amazon’s Ring is marketed to help keep families safe, but privacy rights are in real danger as a result of company policies. Amazon is not doing enough to ensure that its products and practices do not run afoul of our civil liberties.”

Related: Ring Video Doorbell 2 vs. Ring Video Doorbell Pro 

In a response to a letter Senator Markey sent in October of 2019, Amazon maintained that users give law enforcement their footage voluntarily to help the police solve, prevent and investigate crimes. Brian Huseman, Amazon’s Vice President of Public Policy, wrote that Amazon has information encrypted with physical security, firewalls, and monitoring and patching of devices and systems. “To Ring’s knowledge, these security measures have been successful to date. We are not aware of any instances in which Ring’s system was breached or accessed without authorization by any outside party,” Huseman wrote.

FAQs

Does Ring monitoring call police?

Yes, if you buy the Ring Protect Plus plan, then Ring’s professional monitoring can contact local emergency services for you if needed.

Does the Ring Doorbell have motion detection?

Yes, the Ring Video Doorbells have motion detection.

Can your Ring Doorbell be hacked?

Like any other device that uses Internet, it is possible to hack Ring Video Doorbells. However, the company does encrypt their video footage, along with a few other security measures designed to prevent hacking.

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza is a journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her career, her work has spanned many intersections within the tech industry. At SquareFoot, a New York-based real estate technology company, she wrote about the ways in which technology has changed the real estate industry, as well as the challenges that business owners face when they want to invest in property. At Degreed.com, an education technology website, Aliza created digital content for lifelong learners, exploring the ways in which technology has democratized education. Additionally, she has written articles for The Huffington Post as well as her own content on Medium, the online publishing platform. Aliza’s love of journalism and research stems from the excellent Journalism program at Brandeis University. At Brandeis, Aliza interned as a research assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit “news room without walls”. There, Aliza was paired with an investigative journalist and used academic databases to obtain data on everything from the suicide rates in Bhutan to local Boston court cases. Her last position was as an account executive at Yelp, educating business owners on the power of technology to increase revenue. Throughout, however, her heart remained with tech journalism, and she’s thrilled to be writing for Security Baron. When she’s not keeping afloat of the latest tech trends, Aliza likes to cook, read, and write. A former high school “Class Clown,” Aliza has completed two feature-length screenplays, a pilot, and countless comedic sketches. On her days off you can find her relaxing in Prospect Park, trying the latest flavors at Ample Hills Ice Cream, and spending time with friends and family.

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