Ring Doorbell App Packed with Third-Party Trackers

Ring isn't just a product that allows users to surveil their neighbors. The company also uses it to surveil its customers.

Four main analytics and marketing companies were discovered to be receiving information such as the names, private IP addresses, mobile network carriers, persistent identifiers, and sensor data on the devices of paying customers.

The danger in sending even small bits of information is that analytics and tracking companies are able to combine these bits together to form a unique picture of the user's device. This cohesive whole represents a fingerprint that follows the user as they interact with other apps and use their device, in essence providing trackers the ability to spy on what a user is doing in their digital lives and when they are doing it. All this takes place without meaningful user notification or consent and, in most cases, no way to mitigate the damage done. [...]

Ring has exhibited a pattern of behavior that attempts to mitigate exposure to criticism and scrutiny while benefiting from the wide array of customer data available to them. It has been able to do so by leveraging an image of the secure home, while profiting from a surveillance network which facilitates police departments' unprecedented access into the private lives of citizens, as we have previously covered. For consumers, this image has cultivated a sense of trust in Ring that should be shaken by the reality of how the app functions: not only does Ring mismanage consumer data, but it also intentionally hands over that data to trackers and data miners.

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10 Responses:

  1. Different Jamie says:

    The poetic thing to do would be for Ring to run a "Marketer's Portal" to mirror the cop portal, where skeevy spammers could request demographics and PII from Ring customers.

    A buffet made of their costumers multi-sided next-gen platform economy!

  2. Jim says:

    Police can keep Ring camera video forever and share with whomever they’d like, Amazon tells senator

    Ring let police view map of video doorbell installations for over a year

    Those and all the other articles like them seem to be oblivious to the concept of a subpoena. But that's okay, because Ring's Terms of Service doesn't either: "you also acknowledge and agree that Ring may access, use, preserve and/or disclose your Content to law enforcement authorities, government officials, and/or third parties, if legally required to do so or if we have a good faith belief that such access, use, preservation or disclosure is reasonably necessary to ... comply with applicable law, regulation, legal process or reasonable governmental request" [emphasis added.]

  3. Aidan Gauland says:

    Today in News That Should Surprise No One. (Still should be covered, of course, but this isn't remotely surprising anymore.)

  4. Hylyx says:

    Just gonna leave this handy how-to here, in case anyone sees these in their neighborhood.

    • Aidan Gauland says:

      Good lord... Makes me think living in the middle of nowhere isn't so bad. (I live next to the middle of nowhere.)

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