Predictable issues with video doorbells


Sam Biddle wrote this article for The Intercept about a brand of Internet-enabled video doorbell. You can probably guess what comes next.

Ring has a history of lax, sloppy oversight when it comes to deciding who has access to some of the most precious, intimate data belonging to any person: a live, high-definition feed from around — and perhaps inside — their house.

I wasn’t aware of other issues they’ve had, but if true I don’t like where this is going.

Beginning in 2016, according to one source, Ring provided its [redacted]-based research and development team virtually unfettered access to a folder on Amazon’s S3 cloud storage service that contained every video created by every Ring camera around the world.

At the same time, the source said, Ring unnecessarily provided executives and engineers in the U.S. with highly privileged access to the company’s technical support video portal

I redacted the location of the researches because its irrelevant to the story and plays into prejudices. I also treat the details in news stories with anonymous sources with a dose of skepticism; Ring did provide a statement, but nothing specific.

I’ll reserve judgement on this device specifically, but what’s being reported here is utterly believable.

Every time a new smart home device comes out, I think it’d be great. Then I wonder how they’d mess it up maliciously or accidentally. Friends and podcasters discuss how awesome their lives are with their new smart device, and I sit at home using light switches like a schmuck. Then things like this happen. And worst of all, I’m not even happy I’m right each time.

The IoT industry as a whole has not earned your trust. Please consider this before jumping onto the next of these.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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