What you need to know
- Ring has added a new feature to its Neighbors app called Request for Assistance.
- Aiming to foster greater transparency, the feature will now be the only way public safety agencies can request information from Ring users and communities.
- The Request for Assistance feature will begin rolling out the week of June 7, 2021.
Over the past several years, Ring has received a healthy dose of criticism and critique for several reasons, including untimely security breaches, inadequate safety features like not requiring two-factor authentication, and unsavory data sharing and collection practices inside its popular Neighbors app. Though these events were unfortunate, the company has recommitted to protecting the privacy and security of its users. It has been working tirelessly over the past 18 months to improve all of the holes in its services and any damage to its public image.
The latest effort called Request for Assistance allows public safety agencies like police and fire departments to ask the Ring community for assistance in the form of tips or video sharing via the Neighbors app in a much more transparent manner. It is also a way for these agencies to be able to share emergency updates or safety information with the Ring Neighbors community.
Ring has made it clear that these requests for assistance will only be publicly viewable to members of your neighborhood feed, and they will include links and contact information to the person/agency requesting the information. Only officially-verified public safety agencies will be able to utilize these new public posting tools, and Ring has shared official guidelines on acceptable usage of these tools on their help center page. Ring users can check on an agency's posting and request history at any point by clicking on that information.
The new request feature is completely opt-in, and Ring customers don't have to worry about their information being shared with public safety agencies unless they expressly agree to do so. There will also be a way to hide these public safety posts from a user's feed if they don't want to see them. Ring users who've previously opted out of video-sharing won't receive these Request for Assistance posts in their feed. These privacy controls build on features added last year to allow users to opt out of third-party ad services.
The Ring ecosystem includes many more home security devices than its well-known video doorbells. In fact, the best Ring products include all kinds of connected home devices from smart lights to plug and play home security systems. If you're interested in protecting your home with Ring products, it's super easy to set up the Ring Neighbors app and connect your Ring doorbell or video camera to your Amazon Echo Show or Fire TV so that you can more easily monitor your property.
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Amazon's Ring products will also work with the Sidewalk project, and there's no better video doorbell right now for Alexa than the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2.
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Jeramy was the Editor-in-Chief of Android Central. He is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand.