Amazon-owned Ring has been caught up in another scandal over how it allows police to access user data.
Ring gave law enforcement a heat map so they could see all Ring devices in a given area, right down to an exact street, according to CNET, which said documents revealing the heat map were obtained by a privacy researcher. The feature, which was sunsetted in July, effectively allowed police to search neighborhoods for camera owners and even circle Ring users’ specific locations.
Ring has been facing a lot of criticism for allowing US police departments to request user videos. It claims not to provide data to law enforcement on who owns its products, and yet if this CNET report is true, law enforcement can at the very least pinpoint who owns a device nearby, and with some quick sleuthing, they can then easily match street addresses with those who live there.
That said, Ring told CNET that zooming in on the heat map “would not provide actual device locations”.
Reports first claimed in January that Ring allowed employees to access unencrypted customer videos from its doorbells. In response, Ring said employees were only given access to videos made public through its community watch program, Neighbors. Then, in August, reports claimed Ring coached police on how to coerce Ring users into releasing footage without a warrant.
Add it all up, and the Amazon company seems to be gladly opening the door to multiple privacy and civil liberty violations.