video doorbell security

Video Doorbell Security Comes with a Price

Home security has never been easier than with video doorbells. These doorbells can alert you when there are people on your property because they have motion detectors, which send notification to your phone, tablet or PC.

You can see, hear or speak to any visitors in real time, and answer the door or do a home check-in, any time from anywhere.

Like everything else, there are pros and cons to the Ring video doorbell. Here are some features that call for some thought:

1. The Ring App Neighbors Program Is Opt-In

Downloading the Ring app automatically enrolls you into an “opt-in” program called Neighbors which is necessary to use the Ring device.

The postings on this program cover suspicious activity, crime, safety issues, and even lost pet information within 5 miles of your home. You can turn off notifications but you can’t delete it.

2. Ring Can Give the Impression That Criminal Activity is Worse Than It Is

So much focus on crime gives people an outsized fear that criminal activity is on the rise when it is not. Suspicious activity reports often have racial overtones.

You can get false impressions of criminal activity. The Ring motion detector uses a heat detector to detect movement, not geofencing and you can’t exclude areas to be covered.

3. Ring Hacking Has Real-Life Security Consequences

Hacking of the Ring program can cause horrific real-life security problems. There was a case in Mississippi where a hacker used the family’s Ring to harass an eight-year-old girl in her bedroom.

Ring insisted that it was not due to a security breach by them, but was the result of people reusing compromised passwords. They advised consumers to use new passwords, or enable two-factor authentication with extra information to prevent hacks.

Ring did not make it mandatory for customers to use new passwords or enable two-factor authentication, fearing mass logouts. However, for new customers it will be a default.

4. Ring Employees Have Access to Your Videos

Ring employees were caught inappropriately accessing Ring footage, and while they were fired, it is not known what information they got, and why they were accessing it.

5. Ring’s Partnerships with Police Departments Don’t Ensure Greater Security

Ring is working in partnership with police departments, giving police a direct way to request video if there is an active nearby crime investigation.

It seems like a great way to fight crime, and Ring users don’t have to give video if they don’t want, and their identities are kept secret.

However, it would not be difficult for the police to find out who didn’t give their video, and it has been reported that Amazon has been coaching police on how to obtain the videos without a warrant.

6. Ring and Facial Recognition

Ring has stated that it does not use facial recognition, but have filed patents for facial recognition technology, and facial recognition technology is faulty, especially when it comes to non-white faces.

It is another decision for consumers to weigh – is the security provided by technology worth it?