Crime rates are at an all-time high so we want to take every precaution possible. Thus, many are jumping onto the ‘Amazon Ring camera’ bandwagon. The cloud-enabled security camera is quite the rage these days. However, the reasons for its popularity aren’t very positive. The infamous Amazon Ring system has raised many privacy and civil liberties concerns. Rather than ensuring security, the camera has made Amazon “the most dangerous tech company”, according to tech experts. Of late, many companies have been accused of breach of privacy. For instance, Avast was found guilty for selling user data to third-party companies, Honey browser extension collects users’ data and tracks their shopping behavior etc.
Thus, we have listed down 10 things you must know before installing the Amazon Ring camera because we want you to stay safe!
1. Ring cameras do NOT prevent crimes
At least, there’s no evidence yet. Researchers have confirmed that surveillance doesn’t necessarily stop crimes. All it does is raise suspicion unnecessarily and add on to privacy breach. According to a Reddit user, when he had a break-in, he was able to share the footage with the police for them to do nothing with it! Yay, “so safe”!
2. Getting a warrant
If your town’s police have partnered with Amazon Ring, chances are that you’ll get emails requesting for the footage whenever a crime takes place. You’ll get two options, namely — “Share footage” or “Review footage before you share.” However, if you go for the third option of ignoring the mail, the police will have to get a warrant. This implies that they need to share a legitimate reason for accessing your footage with a judge. Even if this step sounds useless since the police will straightaway send the warrant to Amazon, it’s important for the court to watch over.
3. The Cloud Storage
Your Ring footage is stored in a cloud that can be accessed by Amazon employees and God knows who! Whatever goes on inside or around your residence will not be a private affair anymore. Moreover, since most people point their Ring camera outwards, chances are that your neighbors’ surroundings will also be out in the public. We don’t think they’ll be pleased with that now, will they?
Few Amazon employees have already been fired for accessing customers’ personal videos. Moreover, if your town’s police have partnered with Ring, you can expect to get emails requesting for your camera footage as and when a crime is committed in the area. In some cases, even after denial, the police can obtain your footage by sending a warrant to Amazon, without your knowledge.
4. Hello Paranoia, my old friend
Amazon Ring is set up in a way that it inevitably makes you paranoid. With your phone buzzing every time a dog passes by, a snowflake falls on the window or delivery is made, you will end up pulling your hair out unnecessarily. Every movement will trigger you into thinking your neighborhood is the most crime-prone area out there.
5. Hacking and Harassment
Last December, a customer filed a class-action lawsuit against Amazon, adding on to its never-ending Ring fiasco. He slammed the company for its security vulnerabilities that made the Ring system susceptible to hacking. Some of the hacking controversies about Ring include a man traumatizing children, another one racially attacking a couple, and another hacker threatening to “terminate” a sleeping couple unless they paid 50 bitcoins for ransom. The list gets crazier each day!
Through all these incidents, Ring chose to blame the customers’ negligence instead of addressing the elephant in the room. Customers’ ‘mistake’ of choosing weak usernames/passwords could be easily solved if Amazon Ring executed a two-factor authentication system.
6. Please don’t be a creep
Installing the Amazon Ring camera in the right direction is the key to being a responsible and considerate neighbor. Ensure that the camera shows you your surroundings, not your neighbors. Although this depends on your housing location and can get a bit difficult to adhere to. But if you wouldn’t like anyone creeping on you, your neighbors wouldn’t either.
7. Strong passwords and usernames
Amazon Ring users must ensure that they use the most random and unique password to avoid being a target of hackers. As crimes through surveillance cameras are increasing each day, the only way to ensure safety is by choosing usernames and passwords wisely.
8. Third-party trackers
The Ring app for Android is disreputed for sharing personal data with third-party trackers. These trackers are responsible for analyzing how customers are using the app but such data often contains confidential information like your IP address. It is not difficult for such third parties to track you down with the minutest piece of information. Thus, customers must know how to ‘Limit Ad Tracking’ or ‘Reset Advertising Identifier’ on Andriod and iOS respectively.
9. Clear your cloud
Amazon provides a set of different privacy settings for the Ring camera. Whatever you choose, clearing your cloud is a must if you don’t want others prying on your personal footage. Whether Amazon can access deleted data is unknown but it can definitely reduce the breach of privacy.
10. Don’t get unnecessarily suspicious
Not every person passing by your house is there to rob you and not every new person in the neighborhood is a murderer. So… just chill! The buzzing alerts on your phone are already annoying enough so do yourself the favor to not panic over a dog-walker passing by. And no, you don’t need to warn everyone on the Ring app and you definitely don’t need to call the police.
COMMENT: Is there anything else we must know before installing the Amazon Ring Camera? Let us know in the comment section below and stay tuned for more!