I recently relocated to a tiny, peaceful village from a big, busy city. The pace of life is significantly slower here; the local bowling alley is the main draw, and golf carts are used by the majority of residents to travel around town. The nightlife also slows down at dark. A violent crime hasn’t been reported in at least five years. Nevertheless, the homes are secured by a number of smart home security cameras and alarm systems.

Because my home was 20 floors above the ground and had both physical and technological locking mechanisms on every floor, I never paid for a home security system in the city. This kept me safe from anyone who could hurt me physically. I’m wondering if you can really trust Ring or any other home security business with video of you, your family, or anybody else on your property after seeing all of these surveillance systems in my new area.

After all, as we found in the 2021 case involving an ADT worker who used the company’s security cameras to eavesdrop on clients having sex in their homes, security corporations struggle to protect their customers’ privacy.

To make sure your video doorbell only serves you and not against you, it is worthwhile to take a few steps.

IS HARDENING PETTY CRIMES WORTH THE RISKS TO PRIVACY? While a video doorbell might assist to discourage porch pirates, there are a few ways it could also be a significant security issue. First, the obvious: Your doorbell might be hacked. Using three families’ Ring doorbells, hackers spied on them and harassed them in 2019. The perpetrators were able to take control of the devices after cracking the passwords for the Ring users’ accounts. It’s recommended to secure your smart home security account with multi-factor authentication and use a strong, unique password kept in a password manager in order to prevent the consequences of an inevitable data breach.

The potential misuse of the personal information that your smart home security camera collects is the second security concern. After the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy organization, determined that Ring was transmitting user data to third parties without giving customers the option to opt out, the company got into trouble in 2020. Ring’s current privacy policy notes that while the company does not sell user data to outside businesses, it does share data with outside analytics teams, which is less reassuring from the perspective of the end user. By entering the Control Center on your Ring account’s profile and changing your data collection options, you can choose not to share.

After giving customers’ video records to law enforcement 11 times in 2022 without their permission, Ring recently came under fire. Ring requires law authorities to provide a search warrant in order to collect information from a user’s camera without authorization, according to the vendors policy (Opens in a new window) . However, in emergency situations involving a person’s serious physical harm or impending death, Ring may also disclose information with the police.

NOT JUST RING PRODUCTS ARE INVOLVED You are not required to utilize video doorbells with the Ring logo. There are other possibilities, but they all follow the same rules, especially when it comes to obeying court orders. The smart doorbell manufacturer Arlo stated in its privacy policy: We never release your recordings for private litigation matters without your authorization. We never share your videos or account information with police enforcement unless there is a legally enforceable search warrant or court order.

The privacy statement for Google’s Nest doorbells lists a number of situations in which the business may disclose your personal information, including when looking into potential terms of service violations.

HOW TO FIX YOUR RING’S RECORDING PROBLEM Your Ring doorbell does not record or keep your videos unless you subscribe to Ring Protect, making it a reasonably safe solution for home surveillance. The device’s live video feed can be viewed by you and any other users with whom you have shared it, but no Ring personnel can watch your live stream without your permission.

You may keep your videos on the cloud with Ring Protect. The videos can be downloaded and shared online by using the Ring app or website. I do not advise posting videos of the inside or exterior of your home on social media with strangers in order to promote internet security.

Here are three methods to use Ring Protect to have some control over the recordings made by your Ring device:

1. ESTABLISH PRIVATE AREA Within the field of vision of your Ring device camera, a privacy zone is an area that is off-limits. The camera won’t record video inside the boundaries you draw on the app’s screen display.

Privacy Policy

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