EFF: Ring Doorbell App for Android Is Packed With Third-Party Trackers

Bill Budington, writing for the EFF:

Ring isn’t just a product that allows users to surveil their neighbors. The company also uses it to surveil its customers.

An investigation by EFF of the Ring doorbell app for Android found it to be packed with third-party trackers sending out a plethora of customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). Four main analytics and marketing companies were discovered to be receiving information such as the names, private IP addresses, mobile network carriers, persistent identifiers, and sensor data on the devices of paying customers.

This is sort of nuts. Isn’t a doorbell camera the sort of product that obviously demands more attention to privacy from the company that makes it? Third-party trackers are a privacy scourge in any app, but a doorbell camera seems like one of the last apps that should contain them. (The EFF’s investigation only mentions the Ring app for Android — no word on what trackers are in the iOS app — it’s a good bet its chock full of trackers too, though.)

Seems like every week there are new disturbing disclosures about Ring. Were these egregious security, privacy, and law enforcement issues part of the company culture before Amazon bought them, or because Amazon bought them? And why does Amazon, of all companies, need third-party trackers at all?

Tuesday, 28 January 2020