Amazon's Ring security shares your personal data with Facebook and Google, report says
A Mississippi family is shaken up after a hacker gained access to their Ring camera, frightening their 8-year-old daughter. USA TODAY
A report surfaced Monday suggesting that the Amazon-owned company shares tons of users' personal information with lots of different sources including Facebook, even if you don't have a Facebook account.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation published its findings after closely examining the Android version of the Ring app.
The non-profit determined that the app is "packed with third-party trackers sending out a plethora of customers' personally identifiable information." And this is done "without meaningful user notification or consent and, in most cases, no way to mitigate the damage done," the EFF said.
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On Tuesday, Amazon software engineer Max Eliazer said in a statement via Medium that "Ring should be shut down immediately and not brought back." Eliazer cited privacy issues.
Ring said in a statement that "uses third-party service providers to evaluate the use of our mobile app, which helps us improve features, optimize the customer experience and evaluate the effectiveness of our marketing."
Representatives from Ring could not be immediately reached for comment.
Ring has been under the public's lens after hackers managed to spy on several unsuspecting homeowners in 2019. Most notably, one managed to startle a family after speaking with a child over the security system's speaker.
Ring said the problem stemmed from weak user-generated passwords.
Reports also surfaced revealing that some of Ring's workers had been fired for spying on users. In November, the Mozilla Foundation, which created the Firefox browser, said Ring was among its worst privacy offenders. Mozilla claimed the company's doorbells have bugs that could enable hackers to "go Big Brother on you in your own home."
The latest allegations lodged against Ring aren't exactly unique. In fact, tons of platforms exchange information with other websites to display targeted advertising and marketing materials. However, the practice is not without perils.
The EFF notes user data can be amalgamated to create a profile of a user's digital habits. Third-party companies can use that profile to surveil what people are doing across other apps and websites.
"The danger in sending even small bits of information is that analytics and tracking companies are able to combine these bits together to form a unique picture of the user’s device," EFF said in the report.
Ring collects information like names, private IP addresses, mobile network carriers and sensor data on the devices of paying customers, EFF said. The personal data then goes to four primary recipients including Branch, ApplsFlyer, MixPanel and Facebook, EFF said. Google-owned Crashanalytics was also named as a recipient.
Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown.