Amazon's Ring Video Doorbell

budoslavic

Eagle
Orthodox
Gold Member
Purpose of this thread is to discuss Amazon's Ring (video doorbell).

60392c924bdc3559fb585d30_Ring%20Shark%20Tank-min.png


A few years ago, I first noticed a weird looking videocam doorbell gadget exactly like the above image outside of my brother's house. When my sister-in-law opened the door, I asked her about it. She showed me how it work; she was quite excited about it.

My mind immediately went into overdrive - can't help it due to my IT background - asking myself a lot of questions - i.e., "Where is the video file being stored? Are the video files being collected and stored somewhere without consumer's knowledge? Who is collecting the video files? What about privacy? Why is the video doorbell connected to a iPhone/Android?" etc. If a product is connected to a mobile phone, it should be a red flag for possible information gathering.

In 2020, Amazon's Ring videocam doorbell was the most popular product in the video doorbell marketplace.

Chart_-_May_2021_Video_Doorbell_Market_Share_PR.jpg


Just as I originally suspected, Amazon's Ring is collecting information.

Ring Cameras Amassing Info On Users...And Their Neighbors​

About 18% of Americans now own a video doorbell. That means a significant and growing slice of American neighborhoods are under a form of intermittent surveillance. If the surveillance video and associated data were the exclusive property of individual homeowners, it might not be of much concern.

However, that's not the case. For example, Ring, the company behind the top-selling brand, maintains a vast database on its users and their cameras. Ring is an Amazon subsidiary, thanks to the tech giant's 2018 purchase of the company for over $1 billion.

Ring says it doesn't sell its customers data, but sometimes it gives it away for free -- to the police. In the first half of 2022 alone, Ring fielded more than 3,500 requests from law enforcement agencies.

Ring keeps plenty of info that you'd expect them to have. According to Wired magazine:

Ring gets your name, phone number, email and postal address, and any other information you provide to it—such as payment information or your social media handles if you link your Ring account to Facebook, for instance. The company also gets information about your Wi-Fi network and its signal strength, and it knows you named your camera “Secret CIA Watchpoint,” as well as all the other technical changes you make to your cameras or doorbells.

But that's not all. In 2020, the BBC reported that Ring keeps data on every motion detected by its cameras, including the exact time "down to the millisecond." The event database also tracks doorbell rings -- and how many rings -- as well as on-demand actions by the Ring doorbell's owner, such as requesting live video or speaking through the speaker.

camera%20log.jpeg


BBC also found Ring's database tracked interactions with the company's apps -- every time it's opened, various types of screen-taps, and instances where the owner zoomed in on video footage. Over time, scrutiny of all this data can provide insights into whether you're home or not.

If you subscribe to the Ring Protect Plan -- which archives 6 months of video and audio -- Ring may even keep the video you've personally deleted, according to a Wired analysis of the company's privacy policy.

Maybe you've opted against buying a Ring doorbell out of privacy concerns. That's fine, but don't forget that your neighbor's Ring camera may be watching you -- or even listening to you. Tests have found Ring cameras can record audio from 20 feet away. If you're strolling by a Ring-equipped house and talking to someone, you and your conversation could be in Ring's database. The same is true if you're on your own property and you're close enough to a neighbor's camera and microphone.

This isn't just a question of whether you trust Amazon and Ring not to misuse your video, audio and associated data. There's always the chance that your info could be hacked by common criminals -- or the ones who work for the government.

Speaking of the latter, earlier this year, Amazon was awarded a $10 billion renewal of a secret NSA contract.


Surveillance...?

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Max Roscoe

Ostrich
Orthodox Inquirer
Ring has been caught sharing video with police / government.


If you want a video doorbell, buy something like a eufy, which stores the video locally.

 

Thomas More

Crow
Protestant
Your cell phones record everything you say. You can be talking about the most arcane topic, like dry villages in Alaska, and then the next time you are online you see Google auto-suggest filling in "dry villages in Alaska" on the search bar. This exact example happened to me, and it was years ago. Is this really the first search term that would be suggested when you type "dry"?

