Is Amazon's Ring the new SPY tool?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by stylinexpat, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. stylinexpat, Aug 11, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  2. A.Goldberg macrumors 68020

    A.Goldberg

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    I’m not sure I entirely understand what the complaint is. As I understand it the police are requesting the footage and individuals can choose to voluntary share their surveillance footage or not. If the police wishes to subpoena the footage, they can go through that process. Either way I don’t see the difference between Ring and any other surveillance system.

    I suppose the only questionable thing I see is the relationship between Ring/Amazon and law enforcement when it comes to “promoting” Ring products. As the police is a government agency, it doesn’t seem like their place to be promoting a specific product. If Ring/Amazon wants to aid departments in successful ways to obtain footage, I see no problem with that.

    My parents house has had security cameras for almost a decade. I suppose they live in a very safe community, but the only time the police asked for footage was 2 months ago when a woman in town “disappeared” (aka presumably murdered). They requested any footage facing the road or woods behind the house in attempt to track the husbands vehicle’s movements. My parents were happy to comply but unfortunately the woman/her remains have not been found.

    Anyone buying security cameras, especially cloud based or networked connected systems should probably be more concerned about the inherent digital security issues with them. This is especially true of systems made by companies based in China. The majority of the worlds security cameras are made by Chinese Hikvision and Dahua (and sold under dozens of brands). In that they refuse to patch major security weaknesses, they essentially have backdoors for the Chinese government. For basic consumer cameras, spending more and buying Ring (Amazon) or Nest (Alphabet/Google) is probably a better decision if you’re concerned about security.
     
  3. Zenithal macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #3
    Also live in a very safe community. Also have heavy security. I see nothing wrong as long as the police ask. The ideal goal of any community is to minimize and or eliminate crime, even if it means sharing video.

    Oh, I'd forgotten about that. No one's really talking about it here. Usually that sort of thing happens near the forestry lines in the northern part of the state or the PNW.

    I view it as a unified system of doing things and it's easier when people are using one company's devices over several others. The ring also seems genuinely interesting, but I would have preferred if they offered a discreet camera or two. I just worry about its uptime as it seems chintzy at best.
     
  4. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    Midlife, Midwest
    #4
    The thing about surveillance products such as Ring is this: They don't record what's going on in your house. They record what's going on in your neighbor's house. Much like the ancestry DNA databases - you aren't just giving away your privacy, you are giving away other people's privacy.

    A doorbell camera system like Ring will record which vehicles come and go from the house across the street. It will record the times they come and go, and who gets in and out of them. This sort of data is already being used by property rental firms to evict tenants for having too many guests sleeping over.

    I have no problem with law enforcement asking for, or subpoenaing, surveillance camera footage in the course of investigating serious crimes: murders, kidnappings, disappearances, burglaries, etc.

    But that's not what Ring is promoting. They are actively encouraging local police agencies to become part of the Ring "social network", subtly encouraging neighbourhoods to become part of vast unpaid network of neighbourhood informants and stoolpigeons.
     
  5. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

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    Mar 10, 2005
    #5
    Amazon has already infiltrated the inside of your homes with Alexa. Why not add a second spying tool to outside your home now?
     
  6. Herdfan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    #6
    I can delete the footage off my security DVR. I can't off Ring or Nest.
     
  7. Mousse macrumors 68020

    Mousse

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Flea Bottom, King's Landing
    #7
    Why do people CHOSE to be part of the Party instead of remaining a Proletariat (like me) and then complain about the telescreen, the 2 minute hate, and Big Brother?:confused: Hail, I even disable Alexa on my kid's Kindle Fire.

    I'm quite content being a Prole, so long as Party keeps churning out the prole porn, I ain't gonna make trouble. Bread and Circuses, bruh.
     
  8. A.Goldberg macrumors 68020

    A.Goldberg

    Joined:
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    #8
    Agreed, but I was talking more about cloud based cameras. Of course if you ultimate security against your cameras being hacked, not having cameras connected to the internet is your best option.
     
  9. ronntaylor macrumors regular

    ronntaylor

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    Jan 16, 2004
    Location:
    Flushing, New York
    #9
    "police can request Ring camera footage directly from Amazon, even if a Ring customer denies to provide police with the footage."
     
  10. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #10
    This whole situation that has been in my mind with the Internet of Things in my home! Thank God this old dude was suspicious of Internet connected devices!
     
