Amazon-owned rings of smart-home doorbells and web-enabled security cameras are changing its privacy settings Two weeks after a study showed that the company shares customers’ personal information with Facebook, Google and other parties without user consent.
The change would allow ring users to block the sharing of their data, a company spokeswoman said, adding that people would be able to opt out of sharing agreements “where applicable.” The spokesman declined to clarify what “where applicable” could mean.
The ring is officially announced and will begin rolling out the opt-out feature next week, a spokesperson told CBS Money Watch. A planned change to the ring’s privacy settings has not been reported before.
The ring creates high-level doorbells that can alert you and deliver real-time video to your phone when someone is at the door. Doorbells that connect to your home’s WiFi are sold for around $ 100 and above.$ 1 billion is reported in 2018 as part of the ecommerce giant’s expansion into Internet-enabled products for homes.
More recently, the ring has faced privacy concerns around its technology. In late January, an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Study The company found that users of the ring regularly shared user data with Facebook, including users who did not have an account on the social media platform.
“They didn’t give a reasonable explanation as to why they would need to share user data with third-party partners,” said Bill Buddington, staff technologist at EFF, a digital privacy advocacy group that does the ring study.
In response to the EFF survey, Ring said it relies on “third-party service providers” to help improve its service. It adds that sharing of such national data is “limited for good reason.”
“Filled with third-party trackers”
EFF’s January Investigation Ring’s phone app was “transmissible to send personally identifiable information to customers through third-party trackers” found EFF survey found that Ring did not share video of its users.
Nevertheless, the EFF has claimed shares of the company A lot of user data, including the name of the person when the doorbell app was used, the number of devices the user had, the model number of the device, the user’s unique Internet address, and many more.
This information can be used by third parties to identify when ring users are in or out of the home and to target them with ads for services based on that information. Buddington says that data miners often use ring detectors from rings and other sources to connect users with personal information collected elsewhere.
The Ring informs its customers about privacy in its website, saying that it shares some of their data. It also provides a list of third parties that have a contract with. However, Facebook does not appear on that list. According to the EFF, the ring does not share data with a large number of companies.
Other companies are sharing customer data with the ring and this is not well known. One is Branch.io, which specializes in promoting web marketing. Of the branch Website The company says “integrates fragmented data to show you the full journey of each customer. The result: more data to optimize your promotions and maximize ROI.”
The branch has its own security concerns. It was a year and a half ago Condemned To spread various software bugs that use its services. Some experts then claimed that the bug could expose data to 645 million people. Alex Austin, CEO of the branch, told CBS Money Watch that its software bug reports were “clearly false” and that no user data was compromised.
Austin also said that the branch’s function for the ring is specific enough that when a user “clicks on a link, it will open. [Ring] Application and takes you to the right page, “noting that Ring does not use his company’s analytics platform.
Austin said the branch collects some user data from IP partners and “partners, such as Ring, with advertising identifiers. He added that the company does not collect names or email addresses, and that the data it scoops up on is” pseudonymous and seven days. Later removed from the raw logs “.
Critics say there are rings Fight To respond to criticism of the EFF’s privacy policies after its study. While it has confirmed that it has shared more data with users than ever before with third parties, the company said in a statement that it contractually limits its partners to use the data for “just purpose”, helping to improve its application and user experience.
Ring also upgraded its app late last month to include a control panel that lets users see which device or other users have approved to access and disconnect their account.
“Like many companies, Ring uses third-party service providers to evaluate our mobile app usage, which helps us improve our features, optimize the customer experience, and evaluate our marketing effectiveness,” said a Ring spokeswoman.
EFF’s Buddington called the organization’s response to information sharing concerns “insufficient.” He said that the ring could remove personal identifiers in user data before transmitting it to third parties. “It shows the unnecessary approach they had to the privacy and protection of the user,” he said.
The ring has previously gone down in heated water with privacy concerns. The CEO of the ring is Jamie Siminoff Gave an interview to CNET In early January acknowledged that the company was seeking to correct past mistakes.
Last year it was revealed that the ring had partnered Local police departments To help convince their users to share video footage with law enforcement. The ring app allows local police departments to ask directly whether they can access their video files. There was also a ring home security camera , A group that ran a podcast in which hosts promoted direct examples of snooping on home security cameras and harassing users.