Ring just can’t catch a break at the moment, though as usual it looks like this latest fiasco is one entirely of their own creation. The Amazon-owned home security systems (opens in new tab) company was the target of an investigation (opens in new tab) by Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which found that Ring sends user data to four analytics and marketing companies, including Facebook. This data is sent via the Android app and includes "names, private IP addresses, mobile network carriers, persistent identifiers, and sensor data on the devices of paying customers".
EFF was damning in its indictment of Ring for this breach, claiming that "Ring has exhibited a pattern of behavior that attempts to mitigate exposure to criticism and scrutiny while benefiting from the wide array of customer data available to them".
Perhaps the most disturbing revelation is that Ring sends this information to Facebook even if you don’t actually have a Facebook account. Through the Ring Android app, Facebook can find out what device you’re using, your time zone, language settings, and even the resolution of your screen. This kind of data is invaluable to marketing agencies, who can use it to target adverts and offers at specific individuals based on their habits. For example, if an ad agency knows that your phone is three years old, they can target ads for the latest smartphones at you.
For its part, Ring does publicly acknowledge (opens in new tab) that it uses third-party analytics companies to monitor their websites and apps, but of the four companies that EFF uncovered, Facebook’s name is noticeably absent. Only MixPanel is listed as a partner, and even then the extent of the data they receive is not publicly stated. Earlier this month, Ring admitted that it had fired four employees (opens in new tab) for inappropriately accessing user videos after a US senator probed the Amazon-owned home security company for answers.
Smart home security systems are increasingly popular, but there are options out there for consumers worried about these data collection concerns. Check out our best DIY home security systems (opens in new tab) or best wireless security camera (opens in new tab) guides here to see what options are out there.