I've seen it happen many times. From things I've read, your phone is listening even when you have it turned off.

I would say the ring doorbell is just another example of this.

Also, many devices now have Alexa, even if you never use it and forget it's there. My TV remote control has this. I rarely use the TV, but the remote is probably always listening.
 

presidentcarter

Ostrich
Protestant
Gold Member
Your cell phones record everything you say. You can be talking about the most arcane topic, like dry villages in Alaska, and then the next time you are online you see Google auto-suggest filling in "dry villages in Alaska" on the search bar. This exact example happened to me, and it was years ago. Is this really the first search term that would be suggested when you type "dry"?

I've seen it happen many times. From things I've read, your phone is listening even when you have it turned off.

I would say the ring doorbell is just another example of this.

Also, many devices now have Alexa, even if you never use it and forget it's there. My TV remote control has this. I rarely use the TV, but the remote is probably always listening.
Which is why I'm still 'old tech' with just about everything.

Iphone from years ago that hasn't had an iOS update also in years. I use it for the bare necessicities and no I'm not concerned about 'security vulnerabilities' from not updating the iOS (to the covid contact tracer stalker and fake kiddo pron AI iOS versions). My next phone will be a de-googled android because...apple and big tech are creepy.

My TVs are Sony Bravia LCDs that still have a great 1080p picture but are dumb as rocks (zero internet). I updated them through a thumb drive when they needed fresh firmware.

I'm starting to research home security systems but finding one which doesn't require internet and sometimes cloud storage is proving to be difficult. Also I realize you sacrifice a lot of features by stripping it of a constant internet connection.

Hopefully I can find a good compromise and one that is a little more 'professional grade' than the consumer driven Ring and similar products. Like possibly having a dedicated monitor in the bedroom and office hardwired to the cameras which show the property a la a 90's movie instead of the relying on an (updated and big tech approved) cellphone and the internet to see who's at my door. I think a closed circuit system combined with a basic ADT type alert system would be ideal.

I realize my approach to technology is somewhat unique and not something everything will subscribe to.
 
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Sveti Vrh

 
Banned
Orthodox
Your cell phones record everything you say. You can be talking about the most arcane topic, like dry villages in Alaska, and then the next time you are online you see Google auto-suggest filling in "dry villages in Alaska" on the search bar. This exact example happened to me, and it was years ago. Is this really the first search term that would be suggested when you type "dry"?

I've seen it happen many times. From things I've read, your phone is listening even when you have it turned off.

I would say the ring doorbell is just another example of this.

Also, many devices now have Alexa, even if you never use it and forget it's there. My TV remote control has this. I rarely use the TV, but the remote is probably always listening.
Ok but which software actually does the 'listening'? Probably the background soft which handles call audio. A LienageOS should solve the issue.
 

MKE-Ed

Woodpecker
Catholic
About four years ago, I went to visit friends in Chicago and one of the things that I noticed on their residential street was several homes had video cameras on the outside and even overlooking their backyards. Some of these were professionally installed cameras and some were Ring cameras. From what I was told, this is becoming very common now.

If you need to have any kind of video system for your home, I would get one that is connected to a professional grade DVR that you control. I would not have one sending video to any cloud based server. The trend in the professional industry is to have all of the video stored on the cloud. This is something I would avoid because you really don’t know who has access to your video or where it’s being sent to.
 

Thomas More

Crow
Protestant
I haven't seen it stated explicitly here, but I assume that image recognition is used on every person that a ring camera sees, either coming to the door, or walking past the house.

They say that even with ((("anonymized"))) data, advertisers know who each person is just by the unique footprint their cookie data provides. Add in image recognition data from Ring, and other data sources, and the globohomo data centers know where we are and who we are associated with at all times.

Nobody here would do this anymore, but if you were to be having any kind of illicit sexual relationship, the system will have it in their files, ready to use against you. Likewise, they know if you are going to church, and will use that against you too.
 

MKE-Ed

Woodpecker
Catholic
A year before the whole Covid stuff occurred, I had to meet with camera vendors when my former employer wanted to upgrade our video system. One of the vendors showed me a system that had analytic capabilities that you could review video and zero in on certain shapes and colors and the system would highlight those things in the video that was recorded. It was pretty impressive.

