Warning for all Ring Doorbell and Amazon Alexa owners – you could be at risk

Warning for all Ring Doorbell and Amazon Alexa owners – you could be at risk

FANS of smart home products have been urged to better consider the information devices hold on them.

It has long been said that there’s a price to be paid when it comes to technology and convenience – and that often comes in the form of privacy.


Amazon gathers a lot of data on its users[/caption]

Amazon smart products such as its Ring doorbells and Echo speakers collect heaps of data about millions of users worldwide.

Amazon says this data helps it to improve its services.

However, some privacy experts have criticised the sheer volume of information gathered.

The company has a patchy track record when it comes to responsibly handling people’s data.

At the beginning of June of this year, the company was fined over £25million over privacy violations in the US.

That means it’s worth knowing exactly what the company knows about you, as you never know where that data may end up.

What does your Ring doorbell or camera know about you?

Amazon owns Ring, a doorbell and security camera firm that has sold millions of products worldwide.

Attached to the side of your front door or positioned inside your home, they record video and audio that is streamed to your phone.

The gadgets allow you to keep a close eye on your belongings or property, even when you’re not at home.

According to Ring’s privacy policy, its products collect lots of data from users.

That includes any of the information you provide yourself such as your name, phone number, email address and postal address.

Ring products also gather gets information about your Wi-Fi and its signal strength, including what you name your network.

Perhaps of most concern, however, is the audio and video files hoarded by the company.

The system doesn’t record all the time, but it can be triggered when it senses movement.

That means Ring products on people’s homes can record you as you walk down the street and send it straight to Amazon.

Speaking to Wired last year, Jolynn Dellinger, a privacy expert at Duke University, branded Ring a “serious problem” for privacy.

“We operate with a sense of obscurity, even in public,” she said.

“We are in danger of increasing surveillance of everyday life in a way that is not consistent with either our expected views or really what’s best for society.”

Ring has also drawn controversy for making deals and sharing data with thousands of police departments.

In addition, it has faced criticism for falling victim to a string of hacks, allowing cyber crooks to peer into people’s homes.

A Ring spokesperson said: “Ring devices are not intended for installation capturing someone else’s property or public areas.

“Ring has guidance to assist our customers in complying with any legal responsibilities they may have in using their Ring device.

“We’ve also built features like privacy zones, toggles for audio streaming and recording, and video end-to-end encryption so that so that our customers have additional tools in their use of our devices to respect the privacy of others.

By default, Ring encrypts all customer video footage stored in Ring’s cloud at rest and in transit.

“And, a users’ recordings are only saved if they have the optional Ring Protect Plan, which stores videos for up to 180 days, after which they are deleted and cannot be recovered.

“Customers are in total control of the information they choose to share.”

What does your Echo speaker know about you?

Amazon’s Echo speaker range is powered by Alexa, its artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant.

The gadgets have exploded in popularity in recent years with hundreds of millions sold across the globe.

Like Ring products, your Echo knows everything about you that you provide it, such as your name and email address.

It also occasionally records audio clips after you’ve said your speaker’s wake word, “Alexa”.

As far as we know, Amazon isn’t using your Alexa to eavesdrop on everything you do.

But there is a big exception: The company will sometimes send your voice clips off to so-called “graders”.

They will listen to clips to make sure Alexa is working as intended – improving the system all around.

However, Alexa will sometimes record you without your knowledge, because the AI thought you said its name.

This can result in Alexa saving audio from your home – and you have no idea it’s doing it.

The good news is that you can stop Alexa from recording you and delete the files it’s collected by following this guide.

Recordings from Echo devices have previously been handed over to the police as part of criminal investigations.

Experts have recommended that people do not keep the devices in their bedrooms and other private areas.

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