Amazon's Ring Is a Perfect Storm of Privacy Threats


Level 78
Thread author
Top Poster
Mar 29, 2018
Doors across the United States are now fitted with Amazon’s Ring, a combination doorbell-security camera that records and transmits video straight to users’ phones, to Amazon’s cloud—and often to the local police department. By sending photos and alerts every time the camera detects motion or someone rings the doorbell, the app can create an illusion of a household under siege. It turns what seems like a perfectly safe neighborhood into a source of anxiety and fear. This raises the question: do you really need Ring, or have Amazon and the police misled you into thinking that you do?
Recent reports show that Ring has partnered with police departments across the country to hawk this new surveillance system—going so far as to draft press statements and social media posts for police to promote Ring cameras. This creates a vicious cycle in which police promote the adoption of Ring, Ring terrifies people into thinking their homes are in danger, and then Amazon sells more cameras.

How Ring Surveils and Frightens Residents
Even though government statistics show that crime in the United States has been steadily decreasing for decades, people’s perception of crime and danger in their communities often conflict with the data. Vendors prey on these fears by creating products that inflame our greatest anxieties about crime.
Ring works by sending notifications to a person’s phone every time the doorbell rings or motion near the door is detected. With every update, Ring turns the delivery person or census-taker innocently standing on at the door into a potential criminal.

Neighborhood watch apps only increase the paranoia. Amazon promotes its free Neighbors app to accompany Ring. Other vendors sell competing apps such as Nextdoor and Citizen. All are marketed as localized social networks where people in a neighborhood can discuss local issues or share concerns. But all too often, they facilitate reporting of so-called “suspicious” behavior that really amounts to racial profiling. Take, for example, the story of an African-American real estate agent who was stopped by police because neighbors thought it was “suspicious” for him to ring a doorbell.
Even law enforcement are noticing the social consequences of public-safety-by-push-notification. At the International Associations of Chiefs of Police conference earlier this year, which EFF attended, Chandler Police Assistant Chief Jason Zdilla said that his city in Arizona embraced the Ring program, registering thousands of new Ring cameras per month. Though Chandler is experiencing a historic low for violent crime for the fourth year in a row, Ring is giving the public another impression.
“What happens is when someone opens up the social media, and every day they see maybe a potential criminal act, or every day they see a suspicious person, they start believing that this is prevalent, and that crime is really high,” Zdilla said.
If getting an alert from your front door or your neighbor every time a stranger walks down the street doesn’t cause enough paranoia, Ring is trying to alert users to local 911 calls. The Ring-police partnerships would allow the company to tap into the computer-aided dispatch system, and alert users to local 911 calls as part of the “crime news” alerts on its app, Neighbors. Such push alerts based on 911 calls could be used to instill fear and sell additional Ring services.
From Neutral Guardians to Scripted Hawkers
Thanks to in-depth reporting from Motherboard, Gizmodo, CNET, and others, we know a lot about the symbiotic relationship between Amazon’s Ring and local police departments, and how that relationship jeopardizes privacy and circumvents regulation.

.... for the full story (of evil) continue reading here Amazon’s Ring Is a Perfect Storm of Privacy Threats


Level 29
Top Poster
Sep 13, 2018
Sorry, the only "Ring" thread that was still open so @ moderators--if not appropriate, do what you have to do.


This news may well be upsetting to Ring customers as it is reported that it's been ransomed by the ALPHV group. This is preliminary--I'd personally wait until the mainstream media reports it on its own. But be ready...

Ring Video Doorbells is a subsidiary of Amazon Corporation.

Edit: here is an interesting set of statistics compiled over the last week alone. The US is naturally at the top of the list in terms of a nation targeted by cyber-attacks.

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