We then installed a Ring camera to try it out and I have to admit it worked a lot better that I thought it would. It’s microphone could pick up conversations from down a long corridor pretty well. It’s essentially a cheap surveillance system. I would caution everyone when in the vicinity of a Ring camera to be cautious of what you say or talk about. These are being used by people to spy on unsuspecting individuals.
 

TheFinalEpic

Pelican
Catholic
Gold Member
Smart home products will continue to get more popular as time goes on. If you are going to be using any of them, you 100% unequivocally should be using open source devices and software hosted on your own hardware. There are plenty of projects that allow for this.

Personally, I have laptops from 10 years ago running open source BIOSes and will never own a television, but I understand if you want to have security cameras and lighting that you can alter the hue of...
 

Thomas More

Crow
Protestant
Smart home products will continue to get more popular as time goes on. If you are going to be using any of them, you 100% unequivocally should be using open source devices and software hosted on your own hardware. There are plenty of projects that allow for this.

Personally, I have laptops from 10 years ago running open source BIOSes and will never own a television, but I understand if you want to have security cameras and lighting that you can alter the hue of...
Uh oh, I think they just got to TheFinalEpic as he was typing this post.


Username checks out
 

BasilSeal

Kingfisher
Trad Catholic
Gold Member
I am really surprised that no company yet offers a (google home, alexa, etc) compatible device that is just a microphone, with no camera. Let's pretend for now that they would be marketed for the purpose of "extending the listening range of a camera", if you needed some reason for them to exist.

Today, it is the camera that gives these devices their legitimacy. You can spot the camera and self-moderate a private discussion, to suit. Meanwhile, the exact same device without any camera would be a lot smaller, a lot cheaper, more discrete, and maybe even wireless with a combination of battery and solar power. They could be located almost anywhere you'd care to "listen", at the sidewalk on your property, between your property and your neighbor's property, etc.

It just gets creepier from there, but I bet people would empty the shelves of them. I'd wager that the majority of the reason people own these devices to begin with is not for home security at all, it is for voyeurism. It is bad enough to have your every move recorded on camera, but not being able to speak freely in public or even in your home, even in low voices, would be an absolute 1984 style nightmare. People are most often canceled for what they say, not what they do.
 

Easy_C

Peacock
Ok but which software actually does the 'listening'? Probably the background soft which handles call audio. A LienageOS should solve the issue.

If you're OK with using a non-standard OS and needing to customize your power saving settings to have a reasonable battery life:


A lot of the other stuff does not need to be "smart". I have a programmable LED setup in my work space. It's controlled by an IR remote with no WiFi functionality.
 

SensibleUlan

Sparrow
Trad Catholic
It's the ones that record the data on the cloud that are especially sinister.
The type that record to a data storage only you can access (hard-drive SSD etc) are the best kind.
 

Observer

 
Banned
Other Christian
In Australia it is illegal to drive using a mobile phone. Recently they have started setting up cameras all over our metropolitan road networks to catch people breaking this law in the name of "safety". These are sophisticated cameras taking snapshots of every single driver and their vehicle identification driving through that location. Some people believe its in the name of safety, others would say its simply revenue raising. I wouldn't be surprised if something more sinister is happening here and it is more Orwellian measures of big brother watching and monitoring us.
 

Sooth

Pelican
Gold Member
In Australia it is illegal to drive using a mobile phone. Recently they have started setting up cameras all over our metropolitan road networks to catch people breaking this law in the name of "safety". These are sophisticated cameras taking snapshots of every single driver and their vehicle identification driving through that location. Some people believe its in the name of safety, others would say its simply revenue raising. I wouldn't be surprised if something more sinister is happening here and it is more Orwellian measures of big brother watching and monitoring us.
In some places in China there are cameras on every street corner. They flash as you drive past and simultaneously track the car registration, facial recognition on the driver and they can detect if you have your seatbelt on. Of course it's all linked through their various social apps and you are punished immediately with a digital fine and in some cases losing certain privileges.
 
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