I'm ready to stop buying Ring products unless they take privacy more seriously

Ring Video Doorbell 2
Ring Video Doorbell 2 (Image credit: Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

I use a Ring Video Doorbell Pro (opens in new tab). I'm not so much concerned about capturing video for the cloud or monitoring what goes on in my front yard (I have other cameras for that) but because I don't walk quickly, answering my doorbell remotely is extremely convenient. And when you work for a website like Android Central you get a lot of packages. With the Ring app, I can ask the driver to come to the back door or to please leave it under the bench and waive any signature requirements.

I hate to do it because a video doorbell has made a big difference in my life.

Unfortunately, I'm removing the doorbell and replacing it with one that doesn't send my data to Facebook and other third-party trackers.

Multiple Ring data breaches reported, thousands of customers impacted

And that's exactly what is happening, according to the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation). And I trust the EFF a lot more than I trust Ring.

Ring helps Facebook track you even if you don't have a Facebook account.

Finding out that cloud-connected Internet of Things devices are playing fast and loose with our information is nothing new. But what the Ring app for Android is doing is untenable. It's delivering data like users' real names, private IP addresses, mobile network carriers, persistent device identifiers, and the actual sensor data on the devices themselves. Yikes.

Even more: Ring found hiding coordinates in Neighbors posts that pinpoint its cameras

Maybe you're thinking that this isn't a terrible breach of trust. But when any company has this amount of data, it's pretty easy to build a profile of you and keep track of a lot of other things using data they get from other apps. Among the parties getting this data is Facebook, and it can keep tabs on you with information like this even if you don't have a Facebook account. Yikes x2.

I don't want to stop using my Ring doorbell. It genuinely makes my life easier. But there's no way in heck that these companies are getting any more information about me from me. They'll just have to find another sneaky way to nab it because I'm cutting my losses and my $200 fancy doorbell is going in the drawer with my EVO 3D and Nexus 6.

Maybe instead I'll try one of those cameras that stores my video stream locally (opens in new tab).

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Cue the "Well, I have nothing to hide. Besides, if you use Android, you're already giving all your personal data away anyway" crowd. It's shocking, that Ring doesn't bother to bring any of this up in their cute little commercials.
  • I have GSAM battery installed on my phone because there was an app killing my battery and I didn't know which it was. Low and behold it was the Ring. For some reason it had all this background activity for hours at a time even though it wasn't from motions. Once uninstalled my battery life is back is much better. I agree with you Jerry.
  • It is an incredibly disappointing if unsurprising situation. It would be nice if there was anyone competing with them... I'd prefer Nest, but in typical Google fashion they offer one product and if it doesn't fit your needs, you can eat cork. We should also consider that ring isn't ring, it's Amazon. If Amazon are letting one of their apps do this stuff, i don't see why any of the others should be trusted. Shelving a ring doorbell and keeping a bunch of echo devices seems like deleting Facebook and keeping Instagram... And messenger lol.
  • A live video camera over Wi-Fi. People who are not technologically advanced enough. What could possibly go wrong??
  • The iOS app is most likely doing the same thing but it's harder to find. Ring has also been getting into bed with the cops in the US (not sure about here in Australia) for more surveillance.
  • Also on AC today, a promotion for Ring doorbells. https://www.androidcentral.com/see-whos-there-ring-video-doorbell-2-sale...
  • Yup. Jerry feels this way about it, but that't not how everyone will feel. Some are more willing to accept the trade off for the convenience, and some are not. This is how nearly all consumer tech works these days.
  • Oh Jeez! Its almost as if people need to stop buying cloud devices and buying local devices! Who could have ever predicted that by storing everything about your life in a 'cloud', would ever not be given out to other people/companies without your consent or knowledge! What a shocker!!! In all seriousness... This isn't surprising and is exactly why I never bought one... I don't do 'cloud' products because whats in the cloud is not 'yours'. As the saying goes "Once its on the internet, its always on the internet".... So if you don't want your stuff being handed out to other people, then stop using products that do it... Would be awesome if someone set up a competing company that stored everything on an SD card or a local NAS, and streamed things directly to your phones/tablets, instead of going through their servers and then to your phones/tablets... who ever would do that, would get my money. AND I'd be willing to pay double the price of a RING Doorbell to have it!
  • Since installing the doorbell, I have noticed that whenever I try to move my active zones to exactly where I want them, around a 1/4 of an inch from the very bottom of the view, I still receive alerts from the top part of the camera. I have updated and changed the zones to make sure it was configured correctly, but it seems like they want to see who is coming and going across the street. This article seems less conspiracist to me now: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/zmjp53/how-ring-went-from-shark-tank-...
  • Um... correct link: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ywaa57/how-ring-transmits-fear-to-ame...
  • "I'm ready to stop"
    - Should've never started. Self-surveillance makes little sense ;)
  • I gotta laugh at this...yes I use Android and I hope that my efforts to curb tracking through many means is having an effect...but I never had any interest in any internet connected cameras or microphones connected to my house. However, this really does not surprise me at all.
  • Its easy to blame the developers for security problems. The end user 98% of the time its there fault, just like with routers. Customers need to educate themselves not to use default usernames and passwords. That video that was going around on the internet how a camera was hacked into, well a five year old could have guessed that. And yes there are a lot of companies that share your data, and when its free sofware or what ever thats the chance you take. Companies spend tons of money on hardware and software development, we put out all the money first and we all make mistakes.
  • So glad I didn't invest in Ring or any other wireless system. Anyone serious about home security shouldn't even consider wireless cloud-based systems.