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  • February 20, 2020

Has there ever been a tech product more polarizing than Ring?

The internet-connected doorbell gadget, which lets you watch live video of your front porch through a phone app or website, has gained a reputation as the webcam that spies on you and that has failed to protect your data. Yet people keep buying it in droves.

Ring, which is owned by Amazon and based in Santa Monica, Calif., has generated its share of headlines, including how the company fired four employees over the last four years for watching customers’ videos. Last month, security researchers also found that Ring’s apps contained hidden code, which had shared customer data with third-party marketers. And in December, hackers hijacked the Ring cameras of multiple families, using the devices’ speakers to verbally assault some of them.

This week, Ring announced new protocols to strengthen the security of its products, such as mandating two-factor verification, which requires you to punch in a temporary code before logging into your account to see your footage. A Ring spokeswoman said the company was focused on constantly enhancing its security.

Yet security experts said that Ring had been slow to react and that its solutions were weak.

“Ring has done precious little to address the broader threats to privacy that their devices enable,” said William Budington, a technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights nonprofit group, who helped discover the trackers embedded inside Ring’s apps.

In response to how Ring’s apps were using invisible trackers to send data to third-party marketing and analytics firms, the company said it was “temporarily pausing the use of most third-party analytics services in the Ring apps and website” while it worked on tools for people to opt out of this type of data sharing.


The words “temporarily pausing” and “most” do not fill me with confidence.

Fortunately, there are apps designed to prevent trackers embedded inside apps and websites from sucking up your data. My favorite is Fyde, a free app for Android devices and iPhones.

Just download Fyde in the App Store or Google Play and follow the on-screen instructions. After activating Fyde’s protections, open the Ring app, and then return to Fyde and tap on the Activity tab to see which trackers are being blocked.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/19/technology/personaltech/ring-doorbell-camera-spying.html