  11. A.Goldberg, Aug 13, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019

    A.Goldberg macrumors 68020

    A.Goldberg

    Joined:
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    #12
    I’m pretty sure doorbell cameras outside one person’s house don’t record what’s going on IN another persons house. ;) Perhaps part of their yard or driveway... or not at all depending on location.

    But how is this different than a traffic camera or commercial business’s camera such as a bank. Police can also put up mobile cameras if they wish or surveil streets with officers. Or neighbors can report information to police voluntarily or if asked. Hell, even Tesla’s now can be set to record video if they sense people near the car when it’s turned off, let alone the fact they record video while driving. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before a Tesla picks up a crime unrelated to the theft or vandalism of the car (if it hasn’t already happened).

    Living in the city perhaps I’m used to a large percentage of both commercial and residential buildings have security cameras. Where I grew up in the suburbs, a door camera would unlikely to see another house’s activities. Most houses are relatively isolated because of property size and/or trees/landscaping. Additionally, neighborhoods here tend to be built so that houses are not directly across the street from one another. So perhaps I’m a bit biased in those senses, but I still don’t see a major issue besides the potentially inappropriate incentives for law enforcement from Ring that might make departments promote Ring products.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 13, 2019 ---
    And that requires a court order. The same would be true for any type of security system. If you or a third party (cloud storage) possess footage that is of interest they could certainly use the court system to obtain it.
     
  12. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #13
    I think it's worth thinking quite carefully about what could happen.

    A police officer could theoretically use them to stalk his ex-wife. Check out who is staying at her house. Work out when she is alone. And she'd have no idea it was happening. She might not even realise that her neighbour had a camera pointing at her front door.

    We have come to accept there will be surveillance cameras in our bank; at a gas station; and at traffic intersections.

    We accept the fact that our neighbours can see us pull into our driveways and getting the mail. I'm not sure that we really need to give the local cops totally unfettered 24/7 access to the same information.
     
  13. A.Goldberg macrumors 68020

    A.Goldberg

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    #14
    That was a joke of your use of the word “in” as if to say “inside” the neighbors house, rather “at” as in “at the neighbors house. :)

    It’s my understanding based on the wording of the article police do not have 24/7 unfettered access. The way I understand it police must request specific footage, they not granted 24/7 access to the contents of the camera to view whenever they want for whatever reason.

    Regardless of the camera system, a police officer could request footage from his ex-wife’s neighbor- or simply ask (or have one of his colleagues ask) the neighbor if anyone is stopping by.
     
  14. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    Midlife, Midwest
    #15
    I'm not really sure what problem this Ring thing is solving.

    I get the tiny bit of convenience a homeowner can get by being able to observe their front doorstep from their mobile phone. And I understand Amazon thinks these things may cut down on stolen packages.

    But is that really worth becoming part of the vast surveillance state?

    Somebody who has legitimate security concerns can put up a camera system. I'd personally put in one that was hard-wired, and was properly secured and weatherproof. Rather than $130 plastic thing. And I'd maintain a 30-day backup on a secure server.

    If, and only if, there was a serious crime in front of my house would I share the footage with law enforcement. Just as I'd talk to the police if I witnessed a crime. But it would be my choice, and my discretion.

    I don't think that choice and discretion is as clear cut with Amazon's Ring.
     
  15. Herdfan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    #16
    As noted, cameras are part of our daily lives. They are everywhere we shop, bank and sometimes eat.

    But also as noted for less than $200 anyone can have a "camera system" which is a new world. I probably have $2K in my camera system and I did it all myself and it can archive to offsite but I have chosen not to as I don't want anyone to have control of the footage except me.

    So I guess we need to get used to this new normal. In some ways it is good and some bad.
     
  16. A.Goldberg macrumors 68020

    A.Goldberg

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Boston
    #17
    I agree, conceptually I don’t think it’s a good idea to have cloud connected cameras. That said, I’d go with Amazon before one of these Chinese companies with no concern for privacy. If my amazon package gets stolen Amazon will just replace it. After 10 years of living in Boston, the overwhelming majority without a building concierge, I’ve never had a package stolen.

    Plus you have to pay monthly for their cloud service. Which seems like an unnecessary expense especially when flash storage, though not ideal, is dirt cheap. Typically cloud storage has many limitations in terms of quality, duration, etc.


    Yeah, there are far better options out there if you actually want to “secure” your home and want your privacy protected.
     

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16 August 11, 2019