A leaked FBI bulletin reveals that doorbell cameras like Ring are being used to alert people when police show up for searches. It’s a funny turn of events since law enforcement agencies actively encourage people to install these cameras.
Subjects likely use IoT devices to hinder LE [law enforcement] investigations and possibly monitor LE activity. If used during the execution of a search, potential subjects could learn of LE’s presence nearby, and LE personnel could have their images captured, thereby presenting a risk to their present and future safety.
Not only are Ring doorbell cameras used as surveillance, but the app itself too. Like many apps, it’s loaded with third-party trackers and analytics tools. The EFF examined the Android app.
As we’ve mentioned, this includes information about your device and carrier, unique identifiers that allow these companies to track you across apps, real-time interaction data with the app, and information about your home network. In the case of MixPanel, it even includes your name and email address.
Bryan Chaffin and Andrew Orr join host Kelly Guimont to discuss Apple joining a standards group for smart home devices, and Ring’s security.
Journalists at VICE tested the security of Amazon Ring security cameras, and they call it “awful.”
Ring is not offering basic security precautions, such as double-checking whether someone logging in from an unknown IP address is the legitimate user, or providing a way to see how many users are currently logged in—entirely common security measures across a wealth of online services.
Romanian security company Bitdefender found that Amazon Ring doorbell cameras were leaking customer data like Wi-Fi credentials.
Bitdefender researchers have discovered an issue in Amazon’s Ring Video Doorbell Pro IoT device that allows an attacker physically near the device to intercept the owner’s Wi-Fi network credentials and possibly mount a larger attack against the household network.
At the moment of publishing this paper, all Ring Doorbell Pro cameras have received a security update that fixes the issue described herein.
You can view the whitepaper [PDF] here.
Andrew Orr and Bryan Chaffin join host Kelly Guimont to discuss tech and legislation colliding in unfortunate ways, and iPhone battery life.
Perhaps using the word “mole” is hyperbole. But it’s deeply concerning that California Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin is actively trying to kill California’s privacy act that would impede companies like Amazon Ring, when her husband is the COO for Ring.
Like other companies that collect vast amounts of consumer data, Ring — and its parent company, Amazon — has a financial stake in the details of California’s groundbreaking data-privacy law. Industry groups, including those representing Amazon, have been scrambling to change the law before it takes effect Jan. 1.
“We can talk about this later,”Jacqui Irwin said, side-stepping questions about a potential conflict outside her office last week. “It’s a little bit offensive there.”
Ring, the Amazon-owned surveillance company that sells doorbell cameras, is partnering with 400 more police forces across the U.S.
The partnerships let police automatically request the video recorded by homeowners’ cameras within a specific time and area, helping officers see footage from the company’s millions of Internet-connected cameras installed nationwide, the company said. Officers don’t receive ongoing or live-video access, and homeowners can decline the requests, which Ring sends via email thanking them for “making your neighborhood a safer place.”
Previous Ring coverage: Here, and here.
A couple weeks ago I shared news that Amazon is requiring police to promote its Ring surveillance cameras. Not that bad, I thought, because at least the police had to have the owner’s permission. But I was optimistic, because Amazon is giving police talking points on how to persuade owners, and even seizing the video footage if the owner said no.
As reported by GovTech on Friday, police can request Ring camera footage directly from Amazon, even if a Ring customer denies to provide police with the footage. It’s a workaround that allows police to essentially “subpoena” anything captured on Ring cameras.
Things like government surveillance and hacking are precisely why I will never buy smart home products. Update: A Ring spokesperson emailed me a correction: The reports that police can obtain any video from a Ring doorbell within 60 days is false. Ring will not release customer information in response to government demands without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us. Ring objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course.
As part of a secret agreement, Amazon requires that police “encourage adoption” of its Ring doorbell surveillance cameras.
Dozens of police departments around the country have partnered with Ring, but until now, the exact terms of these partnerships have remained unknown. A signed memorandum of understanding between Ring and the police department of Lakeland, Florida, and emails obtained via a public records request, show that Ring is using local police as a de facto advertising firm. Police are contractually required to “Engage the Lakeland community with outreach efforts on the platform to encourage adoption of the platform/app.”
The Ring Alarm DIY home security system is available for pre-order now and ships at the beginning of July.
Ring—which Amazon acquired in February—makes a smart doorbell that has a camera connected to Wi-Fi.
Apple released macOS 10.13.4 this week and, well, it changes some things. No worries, your two favorite geeks talk through it all. Then it’s on to managing duplicate contacts and properly migrating your data. There are other questions, too, as well as a few other Quick Tips and some Cool Stuff(s) Found. Press play and enjoy!
John F. Braun and Dave Hamilton join Jeff Gamet CES 2018 in Las Vegas to look at how Apple’s HomePod is a big topic this year, plus they share more cool products they’ve found.
LAS VEGAS – Ring, maker of video doorbells and security cams, added an entire home security kit to its lineup today. The US$199 Ring Alarm Home Security System starter bundle includes a keypad, Base Station (with siren), motion sensor, and door/window sensor. Additional motion and door/window sensors can be added to the system, of course. On its own, the Ring Alarm will send alerts to your iPhone, but it can also be paired with an optional professional monitoring service and cellular backup service for $10/month. The nice part is, if you’re comfortable doing your own monitoring with your iPhone, you don’t need to ever pay a monthly fee. Just set the Ring Alarm system up, connect it to your Wi-Fi, and let it do its thing and alert you when something is awry. The Ring Alarm system will be available coming in 2018.